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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Harp seal hunt is barbaric

I am absolutely disgusted by the cruelty of Canada’s commercial baby harp seal hunt. As you are aware over the next few weeks, more than a quarter of a million seals will be killed for unnecessary fur products. Nearly all of these seals will be less than three months old. Many will suffer painful and lingering deaths. This is unacceptable cruelty and the UK and Europe’s role in the trade in seal products is allowing this to happen.

I’ve witnessed the inhumane method these hunters are using to kill the seals. Seals were clubbed up to six times before being dragged onto a boat and thrown in a pile with others. The hunter did not check to see if the seal was dead, and certainly did not bleed the seal on the ice as regulations state. I also witnessed a seal manage to escape the hunter, but not until it had already been smashed over the head once. This seal will undoubtedly die a long and painful death as a result of this injury. So I ask you, is this humane?

Why do these seals need to die? Some reports state that there is not an overabundance of seals and they do not need to be culled. IFAW has stated clearly that because of the reduction in sea ice many seals are being born in the water and are drowning. But is this being taken into account when the Canadian government issue their quotas? No. But even if there is an overabundance of seals, why shouldn’t there be?? It’s not like there isn’t enough room for them out there on the frozen wastelands of the Hudson Bay. And this can also mean more food for the Polar Bear, who is also under threat of extinction. The only animal with the right to kill these baby seals is the Polar Bear, and he only does this to survive. Canadian hunters are killing these baby seals for a trophy sport, and for a trade that is totally unnecessary in this day and age. We can manufacture artificial furs that are just as good as the real thing.

It’s also been ludicrously suggested in the past that the seals were responsible for the collapse of cod stocks in the North Atlantic in the 1990s. Just read this:

This is not even an economic necessity for the fisherman because, as stated in an interview with the representative from IFAW, the cost of paying for an icebreaker ship to clear a path for these fishing trawlers could be used instead to compensate the sealers for a loss in trade should the hunt be banned. But the real truth is that this is not the sole income for these people, (It only happens once a year so how could it be?) and they could very easily live without it. I’m sure that if it was worked out, the cost of the hunt probably outweighs the profits.

Please help push for a ban on the trade in seal products in the European Union, and the entire world. A national ban in the UK would help achieve an EU-wide ban. The Governments have the power to stop imports of all sorts of products without the need to introduce new legislation so this would be a relatively quick and easy step to take. We also have the power to stop this by refusing to buy any animal products and even boycotting Canadian products, if possible.

Therefore I urge you to immediately send a message to the UK and EU governments, and also the governments around the world to ban the import of all seal products, to start with, and also any animal fur that is still being sold today.

You can send a message to the UK Minister for Trade, Gareth Thomas MP here

Read more here:

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Ian Middleton
Travel writer, photographer and animal lover


Anonymous said...

You know the quota was actually reduced by fifty thousand because of the ice conditions. Us Canadians are capable of managing some things, you know. But of course, it's all about the money - donation money!

How about taking both sides of the issue into account, instead of fallng for the propaganda of one.

Somebody truly wise would listen to both sides. It's apparent you aren't.

Kasia said...

it's funny to hear people say "listen to both sides of the story" yet the 'other side' never seems to be mentioned. That's because there is no other side!

I am a Canadian and I am amashed of the seal hunt. I have watched countless interviews with Fishery ministers and MP's of the east coast provinces and I now see where all the jokes about stupid Candians come from.

so, "anonymous" will you please enlighten us with this "other side"? or are you just as much an uneducated person as you claim the author of this blog to be?

Anonymous said...

Well I for one am amashed at your comment. Entirely speechless in fact.

The other side is about an economy and livelihoods that you probably don't care about, hence your ignorance. There are Inuit hunters that will be dragged down along with the commercial hunt, but that's not even the main point - who's going to provide for these swilers? Boats don't pay for themselves! Instead of watching politicans, how about watching interviews with people who actually are involved firsthand and have a rather large stake in the industry.

Or don't, because it's not like a EU ban or Toronto whining or anything similar will have a difference. The real money's in Asia and Russia and they obviously don't care about eco-terrorists.

Ian Middleton said...

There is a world of difference between an inuit hunter killing a seal for survival, to keep himself and his family warm and fed in the winter, and a large scale slaughter of seals so some stupid women in Europe and North America can parade around in the skin of some poor dead baby seal and think they are sophisticated.

I understand that these fisherman are doing this because this is the livelihood that they have always known, but there are other ways to make a living. Why don't they use their boats to run tourists out to watch the beauty of these seals in pupping season? I for one would pay for this privilage, especially if it meant an end to the killing.

I would like to see that the Canadian government not only ban this, but also subsidise the fishermen for their loss of income, and perhaps setup some grants to help them establish a better way of living, like running seal tours or something else. There is always a better solution.

As for the reduction in the quota due to the ice conditions, I applaud it, but it's not enough. Polar bears are dying because of retreating sea ice making it harder for them to hunt for their food, so fishermen killing their only source of food is not helping them either.

Anonymous, if you are calling us eco-terrorists then I can see that someone else is not truly wise either. I am not an activist, and I'm sure that Kasia isn't either. We are just ordinary people who love animals and care about what is happening.

Jack said...

im only i 14 year old boy, but even i can tell whats right and wrong, it makes me feel sick knowing what goes on over there.this site and organisation was a good idea, where we can come together and get the facts, this website has been very encouraging being able to have acess to informative information.Ian Middleton i just want to say thanks and its encouraging to know there are people like you making a stand!