Commercial Seal Clubbing: Why It Needs to Stop

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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.

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* 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!

 

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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!

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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.

Animal Testing for Cosmetics, Toiletries, and Household Cleaners (My View)

 

Animal testing is a very controversial topic in society today. While many people say we need it to make sure our products safe, the truth is that most of the ingredients used today are already shown to be safe/not safe. Do we really need to cause these animals to suffer for the purpose of human beauty products? You be the judge.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my teacher wanted us to choose a controversial topic to write a persuasive essay about. I knew I wanted to pick a topic having to do with animals, but I struggled for a few days to find a good one. At first, I thought about writing it on the benefits of being a vegetarian, but since I was not yet a vegetarian (I did become one very soon after) I couldn’t input my experience. Then it came to me- Animal testing. The topic was perfect for me. I cared enough to not procrastinate and I ended up handing in all the rough drafts on time. This paper ended up changing my life and my goals for the future. It opened up my eyes to the abuse that lab animals endure to make sure our windows look shinier or that our hair is just a little bit less frizzy. Some of these animals suffer and/or die to make sure our teeth are whiter than usual. I ended up throwing out most of my cosmetics because I had no idea certain companies tested on animals! I also persuaded some of my close friends and family to do the same by informing them of what I learned.

Since people do not want to risk killing a human being, they decide testing on an animal for the sake of human kind is a better idea (for humans). Now, I can’t really tell you my opinion on animal testing until I give you the facts about it first. Ninety-four percent of animal testing is used to determine the safety of cosmetics and household products. This leaves only 6% for medical research. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require animal testing for cosmetics. Yet, most popular brands of eye shadows, eyeliners, and mascaras are still being tested on rabbits, mice, and even dogs! It’s true! When people think of cosmetic testing done on animals, they usually think that lipstick is just smeared on the animals lips or something like that. But that’s not what they do at all! There are many different ways they test makeup on animals. In Defense of Animals tells us:

“Product testing is commonly performed on animals to measure the levels of skin irritancy, eye tissue damage, and toxicity caused by various substances used in the manufacture of cosmetics. In the Draize test, caustic substances are placed in the eyes of conscious rabbits to evaluate damage to sensitive eye tissues. This is extremely painful for the rabbits, who often scream when the substances are applied and sometimes break their necks or backs trying to escape the restraints.”

Every time I see a CoverGirl or a Maybelline commercial, it makes me want to scream at the TV. Why? Because I know they test on animals! AND THEY DON’T EVEN NEED TO! In fact, most makeup ads that you see on the TV are companies that test their ingredients on animals before they sell the final product to you.

THESE POPULAR PRODUCTS ARE TESTED ON ANIMALS: Maybelline, CoverGirl, L’Oreal, Pantene, Dove, Windex (Yes, they do test this on the eyes of animals), OxiClean, Aussie Products (Shampoo & Conditioners), Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Old Spice, ect. To get a full list of products, click here. Now, the major companies that I DESPISE WITH A BURNING PASSION are:

  • Proctor & Gamble (Crest, CoverGirl, Downy, Tide, Bounce, Mr.Clean, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Febreze, IAMS pet food, Scope, Old Spice) People, words can not express my utter HATRED towards this company. I have so much hate, that it makes me sick to my stomach. If an award were given out for Company-that-Inflicts-Pain-On-Animals, it would go to Proctor & Gamble. If you look on their website, they state that they do not test their products on animals unless they absolutely need to. But if that were the case, then why wouldn’t they say “This product was not tested on animals” on ANY of their products?! Wouldn’t they advertise it if it were true? All of the other cruelty free companies say it directly on the product. If P&G truely cut out all animal testing, it would say so on the brand name items. I’m not buying their bullshit. You shouldn’t either. To learn all about how P&G carries out testing done on animals, click here.
Testing some products on this poor innocent bunny.

This is the life of an animal whose sole purpose is to make sure we look nice
  • Johnson & Johnson (is the maker of Acuvue, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Listerine, Lubriderm, Neutrogena, Rembrandt, ROC)
  • Unilever (Axe, Comfort, Dove, Lever Bros., Lux, Ponds, Suave, Sunlight, Sunsilk, Surf, Vaseline)
  • Dial Co. (Dial, Purex, Right Guard, Soft & Dri, Soft Scrub)
  • Clorox (Armor All, Ever Clean, Formula 409, Fresh Step, Glad, Green Works, Pine-Sol, Scoop Away, Tilex)

The other day, I was looking at this list (where I got all of this information about companies) and I got so angry when I saw Green Works was on the list of products tested on animals. The reason for this is because it states on the back that the product was not tested on animals. I had been using this product to clean my windows and mirrors. So of course, as an animal activist, I got extremely mad. So mad, I wrote an angry letter an email I found on Green Works’ website. This is what it said:

