Welcome to Radio Free Rescue!
Our inaugural interview features Brian Lochlaer, founder and coordinator of Harp Seals DFW.
Brian founded Harp Seals DFW in August 2011 as a grassroots organization working to raise awareness of the annual harp seal hunt in northern Canada. The group also hosts fundraising events on behalf of Harpseals.org and the Humane Society of the United States, both of which are active in the harp seal protest movement. One of Harp Seals DFW's most prominent campaigns is a national boycott of the Red Lobster restaurant chain, the largest importer of Canadian seafood in the United States.
Each year, hundreds of fisherman in the Newfoundland and Labrador province of Canada head out to the ice floes and slaughter tens of thousands of harp seals pups, the vast majority of which are under three months of age. (Harp seals can live up to 40+ years of age.)
The hunt, which dates back several hundred years, serves two purposes, according to the fishermen: to generate income from the sale of the seal fur, and to protect their cod fish stocks, which the fishermen claim is endangered because of the presence of the seals.
Organizations, including scientists from Canada's fisheries agency, counter that overfishing is the culprit behind the depleted cod stock, not the seals. In addition, the market for seal fur has all but virtually disappeared. The U.S., Russia and the EU have all banned the importation and sale of seal fur.