Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

White Coat Seals Manipulated in Lobby Groups' Fundraising Campaign

    ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland, March 16 (ots/PRNewswire) - "White coats" have not been harvested since 1987, but there is evidence that they are being exploited by the anti-sealing interest groups who profit from Eastern Canada's seal harvest.

    It has long been recognized in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador that the white coat (which references a harp seal's white fur that molts away after approximately three weeks) is a critical component to some lobbyists' fundraising campaigns. A harvesting and trading ban of white coats has existed under Marine Mammal Regulations since 1987. However, some political action committees appear to rely on the donations that are generated in response to their blatant promotion of such images.

    In an assessment conducted on March 10 of such organizations' Web sites, 14 of 22 discussing the seal harvest displayed one or more images of white coats, typically in a high profile manner. A fact sheet can be obtained online at

    "We respect even extremist groups' right to disagree with Newfoundland and Labrador's cultural, historical, and economic links with the seal harvest," says Trevor Taylor, Newfoundland and Labrador's Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. "But many anti-seal groups purposely promote the more appealing image of white coats, which have not been harvested for almost two decades. It's time that they stopped exploiting these seals for their own fundraising purposes."

    "Not every organization concerned with the seal harvest promotes photos of white coats. But the most vocal activists do, typically in a blatant attempt to tug at your heart as a means to tugging at your purse strings," says the minister. "These people use photos of white coats to sustain a myth and to generate an emotional response. How do you take action? You donate to a lobby group to stop a harvest that ended in 1987."

    Today's seal harvest is environmentally sustainable and remains both economically and culturally important to some remote coastal areas of Canada. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the sealing industry employs thousands of harvesters and hundreds of plant workers on a seasonal basis. In 2004, the landed value of seals in the province was $15.4 million, and produced a market value of over $45 million for products such as pelts, Omega-3 oil, and meat.

ots Originaltext: Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
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