Written by Jeff Mackey
For being the first Canadian parliamentarian in history to introduce a bill to phase out Canada's cruel commercial seal slaughter and for his tenacity in promoting the legislation in the Senate, Sen. Mac Harb has been named PETA's first-ever Canadian of the Year.
A native of Lebanon, Harb moved to Canada to attend the University of Ottawa. In 2003, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate after serving in Ottawa city government and in the House of Commons. During his tenure as a member of parliament, he held prominent positions overseeing matters of international trade, making him especially qualified to understand the issues surrounding the seal massacre on the global market. No fewer than 33 countries have banned the trading of seal products.
In 2009, Harb introduced a bill to limit the East Coast seal slaughter to people with aboriginal treaty rights, but no other senator would second the measure. As the lone voice for the seals, Harb was brave, but what he did then was even braver—he kept at it, with patience and perseverance. He introduced the measure again in 2010. This time, the motion was seconded, but other senators stopped it from being debated.
So, on May 2, 2012, Sen. Harb again reintroduced Bill S-210 to phase out the commercial seal massacre. Finally, the Senate unanimously agreed to consider the bill. On June 14, as Sen. Harb moved for a second reading of the bill, opening it for debate in the Senate, he set forth his case.
Here are some excerpts from that speech:
When I continue my remarks on Bill S-210, I will focus on the following issues: The status of the commercial seal hunt and the fact that there are no viable markets for commercially hunted seal products; the fact that our primary and secondary trading partners, the United States and the EU, as well as many other countries around the world, have banned the importation of commercial seal products; the fact that the majority of Canadians want an end to the commercial seal hunt; the fact that, out of 14,000 issued commercial seal fishing licences, only an estimated 225 sealers took part in the 2011 commercial hunt, highlighting the de facto end of the hunt. …
Science will show that it was government inaction and misguided action on the fishery that was responsible for the depletion of the cod stocks and its continuing struggle to recover. The seals are not responsible. …
Instead of working against animal welfare groups and environmental
organizations, let us join hands with them to share ideas and resources and
find answers that will actually help the communities in Atlantic Canada and in
Canada's North. Answers will ensure that Canada fulfills its national and
international commitment to sustain marine biodiversity and to ensure we have
healthy, safe and prosperous oceans now and in the future.
PETA is enthusiastically supporting Sen. Harb's measure and has garnered the support of celebrities such as Pink, Ellen DeGeneres, and British Columbia native Pamela Anderson. Other concerned and compassionate Canadians can join PETA in honouring Sen. Harb by encouraging their senators to support Bill S-210 today.
Written by PETA
Well, I just lost my appetite. And it's thanks to the announcement that a "members-only" restaurant will soon be serving seal meat to politicians and journalists who work on Canada's Parliament Hill.
Back in 2008, some Canadian senators called for seal flesh to be added to the restaurant's menu as a show of support for Canada's annual seal slaughter, but they couldn't locate a supplier, since most seal-hunting firms cash in on fur sales to Russia and China. The restaurant isn't likely to sell out of seal: One of Canada's own senators said that he's heard that it tastes "horrible," and Quebec Liberal MP Marcel Proulex, who pushed for the nauseating menu item, admits that while it's unlikely that suppliers will get rich from its sale, "[a]t least we'll be sending the message that we're not afraid of seal meat."
Canada seems bent on thumbing its nose at compassion. PETA's Dan Mathews notes, "It's a very peculiar, disturbing cruelty unique to Canada, and it's just bizarre when a country like Canada, which is known for so many advanced policies in the social realm, would be so stuck in the Dark Ages about its support of such a hideous cruelty."
With people around the world voicing their disgust and taking action against the seal slaughter, I'm going to guess that Canada will soon be able to file this "show of support" in the record books right alongside the plan to include seal skin in Olympic uniforms. Epic fail!
Written by Karin Bennett
The Canadian Parliament, in a mad scramble to respond to the very recent European Union ban on seal products, put forth a motion on Wednesday that the 500 members of the Canadian Olympic team wear seal skins as part of their official uniforms. Um … gross! Luckily, sanity prevailed, and the head of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Chris Rudge, quickly shot down the idea.
People all over the world are calling for an end to the seal slaughter. This includes countless Canadians, like Senator Mac Harb, who had previously written to all members of the European Parliament asking them to vote against the Canadian seal hunting industry, calling supporters of the seal slaughter "barbaric."
While we are tickled that the Olympic Committee gave the inexplicably bloodthirsty Canadian MPs the smack down they so richly deserved, we felt the need to warn the committee that we are going to continue to do everything we can to call attention to the seal slaughter in the months leading up to the Vancouver Olympics. Check out our letter here.
Well, you gotta give the guy points for trying. Courageous Canadian Senator Mac Harb introduced a bill on Tuesday to ban Canada's annual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals, but he failed to find even one other senator with a backbone (or heartbeat) to support it. Despite the fact that most Canadians—and everyone else on the planet—think that the baby seal massacre is as revolting and indefensible as, well, clubbing a baby human and stealing his or her candy, Canadian government officials, who apparently live in sound-proof igloos, inexplicably continue to defend it.
Senator Harb's bill marks the first—but hopefully not the last—time that a Canadian politician has proposed banning the seal slaughter. It was inspired by a pending EU ban on the importation and sale of most seal products. Even Russia—Russia, people!—is poised to ban its own seal hunt, which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has described as "such a bloody hunt, and it is clear that it should have been banned a long time ago." Yes, Vladimir "Tiger Tamer" Putin. That Putin.
Canada, when Russia starts making you look like a big, blustering bully, you know you've got an image problem.
Written by Alisa Mullins
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.