Commercial Seal Clubbing: Why It Needs to Stop

alyssaisallaboutanimals0002

In the past ten years, over 2 million seals have been killed for their fur. This does not include the tens of thousands of seals who have been wounded by sealer’s clubs or rifles and escaped under the ice, only to succumb to their wounds and die.

-The Humane Society of the United States


Every year, along the icy Canadian coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador, thousands of baby seals cry out in pain as their skulls are struck by clubs or hakapiks (long sticks with a hooked blade at one end). This gruesome murder occurs a few weeks after mama seals gave birth to their beautiful babies. Every spring, 2,000 to 6,000 Canadian fishermen kill tens of thousands of baby seals for their fur and sometimes for their oil.

Below is a line graph I made using information I got from HarpSeals.org. The quota for 1996 drastically increased, as did the number of Harp seals killed. Since then, the quota has slowly continued to go up. This year, the Canadian government set the highest quota to date: 468,200 harp, grey, and hooded seals are allowed to die at the hands of these cruel Canadian sealers. So far, 37,609 seal pups have been killed this year.

chartftw

* The # of seals killed only talks about Harp seals. This does not include the other types of seals (i.e Hood or Grey seals), although those seals were murdered too, although the numbers were other seals killed were not as large in amount. Also, this graph does not include seals that were ‘struck and lost’.

Reasons why the Seal Hunt should end:

1.) Do we really need seal fur? I know it makes a fashion statement but is that really worth the lives of hundreds of thousands of baby seals each year? I think not!

2.) Canadians hunt and kill baby seals. According to HSI, the Canadian government statistics say that 97 percent of the seals killed in the past five years have been less than three months of age, with a majority having been one month old or less! This doesn’t seem fair to me, especially considering these young creatures could have lived for 35 long happy years. But sadly, most of these baby seals have not even eaten their first meal or taken their first swim when the Canadian sealers come around to take their life away. Not only is this tragic, but it also makes surviving this terrible ordeal that much more difficult; their inability to swim means they have no escape route.

3.) For most people participating in the commercial seal hunt, seal clubbing is a second job for them; this means they have another full-time job. An economic analysis of the hunt done by a professor from the University Of Guelph revealed the hunt provides 100 – 150 full time jobs a year, while thousands of others hunt seals as a second means of income. Those who don’t have other jobs can probably find more work living in the city. Why must they live in in the rural, small towns, with only a few job opportunities to offer besides cruelly slaughtering baby seals? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

4.) An analysis conducted by a panel of veterinarians showed that around 40% of the seals were actually skinned alive (Harp Seals). Most likely, this occurs because hunters are careless and do not check the seal thoroughly enough to make sure the seal is dead before skinning it. Although sealers say the slaughter of these babies is performed in a humane manner, the video below shows their statement is inaccurate.

WARNING!: Footage is graphic.

 

5.) The number of Harp seals has drastically declined, not only because of the slaughter, but also because global warming has melted the ice floes. Harp seals are ice dependent animals and need that ice to give birth to their pups. The ice also needs to remain intact until the pups are strong enough to survive in the water. The climate change resulted in a decline of sea ice off the eastern coast of Canada. So these poor seals not only have to worry about humans slaughtering their brothers and sisters, but now they have to fight global warming shrinking their birthing grounds.

6.) Most of the time, the seal meat is left on the ice to rot away. This is because most countries find seal meat undesirable and for that reason, the price for their meat is very low and typically not worth the effort. Even Newfoundlanders find the meat too fatty and distasteful. Therefore, only small amounts of the seal’s meat is processed and used in any manner.

7.) If you are a Canadian, you should care about this cause a great deal. The money that keeps this program running comes from out of your pockets! The government uses tax payers’ money to fund things such as boats, weapons and many other things used in the seal hunt. The money also goes to promote and advertise the seal hunt. If you don’t want your hard earned money to go to the governments’ effort help kill baby seals, it’s time that you do something about it!

