(Canada and for “sport” in Norway) – Hundreds of thousands of them are inhumanely killed each year for their skins. They are shot from the ships and may disappear wounded under the ice to die a slow death. Seals are routinely clubbed or shot and left to suffer on the ice, before being clubbed again some time thereafter. Some seals are still skinned before being rendered fully unconscious and few sealers are observed checking for a blinking reflex to confirm brain death prior to skinning an animal. As one of the veterinary reports concluded: “Canada’s commercial seal hunt results in considerable and unacceptable suffering.”
Some seals are killed with a blow to the head using a wooden club or hakapik. The sealers stun as many baby seals as they can before going back to kill them. Some seals try to get away, but they are clumsy on the ice, heaving their fat little bodies with an uncoordinated flipper shuffle. Some injured seals do manage to slip back into the water, only to probably die a slow, agonizing death. Other seals are shot from a distance and then dragged from the ice onto boats using steel hooks, often while still conscious. The hooks, I might add, pierce any handy orifice, including the mouth and eye sockets. The hard-heartedness it must take to do this to baby mammals staggers the imagination.
A mother and her now dead baby
And, astoundingly, Norway is now offering tourists a chance to shoot the baby seals as they lie on the ice. Those canned-hunt slobs should really love this one.
Who’s fighting it: HSUS, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Sea Shepherd Society, American SPCA, PETA, the Franz Weber Foundation, The Humane Society International, Respect for Animals.
Many people, even in the U.S., are still unaware that this continues today. There is little to no news coverage of the slaughter. The HSUS and other activist groups continue to monitor and document the slaughter every year, and every year are harassed and threatened by not only the seal-killers themselves, but even the Canadian government. And what really makes the whole thing even more wasteful and stupid is that it is heavily subsidized by the Canadian government; the sale of seal skins brings in so little money that it would be unprofitable if the government didn’t help out these losers. Isn’t it time they found something better to harvest?
In May 2009 the European Union voted to ban the import of all seal products into Europe, effectively reducing the seal market by almost 90%. Unfortunately the Canadians are looking to increase their Asian markets, so the fight continues.
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