Thin ice might hamper McCartney seal protest

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Long-time animal rights activist and former Beatles musician Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills arrived in Prince Edward Island on Wednesday to lend their star power to the campaign to end Canada’s seal hunt.

The former Beatles musician hopes to take his wife, a contingent of international media, and animal-rights activists to a barren stretch of ice in the Gulf on Thursday to catch a glimpse of newborn seal pups.

McCartney wants to “highlight the work of two animal protection groups to stop the Canadian seal hunt,” according to the Humane Society of the United States.

However, he may not get too close to the pups as the ice this year is unusually thin and may not be strong enough to hold the entourage’s five helicopters.

“I’d be a bit leery about landing a heavy machine like that loaded with people on ice that should be a bit thicker in terms of safety,” Frank Ring, spokesman for the federal Fisheries Department told The Canadian Press Wednesday.

McCartney will also have to avoid getting too close to the animals because federal regulations prohibit people from disturbing marine mammals “unless authorized to do so under a valid licence.”

Organizers of the trip were prevented from flying over the area Wednesday because of bad weather.

Meanwhile, a Canadian seal organization official is blasting Paul McCartney’s planned seal cull protest, calling the act a publicity stunt.

“These guys like McCartney and the other celebrities, Pamela Anderson and so on, they don’t know anything about this. Basically what bothers me is they’re only using sealing as a vehicle,” Jim Winter, co-founder of the Canadian Sealers Association, told CTV Newsnet Wednesday from St. John’s, Newfoundland.

“It’s got nothing to do with sealing. It’s a tactic, divide and conquer, and they’re very adept at it and these (animals rights) groups are very adept at using celebrities