Seals exhibition to be unveiled in Gweek

(Gweek, Cornwall - 4th November 2008) - A life-sized animatronic sealer and a sound effects seal feature in an exhibition due to go on show later this week in Cornwall.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) exhibition about seals and the many threats they face goes on display this Thursday (6th November 2008) and will remain indefinitely at the National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek. It can be viewed at the sanctuary during opening hours.*

IFAW created the exhibition to educate adults and children about seals as part of an ongoing campaign to end Canada's cruel commercial seal hunt - now the biggest marine mammal hunt in the world.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) exhibition
This year's hunt had a quota for 275,000 seals. The seals are killed by being either clubbed or shot, and the majority of these are pups under three months old.

IFAW's UK Director Robbie Marsland said: "Canada's seal hunt is unacceptably cruel and unnecessary, with thousands of seals suffering a slow and painful death so their fur can be used in the fashion industry.

"We urge people in the area to visit our exhibition and give their backing to our campaign to end the seal hunt. Your support can really make a difference."

IFAW and other groups are campaigning for an EU-wide ban on the import of seal products to close a valuable market for the hunt and send a clear message to Canada that people in the UK and the rest of Europe want no further part in this cruelty.

In July this year, the European Commission proposed a trade ban and is currently deciding whether to allow certain exemptions to this. IFAW has cautiously welcomed the proposed ban but is urging the EU to introduce an outright ban to ensure there are no loopholes to allow further cruelty.

As well as the animatronic sealer and seal, the exhibition features information panels and interesting facts on seals.

In addition to hunting, seals around the world are also threatened by pollution, climate change and entanglement in fishing gear. Some are shot by fishermen who consider them a pest.

To find out more about IFAW's seals campaign and what you can do to help, visit or


For further information please contact:
Clare Sterling at IFAW on 020 7587 6708, mobile 07917 507717, or email; Alternatively visit

For more information on the National Seal Sanctuary, Gweek
Please contact Laura Ward on 01326 221361 or

Notes to Editors:

* The National Seal Sanctuary in Gweek is open from 10am daily apart from Christmas Day.    Please check with the centre on seasonal closing times. For directions and further information on the venue visit or call 01326 221361. Entry costs 11.95 per adult, 9.50 per child and 10.95 per concession (student or OAP).

Canada's commercial seal hunt takes place for a few weeks each spring in two locations; the Gulf of St Lawrence and 'the Front', an area off the north and east coasts of Newfoundland. The hunt begins a short time after hundreds of thousands of harp seals give birth on the ice in one of nature's most amazing wildlife spectacles.

There is now a ban on the killing of newborn 'whitecoat' harp seal pups, but they can be hunted as soon as they begin to shed their white fur, at around 12 days old.

All veterinary reports on the hunt have documented unacceptable levels of cruelty. A recent scientific report concluded that current hunt levels risk depleting the harp seal population by 70% in the next 15 years.

IFAW sends monitors out to the ice every year to document the cruelty.

In 2004, the UK accounted for 31% of the value of seal skin imports into the EU.

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