If you go down to Trafalgar Square today, you're in for a big, icy, 10 foot high surprise. To alert the public to the beginning of the two-month Canadian seal hunting season and to raise awareness around the barbaric practices involved, the International Fund for the Welfare of Animals (IFAW) has commsioned an ice sculpture of a seal hunter and seal that will be unveiled today in the Square.
The Canadian seal hunt is mainly concentrated in Newfoundland and Labrador and in the hunt season over 300,000 seals (most under 3 months old) will be shot or clubbed to death. Some will be skinned alive. All the spoils of the hunt go into trade abroad, mainly fur but also other "seal products". Anyone who has seen footage of seal hunters at work, calmly clubbing to death piles of defenceless white baby seal pups and leaving the clean white Canadian snow plains streaked red with seal blood will understand how much the IFAW wants to end the annual hunt and end trade in seal fur and seal products.
The ice sculpture also precedes tomorrow's launch of a new report conducted by the IFAW titled "Importing Cruelty" that examines all aspects of the hunt and trade in seal products with the UK. Sculpture and report are hoped to combine to increase awareness in the public about Canadian seal hunting with a further aim to put pressure on Ian Pearson, Minister for Trade, to put in place a ban on the import of seal products into the UK.
For more information on the Importing Cruelty report and for a picture of the ice sculpture in Trafalgar Square, please go to the IFAW website here.