Friday, 29 May 2009

Anti-sealing NGO s misuse of iconic whitecoat exposed


Anti-sealing NGO s misuse of iconic whitecoat exposed

Ottawa, ON May 29, 2009. Canadian media this week exposed what the
Canadian government and sealers have long known: that animal rights
activists use misleading images to generate support for their cause.

Canwest News Service exposed this deception when it reported that
Europe's leading animal welfare organization has removed the image of
a fluffy whitecoat baby seal from its website this week. The action
came after the use of the whitecoat photographs was raised during an
interview with a Canadian journalist asking about Governor General
Michaëlle Jean's decision to help gut a seal and eat part of its
heart. The photograph was replaced by a photo of an older seal at the
suggestion of one of Eurogroup for Animals' 43 member groups, the
International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The misuse of whitecoat images in anti-seal hunt fundraising
campaigns has continued even though whitecoats have not been hunted in
Canada since 1982 and the hunt has been prohibited since 1987, says
Fur Institute of Canada spokesman Rob Cahill. I have discussed the
use of whitecoat images and the use of the term 'baby' (which
insinuates a reliance on one's parents) on IFAW websites and
brochures, but to no avail , he said. Our concern is that the public
is likely to make inaccurate judgments based on the use of these

According to Cahill, IFAW continues to use images of the whitecoat in
both its web and direct mail fundraising campaigns. Just ahead of the
traditional sealing season, as it does every year, the organization
sent fundraising packages to Canadian households that prominently
featured whitecoat photographs in its appeal to save baby seals . And
he points out that IFAW is not alone. The American backed Humane
Society International - Canada sent Canadians their Save the seals
fundraising package in February which again prominently featured
photographs of fluffy whitecoats rather than the more accurate mature
animals. Meantime, he added, anti-sealing protest groups including
US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals use white seal
stuffed toys at many of their lobbying and protest events.

While these groups argue that using these emotive and iconic images is
justified because hunted harp seals begin their lives as whitecoats,
the Fur Institute of Canada believes it is important for the public to
know when they are being misled.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:

David Barry, Sealing Committee Coordinator, Fur Institute of Canada
Landline: (709) 722-8548 Mobile: (709) 351-1448

The Fur Institute of Canada is a national non-profit organization
established by the Canadian Wildlife Ministers in 1983 to pursue the
work of the Federal-Provincial Committee for Humane Trapping. Our
overall mission is to promote the sustainable and wise use of Canada s
fur resources.

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