07/24/2012 10:54 EDT

Bill Maher: Bob Rae Can't Defend Seal Hunt 'Ethically Or Financially'


HBO host Bill Maher is again chastising Bob Rae for defending Canada's seal hunt.

The comedian wrote to the interim Liberal leader for a second time on Friday after Rae said Maher and other celebrities should find more worthy causes to fight for.

"It's a shame that since you can't defend the commercial seal slaughter ethically or financially, you instead attack the philanthropy of celebrities involved in many different causes, seals among them," Maher wrote.

"The fact that seals have been killed for hundreds of years is no excuse for continuing to kill them. For thousands of years, people held slaves and treated women and children like property, but tradition is not a justification for cruelty. It's disappointing that Canadian politicians continue to bail out this dying industry even though there are no markets for seal fur now."

Maher goes on to suggest that a government buyout of the industry would be the best solution for seals and sealers.


bill maher bob rae seal hunt

The dust-up between the two men started earlier this month when Maher first wrote to Rae to express his disappointment with the Liberals for not supporting Senator Mac Harb's effort to end the "commercial baby seal slaughter."

Rae responded soon after, defending the industry as an important and sustainable part of Canada's "cultural heritage" and attacking celebrities for focusing on the seal hunt while ignoring other forms of hunting.

According to PETA, a large group of celebrities support Harb's bill. They include: Ellen DeGeneres, Pink, Pamela Anderson, Olivia Munn, Tommy Lee, Dave Navarro, Alicia Silverstone and Megan Park.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government says 70,000 harp seals were killed during this year's commercial seal hunt — nearly twice the number killed last year.

But the expansion of the hunt, as Maher suggests, comes as markets for the pelts are drying up.

In December of last year, the federal government confirmed the world’s largest buyer of Canadian seal products — the Russian Federation — had banned the import of harp seal pelts.

The European Union banned seal imports in 2010, and the federal government has so far failed to deliver on a promise to open the Chinese market to Canadian seal meat.

With files from The Canadian Press

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