Nfld. & Labrador

'The industry is on the way out,' says anti-sealing group after protest at St. John's store

The group behind Sunday's protest at Natural Boutique in St. John's, which sells sealskin products, says it wants to "educate Newfoundlanders about the commercial seal hunt."

Save our Seals calls hunt 'cruel, wasteful'

Save our Seals wants an end to the commercial seal hunt. (Save our Seals/Facebook)

The group behind Sunday's protest at Natural Boutique in St. John's, which sells sealskin products, says it wants to "educate Newfoundlanders about the commercial seal hunt."

"It's cruel, it's unnecessary. It's also extremely wasteful," said Renee Gosse, a member of Save our Seals.

Gosse said Sunday's protest outside Natural Boutique on Water Street was meant as "a non-threatening dialogue."

"I can assure you no one was touching anyone during our demonstration," she told CBC's On the Go Tuesday. 

Seal protest

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Anti-seal protesters took their message outside Natural Boutique in St. John's on Sunday. The Water Street store's owner confronted them outside her store. 0:48

Store owner Jen Shears turned the camera on the protestors and posted the video to Facebook, urging customers to come down and show their support for the "beautiful, renewable industry."

Shears, who said in the video that one of the protesters was touching her, said customers who visited the store Sunday numbered "in the hundreds, if not a thousand."

'Hanging by a thread'

Gosse said Save our Seals has 1,700 people who have liked and followed their Facebook page, and organizers "encourage a positive and open conversation."

 "The industry is on its way out … The market for seal fur is closing," said Gosse.

 "It's hanging by a thread and the government is still propping it up as if, you know, we need it. There is money going to waste."

Natural Boutique in St. John's sells a variety of sealskin products and had been the site of a weekend protest by Save our Seals who calls the seal hunt 'wasteful.' (Natural Boutique/Facebook)

The federal government, however, views the seal hunt differently. 

"The Canadian seal harvest … is an important economic and cultural activity," according to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website, which was last updated this year. 

"The Canadian government believes in the sustainable use of a renewable resource such as the harp seal."

With files from On the Go and Jeremy Eaton

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