Thursday, July 23, 2009

Protect Seals Campaign Gears up in DC During Star-filled Event

Above photo courtesy of ©2009 Eric Seltzer

This week I had the pleasure of joining Meshelle and Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve, The Majestic, Eamonn’s A Dublin Chipper and PX as they joined the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), along with Ellen and Chef Todd Gray of Equinox to highlight the Protect Seals Campaign.

During this private gathering, Policy and proprietor Omar Miskinyar opened their doors to support this benevolent and environmentally important cause. DC chefs and restaurateurs, along with Nigel Barker (pictured with a seal below) of the acclaimed Top Model and Bethenny Frankel from The Real Housewives of NYC welcomed patrons and voiced their concerns about seal hunting and its impact on the population.

“Having so many well known and respected chefs joining together in our nation’s capital will help shine a light on the cruelty committed in Atlantic Canada and apply additional pressure on the Canadian government to end the senseless slaughter of baby seals once and for all,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “I cannot thank Meshelle & Cathal Armstrong, Nigel Barker and the more than 70 other chefs who joined us at Policy Tuesday night enough for their commitment to helping this cause.”

Canada's commercial seal hunt is the largest, and most brutal, slaughter of marine mammals on earth. Each year, Canada allows hundreds of thousands of defenseless baby seals to be cruelly clubbed and shot to death for their fur. The last time this many seals were killed—in the 1950s and 1960s—the harp seal population was reduced by as much as two-thirds.

Seal hunting is an off-season activity conducted by fishers from Canada's East Coast. They earn a small fraction of their incomes from sealing—primarily from the sale of seal pelts to European fashion markets. But the vast majority of the sealers' incomes are from commercial fisheries. Canadian seafood exports to the United States contribute $2.4 billion annually to the Canadian economy—dwarfing the few million dollars provided by the seal hunt. The connection between the commercial fishing industry and the seal hunt in Canada gives consumers all over the world the power to end this cruel and brutal slaughter.

“Canada should consider what other countries have done - eco tourism. Charge visitors to come and see the seal nurseries up close and personal. Open up occupations for guides and experts who can educate those tourists on the beauty and wonder that exists there. The time when humans can just take whatever we want whenever we want for our own satisfaction is over,” Meshelle says.

By encouraging restaurants, chefs and consumers to boycott Canadian seafood, The Humane Society of the United States intends to convince Canada's fishing industry to stop participating in and supporting the bloody commercial seal hunt each spring in the Atlantic Ocean.

My kudos to Meshelle and Cathal for an amazing event and for bringing to the forefront the plight of these animals. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.

Photos courtesy of apt3.

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