Dear Prime Minister Harper,
Important issues surrounding Canadas annual commercial seal hunt merit your urgent attention. They also deserve a commitment to honesty and respect for the facts not in evidence during the appearance of Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland & Labrador, on Larry King Live, Friday evening, March 3rd 2006. I urge you to do the right thing and correct several of the many inaccurate assertions Premier Williams, who claimed to be speaking on your behalf, made during that broadcast.
I must particularly take issue with the statements of Premier Williams concerning IFAW -- the International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org). Williams several times alleged IFAW representatives, veterinarians and other experts have said the seal hunt is humane. This is both false and ridiculous. Despite tireless efforts by your government and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, there is not a single reputable "expert" or "veterinary group" that has observed the hunt and called it humane. Almost four decades of observing and documenting the commercial seal hunt have led IFAW experts to conclude it is an inherently cruel and abhorrent slaughter, one that gravely compromises not only the welfare of seals but also the safety and well being of the hunters.
Finally, it was suggested on this internationally broadcast CNN program that IFAW as an organization appears on FBI terrorist watch lists. Like most of the statements from Premier Williams that evening, this is utterly at odds with the facts. IFAW, and specifically IFAWs efforts to end Canadas seal hunt, are supported across the political spectrum in the United States. IFAW last year leveraged some $1.2 million dollars, including $600,000 in U.S. government funding, to assist New England fishermen with their animal welfare practices and provide them with state of the art fishing gear I dont think the US government funds organizations linked to terrorism.
The seal hunt issue is one that is extremely important to me. Continuing to ignore the inexcusable cruelty and waste inherent in this annual "hunt" by distributing misinformation is simply wrong. The people of Canada and Newfoundland deserve better.
I urge you to uphold your public responsibility and commitment to the truth by making an official apology to IFAW and telling the public the true facts about Canadas commercial seal hunt and the decades worth of research which has consistently found it to be inhumane.