|Three decades ago, a small group of concerned local citizens banded
together to stop a massive and brutal commercial hunt for white- coat harp seals on the
eastern coast of Canada, and a new breed of animal advocacy organisation was born.
the outset, the founders of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, or IFAW, rejected
the notion that the interests of humans and animals were separate. Instead they embraced
the understanding that the fate and future of harp seals- and all other animals on
Earth-are inextricably linked to our own.
IFAW's courageous actions drew international attention to the plight of the seal pups
and successfully rallied worldwide condemnation of the hunt. Thanks to IFAW's continued
vigilance, it is now illegal to hunt white-coat seal pups for commercial purposes on the
ice floes off Canada's east coast. This is a fragile victory, however, for Canada's
commercial seal hunt persists. More than 200,000 harp seals have been reported killed so
far this year. IFAW continues to document and expose abuses of the commercial hunt and
press for an end to this cruel, unsustainable slaughter. Over the years, the small team of
committed campaigners reaching out to help seals has grown to become the world's leading
international animal welfare organisation. IFAW begins its fourth decade of operation with
more than 200 experienced campaigners, legal and political experts, and internationally
acclaimed scientists working from offices in 13 countries around the world.
We are now joined in this important work by some two million contributors worldwide.
This broad base of support makes it possible for IFAW to engage communities, government
leaders, and like-minded organisations around the world and achieve lasting solutions to
pressing animal welfare and conservation challenges-solutions that benefit both animals
and people. Over the years, our approach has been as varied as the species we protect.
IFAW's mission is to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the
world by reducing commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats, and
assisting animals in distress. We seek to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to
animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the
well-being of both animals and people.
We campaign to change policies and practices to improve the welfare of animals and also
assist animals directly through our own program work and grants to other organisations.
IFAW mounts rescue and relief operations to help animals in distress, whether from
natural or man-made disasters; collaborates with local communities around the world to
preserve critical tracts of wilderness habitat; promotes economically viable alternatives
to commercial exploitation of wildlife; and supports sanctuaries for animals around the
world. Our campaigns are based on scientific research and bolstered by advocacy with
legislators and world leaders for strong laws to protect animals, as well as public
education to promote more enlightened coexistence of all living things on this planet we