Every spring, the world watches in horror at the mass slaughter of baby seals on the ice floes of Canada.

While attention is focused on Canada, another mass killing of newborn babies takes place a slaughter which has little publicity. This is in the White Sea region of north west Russia.

Although commercial sealing in the former USSR was stopped in 1965, it is still legal to hunt the baby seal pups.

Recent figures show 38,000 seal babies are murdered each year. Many are clubbed to death on the ice this being the quickest method.

Once the hunt quota is reached, the surviving less fortunate pups are placed in nets and airlifted by helicopter to seal farms where they are used as part of the fur- production system.

The pups are placed in pens the size of a tennis court and guarded continually until they are ready to be killed by lethal injection, usually in batches of 50.

Sometimes pups are only paralysed rather than killed by the drug and are skinned while still alive.

Gravesham-based North Kent Animal Welfare (NKAW) and Folkestone-based European Animal Welfare (EAW) have been working together to highlight the plight of the Russian baby seals.

One idea is to replace the annual slaughter with seal-watch eco-tours to the region. This would allow people who earn their money from the hunt to act as guides for these tours instead.

Campaigns have mostly been within the UK and last May, the Founder of EAW, along with Mark Watts MEP, met with the UK's Russian Ambassador, Grigory Karasin, in London, to voice their opposition to this slaughter.

Next month the annual slaughter of innocent babies will start again.

EAW and NKAW ask all readers to write to the ambassador in London to voice their opposition to this killing and to have it replaced with eco-tours in the region to show the real beauty of these creatures.

The ambassador can be reached at: Ambassador His Excellency Grigory Karasin, The Embassy of the Russian Federation, 13 Kensington Palace Gardens, London, W8 4QP.

Mark Johnson North Kent Animal Welfare