The seal ‘seal hunting season’ is well underway in Canada. Every year a number of hunters set off to ‘cull’ seal pups. There are a variety of reasons they have for doing this, and why Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) lets them.
Every year some 300,000 infant Harp Seals aged between 2 and 12 weeks are slaughtered by being beaten with clubs (called a ‘hakapik’) until their skulls are crushed. Some are shot, but since bullets are expensive this isn’t the ‘weapon’ of choice. The seal pups are then skinned. Their carcases are left on the ice, or thrown into the ocean. It’s estimated that between 15,000 and 150,000 ‘escape’ the hunters only to drown or die from their injuries. Exact figures can’t be obtained because the DFO is naturally embarrassed by the ongoing international protests and refuses to allow observers full access to all areas of the ‘hunt’.
For their part, the DFO say they have prohibited the ‘cruel treatment’ of the pups evident in earlier years. For example, they now insist the animals are actually dead before they are skinned (???)… rather than skinning them whilst alive as was documented, and is *still* being documented, by many people. In fact anti-hunting groups have claimed that hunters only obey the law whilst they are being watched and that their investigations suggest up to 42% of the seal pups are not only still alive whilst being skinned… they are in fact conscious!
If that wasn’t bad enough, we know Global Warming is badly affecting the ice floes the seals breed on making them far more fragile and shorter lived. Thousands of seals are finding it difficult to breed at all, and killing millions of pups is driving the seal remorselessly towards extinction.
Canada is a sovereign nation and as such is entitled to make it’s own decisions but anyone as disgusted by this ongoing mass slaughter should contact the nearest Canadian embassy or Consulate to register their protest. It can be done in person, by letter, by phone, by fax or by email. It just needs to be done so that this appalling cruelty and environmental vandalism can be stopped. International pressure *does* work. Let’s apply it!!
For more info try Stop The Seal Hunt, but be warned… this is *not* a site to show your kids unless they have strong stomachs!!