Government cash goes to promoting sealskin products

James McLeod
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Provincial Fisheries Minister Darin King (left) joined Bernie Halloran, owner/operator of Always In Vogue, at Vogue Furriers on Water Street Wednesday to announce a contribution of $17,670 from fisheries development funding in support of Always In Vogue to attend the North American Fur and Fashion Exposition Montreal to promote and display Newfoundland and Labrador seal products. The show takes place April 30 and May 1. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

For Bernie Halloran, owner of Always in Vogue furriers, the problem isn’t finding people who want to buy seal fur, it’s finding countries who want to let him sell it.

“The seal industry for years has been bullied,” Halloran told reporters Wednesday.

Halloran will take his sealskin wares to Montreal at the end of this month for an international fur show, with some help from the provincial government.

Fisheries Minister Darin King was at Vogue to try on a sealskin coat and announce the government will put up more than $17,000 to help Halloran get to the show.

“This is intended to be another clear, strong message that government is fully supportive of the industry,” King said. “We recognize the value to the province and the value to the many communities where the work takes place and originates from.”

Halloran said he’s not having any trouble in Newfoundland; for people who come into the store on Water Street, the No. 1 seller is sealskin products.

“People in Newfoundland and Labrador support it. They’re not just supporting it because they’re patriotic — that’s part of it — but the bottom line is it’s a gorgeous product,” he said.

“The world just doesn’t know it yet.”

But it’s a bleak time for selling seal products internationally.

In the government’s news release, it noted that, “Last year the (Montreal fur show) attracted 3,473 buyers from the United States, Canada, Russia, Germany, Austria, Italy and Belgium.”

Activists with the International Fund for Animal Welfare were quick to point out that — except for Canada — all of those markets are closed to seal products due to trade bans.

Halloran said he’s looking elsewhere, though.

“If China comes aboard and starts taking our product, there won’t be enough seals in the ocean. There’ll be a fight for the quota,” he said.

“It’s selling in China, and they do love the product.

“I’ve dealt with a lady that’s in Beijing that wants to open up a Vogue Beijing.”

King dismissed the idea put forward by some animal rights groups the sealing industry can’t survive without government help.

King said helping local business go to trade shows is something the government does all the time and, more broadly, the government is constantly supporting businesses.

“There’s always been bumps in the road, whether it’s the sealing industry  or the fishery or mining or megaprojects,” he said.

“There’s always bumps in the road when people come to government looking for support.”

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: International Fund for Animal Welfare

Geographic location: Montreal, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada China Water Street United States Russia Germany Austria Italy Belgium Beijing

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Recent comments

  • da bejer
    April 20, 2012 - 00:54

    i fully support NL's govt financial support of the seal hunt.............just to reiterate...........there are 7 million seals out there.....its a hunt like moose........caribou....deer............get real people....

  • Animal Lover in the USA
    April 19, 2012 - 20:21

    Everyone I know in the USA hates Canada and its murder of innocent animals for profit......everyone I know is boycotting Canadian products and if I were a Canadian citizen, especially an animal lover, I would be appalled that money I gave the government would be wasted like this.......Let's all stand up for animals over money and find occupations that are cruelty free instead of living our lives like these corporate loafers......making a living at cruelty because they have no worthwhile skills to offer the world.......shameful beyond belief

    • David
      April 19, 2012 - 23:56

      Yeah, the USA loves animals --- just not people so much. Physician, heal thyself.

    • shawn
      April 21, 2012 - 09:14

      Animal Lover in the USA, maybe you guys should stop killing Bambi for sport. What about all that Texas Beef that yall brag about so much. What about all the fur wearing rich folks that parade around your cities....EH? I could go on all day about your completly uneducated response to this article. Hypocrisy will never die as long as the the US survives. With all that said, I'm of the belief that if an industry can not survive on it's own merit, then it should die. Simple. Our government should keep it's nose and our tax dollars out of private industry.

  • Fedup
    April 19, 2012 - 11:02

    If all of the countries that are attending this trade show are countries that are not permitted to import seal products, why are we supporting Bernie and his ever changing store name to be there? I'm so sick of politicians wasting our tax dollars.

  • David
    April 19, 2012 - 10:23

    Small correction. Nothing important, or anything like's TAXPAYER money (or more precisely: non-renewable natural resource OWNERS' money). It's NOT government money. I know that no one around here cares, but it's just a 'thing' I have....carry on.

  • Supporter
    April 19, 2012 - 09:56

    Newfoundland and Labrdaor has been bullied long enough over the seal industry. I support the government in helping anyone who is trying to curb ignorance towards seal products.

  • Scott Free
    April 19, 2012 - 07:30

    Shameful! what happened to entrepreneurial spirit and building a business without government support and handouts? This is nothing short of corporate welfare. Will you be getting your long-awaited sealskin vest out of this Minister King? Pathetic; must be nice to be friends with the Tories, huh Bernie? Many a successful Newfoundland business has attended trade shows over the years on their own dime, not the taxpayers'.

  • Star
    April 19, 2012 - 07:19

    I believe the money the government given to the seal industry should of been put to a better cause like FIXING OUR ROADS!! NOT THE SEAL INDUSTRY!!!!

    • da bejer
      April 19, 2012 - 18:25

      Im 100% behind the government funding the sealing industry. The groups like PETA and Greenpeace have some of the general public brainwashed about the seal hunt. Bravo!j to Darrin King for wearing the seal jacket.....looking good.

    • Tony in Paradise
      April 20, 2012 - 05:41

      Mr. Halloran ..Why do you charge so much for a seal skin coat $5000.00 ? Is because of supply and demand or just because you can. Drop the price to 500.00 and you wont be able to fill your orders. Can you please explain to the people.