Seal hunt protest hits Charlottetown lunch

Seal hunt protesters were dragged from a lunch hosted by the Fisheries Council of Canada in Charlottetown.
Hotel staff attempt to talk protesters down off the furniture. ((CBC))

Four seal hunt protesters were dragged from a lunch hosted by the Fisheries Council of Canada in Charlottetown on Wednesday.

The members of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals started their protest outside the Charlottetown Hotel.

"You know, we won't back down from this," said Emily McCoy, one of the protesters. "Civilized people want to see an end to this slaughter."

When the council members took a break for lunch, the protesters moved their demonstration into the dining room of the hotel, where people were eating.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea had been scheduled to speak at the lunch, but cancelled her appearance earlier.

McCoy stood on a table, and another protester wearing a seal suit stood on a chair, while two others videotaped the protest.

"Stop the bloody seal hunt," McCoy shouted repeatedly. "I'm concerned about these seals."

Hotel staff were unable to get them off the furniture and called the police, who arrived approximately 10 minutes later. Officers removed the group from the dining room.

McCoy and the second protester in the seal suit were ticketed for trespassing, which carries a fine of $120.

Members of the media were thrown out of the meeting room and then out of the hotel.

"I want cameras at the bottom of the stairs. This is private property," said a hotel staff member.

The president of the Fisheries Council of Canada said he thought the protesters had chosen the wrong event to stage their demonstration.

"They have something against the sealing industry, but they're taking action against the fishing industry," said Patrick McGuinness.

"A fish plant worker in British Columbia who's working hard has no connection whatsoever with the sealing industry, so I think I would ask them just to reflect on the issue of ethics here."

The council represents approximately 100 member companies across Canada, who employ thousands of fish and seafood growers, harvesters and processors.