Just in time for Tax Day, Canadian icon William Shatner has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on PETA's behalf urging the government to stop spending millions of taxpayer dollars to prop up the dying commercial seal industry.

Each year, the government bleeds $7 million in sealing subsidies for Coast Guard support, pro-sealing political campaigns, and extravagant forays to Asia to drum up markets for a widely banned product that accounts for less than 1 percent of Newfoundland’s economy.

“Citizens from coast to coast are being hammered by the harmonised sales tax, property taxes continue to soar, and inflation is driving away investment,” writes the former Captain of the Starship Enterprise. "So why does the government persist in throwing money away so that a small number of fishers can afford to go out onto the ice and bludgeon to death helpless baby seals? On behalf of my friends at PETA, I urge you to let the seal slaughter die off already.

“Not only is it cruel to bludgeon and shoot thousands of seals every year, the slaughter also costs taxpayers millions more to support than it actually earns. A study in 2010 at Canada’s University of Guelph found that ending the commercial slaughter would save Canada at least $7 million each year. The country spends millions in taxpayer money subsidizing the slaughter through Coast Guard support, pro-sealing political campaigns within the country, and extravagant travel to Asia, all in an attempt to drum up markets for products that no one needs or wants. The government also spends incalculable millions on additional research and market development to benefit the industry, even though income from the slaughter accounts for less than 1 percent of Newfoundland’s economy. World leaders, including Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, have spoken out against the clubbing of baby seals, and Canadian seal products have been banned by the U.S. and, more recently, by the E.U.—a ban that the Canadian government is spending an estimated $10 million to challenge.

“At a time of massive budget cuts in Canada, when many Canadians are struggling just to pay their bills, the government continues to defend this dying industry because both the conservative and liberal parties crave the region’s seven swing seats in Parliament. Please do the right thing here and end the slaughter once and for all.”

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