“Hi. My name is Alyssa. I use Green Works, but do you want to know the only reason why I use it? I use it because it clearly states on the back of the bottle “not tested on animals”. Well, today I was looking at the list of companies that DO test on animals, and guess what company was on there? GIVE UP!? YEAH, GREEN WORKS WAS ON THERE! And you know what Mary Seltzer? I’m kind of pissed off. Unless of course, they made a mistake and put Green Works on there. Which I don’t think happens too often. Look, I do like your product. But I really need to know if this product is tested on animals or not (which it shouldn’t test if you say this product is a “green product”, seeing if it were actually “green” no chemicals would be used and you wouldn’t need to test on cute little animals). I want an honest answer, no bullshit. If you don’t reply to this email, I’ll take it as a “Yes, we do test this product on animals.” And I’ll add Green Works to my new blog to alert others that your company hurts animals for making windows a little bit cleaner. PLEASE RESPOND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! I need to know. “

I gave them a week or so to write back to me. They never did. Therefore, I am letting you know not to use Green Works. If you need to clean your windows or mirrors, get products from Seventh Generation. Because they are awesome.

  • Reckitt Benckiser (Air Wick, Easy-Off, Finish, Lysol, Mop & Glo, Old English, Resolve, Rid-X, Spray ‘N Wash, Veet, Woolite)
  • L’Oreal (L’Oreal, Maybelline, Garnier, ect)

I used to use a lot of Maybelline makeup. That was before I learned that they tortured cute animals to make my eyes look pretty. When I did discover this, I immediately switched to Origins eyeliner. Both  eyeliners work great, the only difference is the cost and that one kills animals. Origins is a rather expensive store, but I know that Hard Candy and Revlon have inexpensive makeup that doesn’t test on animals & it works just as good.

  • S.C. Johnson (Drano, Fantastik, Glade, Nature’s Source, Pledge, Oust, Scrubbing Bubbles, Shout, Skintimate, Windex)
  • AND MANY MORE!

People who support animal testing say “It’s better than testing it on our own children” or “We need to make sure that the ingredients in a product are safe before using it or letting our children use it.”  Animals and humans are not the same. Just because something worked on a mouse doesn’t mean it’ll work on Timmy over there. Sure, animal testing has proved successful for certain things. But science is improving and alternatives to animal testing are becoming more well known.

Does this look right to you?

Animal testing really doesn’t need to continue. This is proven by the many companies that have sworn off of them from the start! They care for animals and have refused to test their products on them.  To name a few:

Burt’s Bees, Bath and Body Works, Dermalogica, Greenwood Naturals, Hard Candy, Mary Kay, Nature Clean, Pangea Organics, Seventh Generation, The Body Shop, Urban Decay (found in Sephora) Revlon, Origins, Tom’s of Maine (all organic toothpaste/soap company), Avon, Paul Mitchell, and many more.

** This is a VERY small amount of companies listed here. There are actually a lot more than just this. Click “many more” to get a full list of companies. I only named the larger companies. **

Make sure you read the labels on your makeup to see if they test or not. The one way to be 100% sure your makeup isn’t tested it to look for the Leaping Bunny symbol.

    Look for this symbol!

A lot of companies that have tested on animals in the past are coming out with products that claim they are not tested on animals. A good example of this is L’Oreal Paris EverPure line of hair care products. They CLAIM it’s sulfate-free shampoo and that they didn’t test it on animals. I have mixed views about this subject. Of course, I think you should support their decision to go vegan with their products. Maybe if a large amount of people buy the EverPure products, then this will convince the company to change the way the company test their products. However, there are many different ways companies such as L’Oreal could invest the money they make from this vegan line. Who’s to say they won’t invest in more animals to test on? This thought stops me from buying anything from a company who hasn’t phased out animal testing all together. I suggest you buy from a company that has never tested on animals before. Just to be safe.

Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) is a non-profit organization that is looking for new ways to replace animals with non-animal methods, to cut down the number of animals being used, or to refine methods and make them less painful and stressful for the animals involved. I think this is great, but I hope they invest most of their efforts in finding non-animal methods.

Lots of places have fazed out animal testing all together. Cosmetic testing on animals is banned in Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K.. Europe. Sadly, animal testing still continues in the United States of America. I hope that in the future, people will become more informed of the companies that do test on animals and stop using them until they show some compassion and quit using animals in labs all together.

How to become a Compassionate Consumer:

    1.) Look at the back of your cosmetics and/or household cleaners. If you see any of the company names I talked about that test on animals OR if it doesn’t say anything about being cruelty-free, throw it out. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to put things to waste, give it to someone. Just make sure you let them know why you’re not using it anymore.

    2.) Research cruelty free products. A lot of the cosmetics that are organic and vegan can be very expensive. But you just have to keep looking! There are some cheap vegan products out there, I promise!

    3.) Pledge to be cruelty free.

    4.) Buy the products. Then try them out. Let me know how they work for you! If you really like them, tell your friends to stop using products tested on animals and try the cruelty-free products. If everyone would do this, maybe one day, we’ll stop animal testing all together. Now that’s a nice thought!