The largest commercial slaughter of marine mammals on the planet is set to begin in late March. By the end of the hunt, it’s predicted that more than 300,000 seals will have been clubbed or shot to death — many of them babies as young as 12 days old. Last year, a shocking 98.5% of the seals killed were two months old or younger, and some were skinned while still conscious and able to feel pain. We expect more of the same during this year’s hunt.
Join the boycott of Canadian fisheries. Seal hunting is an off-season activity conducted by fishermen from Canada’s east coast. They earn, on average, a small fraction of their incomes from seal hunting — the rest comes from commercial fisheries. Canada takes in nearly $3 billion annually from seafood exports to the United States. The connection between the commercial fishing industry and the seal hunt in Canada gives consumers all over the world the power to end the vicious slaughter of seals.
I’m not opposed to hunting, as a concept. (I wouldn’t want to do it, but I’ll cook what the hunters bring home.) I’m not even necessarily against fur…although I’m not sure I could ever buy one, and I couldn’t wear the fur of a “cute” animal. Leather, sure…Seal? Oh, but no. I’m certainly not a PETA freak. But the fact is that these slaughters are grotesque. I hardly think bashing baby seals over the head with a baseball bat presents any sort of “challenge”, so there’s no sportsmanship involved. It’s just rampaging violence for violence sake.
In 2001, (PDF) a report by an independent team of veterinarians who studied the hunt concluded that governmental regulations regarding humane killing were neither being respected nor enforced, and that the seal hunt failed to comply with Canada’s basic animal welfare regulations. Shockingly, the veterinarians found that in 42% of the cases they studied, the seals had likely been skinned alive while conscious.
To address the “overpopulation” issue raised by the proponents of the hunt, I remind you that according to the last survey conducted by the Canadian government in 1999, the harp seal population stopped recovering in 1996 (when the commercial seal hunt was reintroduced) and began to decline. With more than a million seal pups killed over the past three years alone, we can only wonder what the impact will be on the harp seal population over the coming years. Read more here.