Target: Mark MacKenzie, Nova Scotia fisherman
Goal: Publicly apologize for abusing and killing innocent baby seal and immediately pay court-ordered fine.
An innocent baby seal was brutally murdered and now the men responsible must pay the consequences. Mark MacKenzie, the captain of a Nova Scotia fishing vessel, was ordered to pay a fine of $7,500 after he was captured with two other fishermen abusing and killing a seal pup. MacKenzie is also banned from fishing from January 1, 2019 until June 30, 2019. The ban is not starting immediately because the court wanted to suspend MacKenzie’s ability to fish during the most lucrative time for the groundfish fishery off Yarmouth. Prosecutor Alex Pink said of the punishment: “It is a significant penalty and a groundfish prohibition is significant as well. That could be thousands and thousands of dollars that that person will not be able to earn.”
The other two fishermen aboard MacKenzie’s vessel that were involved in the animal abuse were prosecuted as well. Jay Alexander Jenkins received a fine of $3,500. Brendon Douglas James Porter received a fine of $2,500. Although there was a trial scheduled for the charges in Yarmouth provincial court, all three pleaded guilty to a charge under the Fishery General Regulations relating to the release of incidental catch—a regulation that should have protected the seal pup.
The incident was caught on camera and a video of the fishermen tormenting the seal pup circulated on Facebook. This showed the men taunting and prodding the seal with a buoy and being kicked while the men laughed. One is heard making the suggestion to kill the seal while another speaks of getting a machete. Circulation of this video caused the incident to gain national attention last year. In the video, you can hear someone saying, “I want to play tug-of-war with him.” The video was obtained by the CBC and was eventually deleted.
However, before the video was taken out of circulation, public outcry began. Many people following the case commented on it via The Vanguard‘s, a local paper, Facebook page. There was praise for the judge as well as some people offering the opinion that the fishermen should have received stricter punishments. One woman wrote, “I believe they deserved a whole lot more than they got!” Another commented, “So amazing to see this good outcome! Animal abuse like this is never OK under any circumstance.”
The men legally have until December 18, 2018 to pay their fines. Sign this petition to urge Captain MacKenzie to publicly apologize for his actions and to pay his fine immediately.
Dear Captain MacKenzie,
Last year you were involved in an instance of animal abuse that was caught on camera. The video of you and your two shipmates taunting and abusing a seal circulated on Facebook and led to criminal charges. As you know, under the Fishery General Regulations, you should have released the seal—unharmed—as an incidental catch. Your decision to instead mistreat and abuse this animal has led to a $7,500 fine. This case has very much played out in the public eye and, therefore, I urge you to publicly apologize for your despicable behavior and pay your fine immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ville Miettinen