Greg Pretty, the head of the Fish, Food, and Allied Workers Union, addressed the Senate Fisheries Committee:
We had the products, we had the beautiful coats, you name it, we had it. We had seal oil. We did all that. It was all done, but it was all crushed. It was crushed by outside forces, and we never had a champion in Ottawa to stand for us.
Blacklock's Reporter first reported Pretty's comments on Monday morning regarding the drastic decline in the Seal Harvest.
The seal trade, facing bans in the EU and China, has fallen from $34.3 million annually to just $275,000 per year.
Pretty blamed the weak seal lobby in Ottawa for unscientific campaigns to ban seal hunting due to the cuteness of the harvest.
"We don’t have a national champion on seals. You know, if the beef industry in this country was under attack like the seals are today, there would be action taken about it, believe me," said Pretty. "We started talking about baby seals and the prettiness of the facial composure of a seal versus other animals."
Pretty mentioned that there's little legal action taken when the seal industry and its supporters are targeted.
Any time that somebody from this province can land in Ottawa and have their coat sprayed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and nothing happens, there might be a small misdemeanor charge, but that signal goes to the high schools, and it goes right to the media who also are a part of that process that promote these individuals to the detriment of our harvesting industry.
The FFAW-Unifor represents more than 15,000 men and women employed in the fisheries industry in Newfoundland and Labrador.