Jerry Vlasak, MD Released from Jail in Canada Today

Thanks to everyone who called demanding an end to the horrific seal slaughter and on behalf of releasing Jerry.

April 10th, 2006

21044 Sherman Way #211
Canoga Park CA 91302
phone: 818.932-9997 fax: 818.932-9998
[email protected]

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Eastern Canada - Dr. Jerry Vlasak - one of three Press Officers with the North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO) - was released from jail on his 15th day of a hunger strike in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. NAALPO can now return to the real work of the Press Office, which is to report on and be a source of media for underground actions in order to save animals. We usually do not cover above- ground activists and actions - but, because Vlasak is one of the Press Officers, we felt it was newsworthy.

Vlasak's wife related to Press Officer Lindy Greene, "He's always very calm and thoughtful - and minimizes anything regarding himself. That's just the way he is - very little drama with Jerry! So, I began feeling extremely concerned about him last week when he refused a visit from a fellow anti-sealing activist whom he likes very much. I knew the only reason he would not take the visit is that he must have been feeling really lousy. He went into jail at 175 pounds (he's 6'5'' tall) and, when they weighed him last week, he was down to 157 pounds. He can't afford to lose any more weight!"

Jerry Vlasak stated to NAALPO this morning, "The jail told me I should go to the hospital after I was released from custody, but I refuse to pay a dime into the Canadian economy to be checked by an emergency room doctor. If I choose to see a doc, I will see someone I trust when I return home. I was released today a bit lighter and physically a bit weaker, but ideologically stronger than ever."

Vlasak went on to say, "Six years ago, Canada reinstated the killing of seal pups at an unprecedented rate. It's incumbent upon all of us to do everything we can to stop this horrific systematic extermination of young harp seals. I can now go home to a loving family and friends - but the seals are still out there being bludgeoned to death. I'm hoping that with the decision by IFAW, HSUS and other conservation groups to make this a year-round campaign--maybe, just maybe, this will be the last year of this horrific kill."

Vlasak surrendered to authorities Monday, March 27th and began a hunger strike in protest of his unjust conviction stemming from last year's seal slaughter in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Arrested out on the ice floes in March of 2005, Vlasak and ten others were charged with and convicted of violating the inappropriately named "Canadian Seal Protection Act" after approaching seal killers and attempting to convince them to stop bludgeoning young seals to death.

During the group's attempt to discuss the futility and cruelty of killing baby seals - ostensibly for their negative impact on the codfish population, but in reality for profit and greed - Dr. Vlasak was punched in the nose. 10 others - including two female anti-sealing activists - were violently assaulted by sealers. Despite pleas to the contrary and extensive video documentation, none of the seal killers were arrested or charged. After a bench trial last December, the eleven were ordered to pay $1000C. They refused to pay the fine and were sentenced to 22 days in jail.

Vlasak is the first of the anti-sealing protesters to turn himself in. John Mitchell, legal counsel for the eleven activists, said he is aware of plans by several of those arrested with Vlasak to turn themselves in and serve their respective sentences. But none of those individuals have contacted or advised Mitchell with regard to when they intend to return to Charlottetown.

A worldwide boycott of Atlantic-Canadian seafood products supported by a number of large groups, has cost the Canadian economy tens of millions of dollars - far in excess of the value of the skins and penises sold for the European fur and Asian aphrodisiac markets. The Canadian government continues to subsidize the slaughter by providing the services of spotter planes and several icebreakers. The latter cut a deadly swath through the ice floes directly to the baby seal nursery. This support continues despite the fact that the majority of Canadian citizens oppose the hunt and are embarrassed by the worldwide publicity engendered by celebrities like Sir Paul and Lady Heather McCartney.

The "first phase" of the slaughter ended in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and killed ninety-one thousand baby seals. The "second phase" of the massacre in the Labrador Front (Newfoundland) started last Tuesday and is going to kill 234,000 more baby seals.

For more information and footage on the seal kill - or to be added to the NAALPO e-mail list - please e-mail or call the North American Animal Liberation Press Office at [email protected] or (818) 932-9997, respectively.

National Press Officers:
Lindy Greene - Southwest
Camille Hankins - New York
Jerry Vlasak - Los Angeles