March 19th, 2009 10:15 EST
Victory! Russia seal hunt ban
Incredible news. In a historic victory more than 15 years in the making, Russia today announced a complete ban on the hunting of all harp seals less than one year of age.
YOUR calls and letters have made a huge difference. Nearly 40,000 messages were written for Prime Minister Putin in the last month alone.
You have helped save up to 35,000 baby seals this year from a cruel and brutal slaughter in the White Sea.
Thanks to your support, IFAW has worked tirelessly in Russia to end this hunt since we opened our office there in 1994. We were the first organization to visit the ice and expose the bloody cruelty within Russia when it was virtually unknown - despite being physically assaulted by sealers and enduring powerful opposition from Russian government officials.
Over the past year, IFAW organized a wave of anti-hunt protests in 25 cities across Russia. This public outcry led to mounting pressure on Russia`s government to formally address the need to close the harp seal hunt.
And when a ban on just whitecoat pups (up to about 11 days old) was announced in February, we continued to push through the road blocks of fisheries officials to provide the scientific evidence needed to argue for a full ban.
This is your victory. It`s time to celebrate ... but we must not forget that more than 250,000 baby seals will still suffer horribly when Canada`s own commercial seal hunt begins any day now.
The time has come for the Canadian government to follow Russia`s lead. Please help us continue our campaign in Canada with a donation to help pass the Harb Seal Bill. This historic legislation would end Canada`s cruel commercial hunt for harp seals once and for all.
With you by our side, the next historic victory will take place in Canada.
For the seals,