The efforts and actions of dedicated individuals and organizations opposing the annual killing of the harp seals have a history of about 50 years. Although strategies have been discussed, argued over, and altered over the years by the different groups and individuals involved in the opposition, much of the original strategy remains the same; and it is no secret.
As Brian Davies, founder of IFAW once wrote in his book Red Ice, "My fight to Save the Seals," the idea for an effective opposition campaign is to "attack on 3 fronts.
Firstly, I would set out to create in Canada a public attitude hostile to the hunt. At the same time Europeans, who formed the main market, must be persuaded not to buy anything made from harp seal pelts. And foreigners must be encouraged to deluge the Canadian government with protest letters."
Today, most Canadians oppose the seal hunt and many European countries have banned seal product imports. Hundreds of thousands of people have voiced their opposition to the seal hunt to the Canadian government via petitions, letters, emails, and phone calls. These efforts are by no means obsolete, but the strategy that nearly ended the seal hunt in the 1980's was two-fold:Reduce or remove markets for seal pelts Boycott Canadian seafood
In the 1980's, these two strategies were implemented in Europe. Today, the United States, the largest importer of Canadian seafood, is involved in the Canadian seafood boycott. Harpseals.org takes the point of view that all efforts to end this slaughter are valuable, but this strategy is our most effective tool to save the seals.
Below are ways in which you can contribute to the campaign to end the seal slaughter, categorized by how much time and commitment is involved.Quick and easy ways to help
Write letters / emails to government officials; tourism associations and tourist-related businesses; Canadian seafood vendors; and seal product vendors.
Sign up with our Seal Action Team to receive email alerts and newsletters. No particular commitment is required.Ready for a little more Seal Activism? Here are some things you can do independently and on your own time.
Write letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines. You don't have to wait for the spring. The seal hunt is relevant to articles on global warming, marine mammals, Canada, Canadian seafood, and boycotts.
Deliver the Canadian seafood boycott message in person with our Action Cards. Just sign the back and hand them to supermarket managers and restaurant managers/chefs/waiters where Canadian seafood is sold. These Action Cards make it clear to these businesses that their own customers want them to join the boycott.
Hand out leaflets and Action Cards at restaurants and stores, at work, or anywhere you go where people are gathered or waiting in line. Leave some leaflets at doctors' offices, too. It's easy to approach strangers with leaflets. Try these lines: "Learn how you can stop the seal hunt just by boycotting Canadian seafood," or "Read about how you can save the harp seals," or "Would you like to know how your seafood choices affect baby harp seals," or even, "Would you like something to read while you wait in line?"
Put up a banner or poster in your workplace, your office window, or your apartment window, or put a yard sign in your yard. We have some designs and high resolution photos that you can use. We also have a limited number of Don't Peel Seal posters available.
Make stickers that you can place on envelopes and many other places using an ink jet or laser printer. You can get printable sticker sheets at any office supply store. We have a few designs that you can use in our Toolbox, and we also have printed stickers at our off-site Variety Store.
Turn your car into a Sealmobile. You can be your own billboard! It's simple, quick, and inexpensive to make your car a mobile advertisement for the seal campaign with "Window Chalk" markers (available at party supply and craft stores). Or you can make your own decals, bumper stickers, and car magnets with our designs. We also have bumper stickers for sale at our Variety Store. One seal activist even created a rooftop "taxi" billboard. If you want a professional rear window decal, take our design to your local sign shop. This is a great, inexpensive way to spread the word about the seals.And here are more ways to help for the serious Seal Activist.
Join Harpseals.org as a volunteer.
Set up or help staff information tables at fairs, festivals, parks, farmers' markets, pedestrian malls, etc. Harpseals.org hosts information tables in a few cities all year. Contact us if you would like to participate or if you would like help in organizing a table in your town.
Organize or participate in a protest at Red Lobster or another restaurant or store that sells Canadian seafood, or at a Canadian government or tourist agency. Get on our Seal Action Team to be kept informed of protests.
Speak at schools and civic groups or, if you are a teacher, educate your own students about the seal hunt. Harpseals.org has a Lesson Kit with an informative PowerPoint presentation and teaching aids.
Be creative! Organize an special event as a fundraiser or awareness event. Some examples and ideas are "Sumo for Seals" (a mock sumo wrestling competition a high school teacher organized as a fundraiser); "Seal it with a Kiss" (a carnival-style kissing booth with a 'celebrity' costumed seal); a "Sealmobile Caravan" (a group of cars decked out as Sealmobiles traveling together to different seal hunt related sites such as Red Lobster restaurants, supermarkets, Canadian tourism offices, and Canadian consulates); a "Funeral Motorcade for Seals" (a group of cars with sealing images and a hearse with a seal doll in the coffin going to a busy park, a Canadian consulate or restaurants that sell Canadian seafood); "Seal Night" at a local nightclub or restaurant (in which seal activists present information and sell t-shirts and other merchandise and the restaurant donates a portion of the night's profits to Harpseals.org); a Benefit Concert (Harpseals.org has had two in southern California and an activist in W. Virginia organized one). These events can often garner media attention, too. Let us know if you are planning an event - we can help in many ways, including with publicity. We have sample press releases you can use in our Toolbox. Please send us pictures from your event to post on Harpseals.org.
Form a Meetup group for Harpseals.org seal activists in your town. This is a great way to meet others in your community who care about seals. Together, you can distribute leaflets, organize events, set up information tables, etc.
Recruit restaurants and stores to the Canadian seafood boycott. The more businesses refuse to buy Canadian seafood, the more pressure there will be on the Canadian fishermen who kill the seals and the industry that supports sealing. Order our Boycott Recruitment Kit for guidance.
Call a radio show and talk about the seal hunt. Even if they don't address related issues, some shows have 'Anything Goes' days. If you call, you can address any of several aspects of the seal hunt, including the cruelty of the slaughter and the efforts by the Canadian government to keep observers away, the fact that the Canadian government is trying to force the U.S. to repeal the Marine Mammal Protection Act so that the Canadian fishermen/sealers can sell seal pelts in the U.S., and the threat to the harp seals from global warming that the Canadian government is ignoring and compounding by the allowing the annual massacre of hundreds of thousands of seals.