In London on Monday (20 February), the Premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, Frank Moores, launched the first of a series of European news conference to defend the annual killing of baby seals off the Newfoundland coast.
GV AERIALS, PAN FROM: Seal ship in ice off Newfoundland TO hunters killing seals.
SVs: Man kills seal with blow to head and drags it away. (2 SHOTS)
SV:Seal hunting ship moves through ice floes while hunters work on in foreground.
SV: Hunter clubs seal and stands over writhing body. (2 SHOTS)
SCU & SVs: Man kills seal and drags it away. (3 SHOTS)
SV PAN: Blood stains on ice.
SV INT: Newfoundland Premier Frank Moores speaking to reporters in London.
SV INT: Mr. Brian Davies International Director of the National Fund for Animal Welfare interjects.
SV INT: Canadian scientist Dr. Joseph B. MacInnis replies.
MOORES:"I think it is important that the record be set straight. Because I think you can appreciate that Canadians do not like to be looked upon as barbarians, statistic, sadistic insensitive people because we are not. I don't think there is any question about that. When we talk about humane methods of killing, I know in our province, for instance, we are the only province in Canada that has banned the leg trap for trapping wild animals. Because we do think it is cruel and we think that there are a great many aspects of trapping and fur-bearing industry itself, or industry based upon it, that are cruel. And the killing of seals is a very gruesome sight. I don't think anyone would dispute that fact. Certainly I wouldn't. There is no question whatsoever that a pool of blood on the snow is not a pleasant spectacle. But I would also suggest, as is the case of all abbat???ir operations, or slaughterhouses, the killing of a lamb, or the killing of a calf, or the killing of a pig, is equally repulsive.
DAVIES:"When you can't defend the seal hunt you attack those you see as the enemies of the seal hunt."
MACINNIS:"You are determined to destroy this press conference and you will keep on talking as long as you keep pointing the cameras at him. And I intend to keep on talking as long as he stands on his chair. How about that Brian? We can both keep on talking and make utter fools of ourselves can't we?"
Premier Moores goes on Tuesday (21 February) to Frankfurt, West Germany for a similar news conference. And on Friday (24 February) he will be in Paris where French film star Brigitte Bardot has been campaigning against seal hunting. The annual Spring seal hunt is due to start about March 10.
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Background: In London on Monday (20 February), the Premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, Frank Moores, launched the first of a series of European news conference to defend the annual killing of baby seals off the Newfoundland coast. The news conferences are part of an effort by the Newfoundland government to counter allegations by animal welfare groups that the seals are being killed barbarically and that they are in danger of being wiped out. In London the news conference was attended by conservationists who argued with the main speakers.
SYNOPSIS: Seals have been hunted off the coast of Newfoundland for hundreds of years. Before the Europeans it was the Indians.
Many ways have been used to kill the helpless animals, including guns and chemicals. But the usual way now is with a club-like instrument called a "hakapik".
The seal pup has a extremely thin skull and,according to the Newfoundland authorities, a blow either kills it outright or puts it into a state of deep and irreversible unconsciousness in which there is no pain, fear, or psychological distress.
But animal welfare groups say that almost half the skins that are taken from these seals are removed while the animals are still alive. They also say that if the killing continues, various species of seals in the area will become extinct. This is disputed by Newfoundland's Premier, Mr. Moores.
He says that although gruesome, the hunt is strictly controlled to ensure a valuable economic resource does not run out.