 

alyssaisallaboutanimals0003

This subject makes me disappointed with how the Canadian Government is being run. I mean, all animal abuse makes me sad but learning about the slaughter of these beautiful creatures affected me the most. It seems I’m not the only one who is deeply effected by the whole process. Most people around the world don’t approve of Canada’s decision to keep the hunt going. It just bothers me that these cute babies have to die for something we don’t even fucking need! Nobody NEEDS a coat or hat made out of seal fur.

Watch a video or look at a photo of a baby seal; then think that in weeks time, their life will come to a tragic and painful end… for what? To be made into a fashion accessory for us humans to wear. Does that seem fair to you? I’m suddenly beginning to realize why PETA throws blood at someone wearing a fur coat. That fur coat looks better on a baby seal than it EVER will on ANY human being.

How could you kill such an adorable and innocent creature? Canada, this needs to stop!

 

A Positive Looking Future for Seals?

I obviously don’t live in Canada and I don’t have the best updates about the hunt. In fact, I got all of my information from only about three different websites (all of them are reliable sites with great information!). On May 13 2011, HarpSeals.org stated that the sealers did not feel like the hunt was worth participating in because sealers no longer made a huge profit from the hunt. This is because there are not many buyers for seal pelts due to the outstanding efforts of dozens of different organizations that have been campaigning for years to stop the hunt. The number of seals killed also went down because the European Parliament agreed to ban seal imports from Canada; this was a HUGE success for protestors because the EU was one of the biggest buyers of seal products.

Another reason why the season isn’t going great for the sealers is because of the deteriorating condition of the ice floes. Usually, hunters can walk out onto the ice to club the baby seals. This year however, the ice is too dangerous for sealers to walk on. Sadly, the shrinking ice floes are also a problem for pregnant seal mothers-to-be. These female seals need a solid place to give birth to their pups, since the babies cannot swim until they are at least 2 months old.

Hopefully, the condition of ice floes improve for these animals by the time seal slaughtering has been eliminated from the world. It is my hope that we can get rid of this cruel and inhumane slaughter of these beautiful creatures as soon as humanly possible.

What you can do to help:

Photo taken by Nigel Barker

  • Boycott Canadian Seafood
  • Boycott Canadian Tourism
  • Send emails and/or letters to Politicians and Businesses urging them to help put an end to the seal hunt. Visit HarpSeals.org to get a full list of politicians and businesses that you should contact; it could make all the difference. The more people/businesses you email, the better chances we have to end the slaughter of these innocent creatures once and for all.
  • Inform others about what happens to these seals.
  • Don’t buy anything with real fur. The demand for fur is contributing to this catastrophic massacre in Canada. Anyone wearing the fur of minks, rabbits, foxes, or any other kind of animal is responsible for creating this demand. I really don’t understand why people want to cuddle up in a dead animal… humans are so weird. Faux fur looks and feels just as real plus it is usually much cheaper.

Visit these websites for more

information:

HarpSeals.org A charitable organization that seeks a permanent end to the massacres of harp seals in Canada. They promote the boycott of Canadian seafood to pressure sealers to call an end to the killing. I got most of my information from their website and I did not cover nearly as much information as I had hoped so to view the things I missed, click here.

PETA: Canada’s ShameI know what you’re thinking, and I agree with you: PETA is a crazy organization. Personally, I absolutely love them for their crazy protests and over-the-top posters and signs; they really are making a huge contribution to animal rights when they do these sort of things. Even when people talk badly about them, the organization is still getting more recognition because people bother to speak out about them, whether it’s a bad opinion or a good one!

a2ce720f10697e9c41d1d29569c688b2

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)The IFAW was created in 1969 to confront the cruel slaughter of harp and hooded seals. Today, the IFAW is the world’s leading international animal welfare organization, and is also one of the largest animal welfare organizations in Canada! They also help improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the world. This is a great organization & I highly recommend visiting their site as well!

The Humane Society: International This organization is one of the only animal protection organization that is internationally helping to protect all animals. This includes animals in laboratories, farm animals, wildlife (seals), and even companion animals. A large branch of this organization is the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States). Both try to inform the world about the seal slaughter in Canada. In fact, this is where I first learned about the whole thing. If it were not for the HSI or the HSUS, this post would not be here today.