Friday, March 11, 2011

☆ What's Going On: Canada's Annual Seal Hunt ☆

Every spring, Seals will migrate from Greenland down the coast of Canada, stopping to give birth on the ice floes to their beautiful baby pups. Sadly, every year, this joyous occasion is also met with the controversial and sickening hunt along the waters and ice floors of Atlantic Canada where a bloodbath becomes their fate. This truly is Canada's Shame; this is Canada's Annual Seal Hunt. 

It is the one time of year when I feel horrible being a part of a country that continues to do this year after year. Not that the event goes unchallenged. There is much debate on the topic, with even the smallest details going unchallenged. It is a touchy topic no matter which side you are on, one in which even the language and terms used to describe it become a debate. Such as "Hunt" or "Slaughter." My choice of words is slaughter. Why? Because no matter what way you look at it, we are killing thousands upon thousands of innocent creatures. It is said that this hunt is "necessary" for certain areas of the islands, important for people's livelihoods, and for the economy. Again, I say no matter what way you look at it, we are taking advantage of innocent creatures because we believe it "benefits" us which is a heated debate in itself. From everything I have researched there is no solid conclusion. The economic benefits are questionable when you look at how much money is poured into the "hunt" itself. The debate is generally hard to determine whether the Seals are killed humanely or not as well. At the end of the day I feel that we are taking advantage of yet another creature of our precious unappreciated world. 

The Hunted... 

The federal killing quotas change from year to year but this annual massacre will usually take the lives of 200, 000 to 325,000 seals every season. Amongst these numbers are harp, hooded seals, and grey seals. While Whitecoats (newborn harp seals) are no longer legally allowed to be hunted (as of 1987) these pups will lose their "whitecoats" at about 12-14 days of age, and after that, they are fair-game for hunters. Most of the seals slaughtered are under the age of three months. 

The seals are slaughtered by a club and are then skinned and sometimes dragged across the ice with hooks. There are claims that some of the creatures are still alive during this, including being skinned alive. The debate has been on-going on both sides whether this is the case or not.

"the DFO says the club, or hakapik, used by many sealers is "an efficient tool" that kills "quickly and humanely." The Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing in Canada found that clubbing, when properly performed, is at least as humane as killing methods in commercial slaughterhouses. Opponents say clubbing often isn't "properly performed.""

Did anyone else catch the comparison to "commercial slaughterhouses"? Now, if you don't already know how horribly inhumane those commercial slaughterhouses are, perhaps take another gander. And then there is the skepticism on whether it is properly performed and whether or not the seals are indeed still alive when they are skinned. If there is one thing I have noticed a pattern of in any events of disregard to animal welfare is that...well, there is a disregard to animal welfare, so how are we supposed to believe that any of the slaughtering is humane at all? 

The federal government also acknowledges that it has laid more than 200 charges against sealers since 1996. Not a very reassuring thought. 
Regardless, there are still 100,000s of young seals slaughtered every year. 

So Why does this "hunt" happen?

It is said to be a beneficial economic money-making business for Canada. "The federal government says the landed value of seals exceeded $16.5 million in 2005, providing a "significant" source of income for thousands of sealers." 
So it creates jobs for those who need them and money, of course, for Canada as we export millions of dollars worth of seal products to the European union, to Japan, South Korea, and China. 

Still, seal amounts to only a fraction of the $600-million Newfoundland fishery. But for some sealers, it represents up to one-third of their annual income. The DFO and Newfoundland and Labrador estimate that around 5,000 to 6,000 people derive some income from sealing, about one per cent of the provincial population.

But even with this, once the total costs are tallied it is said that Canadians would "likely find that the hunt actually costs the Canadian taxpayer money." On top of that, the main money-maker of this horrifying slaughter is in the seal's fur, an unnecessary industry that is non-essential to any part of human life. I don't know about you but I do not like that my tax-dollars are going towards this hunt. 

There is a very small part of the debate that says the hunt is necessary due to Canada's oceans being overfished, therefor if the seals are not hunted they will starve regardless. However I reaaaally had to dig to find reports of this information with the general fact out there being this; the seals are hunted for their Fur.   

The bottom line is this; Canada's Seal Hunt is killing innocent creatures for money. The hunt is not going unchallenged, but even so, Canada refuses to end it.  

"The price of seal fur is plummeting as international outrage against the seal slaughter rises. The U.S. and the European Union have banned seal products, and world leaders such as President Barack Obama and His Holiness The Dalai Lama have denounced the massacre." 

Your voices count and it is time for this horrifying and inhumane slaughter to end. Seals have a right to live, Earth is their world too, and it is time we speak up for them! 

These websites are some great places to start, with petitions to sign and more information on how to add pressure to Canada so that they finally ban this annual massacre: 


Boycott Canadian Seafood. 
This boycott adds pressure to the fishing industry and will encourage all Canadian fishing companies to demand an end to the seal hunt. Canada is already facing a problem of overfishing the waters, creating problems that the ocean's ecosystem is not being given a chance to recover from--after decades of industrial-scale fishing that is jeopardizing the future of seals and all other marine mammals that depend on fish for their survival. 

The US is already onboard with this boycott which has been a huge victory. But more pressure is still needed and every voice and action counts. 

Check out this page with various automated letters to send companies that can have a big say on ending the Seal hunt:

Sign Petitions and make your voice heard! 

Also, please write to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Canadian ambassadors around the world to demand that they bring the massacre to an end.

The annual seal slaughter will continue unless caring people like you speak up and take action to stop it. The voice of each one of us counts, so please add your voice to this global outcry against Canada's shameful seal massacre and spread the word to those you know. Help save these beautiful and wonderful creatures from this annual bloodbath.

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  1. Thanks for clearing up some things, and doing all this research! It makes me feel ill, I hope that it will be ended soon :(

  2. me too!! :(
    The whole debate is really just silly, as with most things in the world money money money.

  3. Heartbreaking. :(


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