Canadian Seal Hunt Ban Pushed by Arizona Restaurants

Seal skin makes great coats and waterproof shoes, but first you have to catch a cute little marine mammal and make some red snow.

"Save the seals" isn't just a cliche -- the Humane Society of the United States continues the call first sounded in the 1970s with a three-year-old push to boycott Canadian seafood products until the hunts end.

The organization claims 4,500 restaurants and stores have joined forces to make the boycott have some impact, including more than 50 local restaurants.

The Humane Society has more info on the ProtectSeals Campaig n, plus gruesome video journals on its Web site.

As the video journals and this picture show, "hunt" is stretching the meaning of the term when it comes to the annual seal harvest. Workers run up to the animals, which move clumsily on land, and bash in their fuzzy skulls with a pronged wooden bat.

Of course, the process of making clothes out of cow skin isn't any prettier. But cows aren't as cuddly looking as seals, and they aren't killed in public places that are easy for activists to stake out with their video cameras.

Despite the boycott, seal fur products sold quite well at an auction in 2006 to Danish and Canadian buyers. According to the Canadian Fur Council, fur clothing -- in general -- is actually "green" because of its durability and more biodegradeable than artificial materials. -- Ray Stern

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern