By Paul Graham, Las
“If have a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty
and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
- James Herriot
If I were a seal, I would be a fun-loving, playful, loyal, gentle and intelligent mammal that lives in bodies of waters around the world. While we can be found living in cold, saltwater environments, we can also be found in oceans around the world and some of our species can live in freshwater locations. We have many different ways of communicating with one another and we like to be very social. If we are able to live apart from human and animal predators, we can live up from 25-30 years or longer. Sadly, so many of us are not given that chance.
If I were a seal, and I lived near Canada, I might be lucky to survive past my first year. The Canadian government allows the largest slaughter of marine mammals on earth every year, and it also the most brutal. They have established yearly quotas as far as how many seals, mostly harp seals, can be killed. Some years it has been as high as 300,000 plus but other years it has been less than 100,000. They want our babies. 97% of the seals killed in the past five years have been babies less than three months. The majority have been less than one month old.
Many of our babies are skinned alive.
If I were a seal, I could be a part of this thing that they call a “hunt.” There is no real hunt involved. The fisherman walk up to the babies and can either shoot them or club them to death in the heads to save their pelts. Places like Norway will only allow us to be shot but they can drive a spike into our skulls to make sure that we are dead. In other places, like Canada, they use something called a hakapik. It is a heavy wooden club with a hammer head on the end that they use to bash the skulls. It also has a big hook on the end as well. They often make an incision from the jaw to the sternum and let us bleed out before dragging us away or skinning us before they do. They want our skins but they can use other parts of us as well. Anything that they can get money from in return.
If I were a seal, I could also be captured and brought to a marine park or zoo. We are held captive in a very unnatural environment that could never duplicate the conditions that I would live in. They would teach us to perform tricks at some of these shows, but they are not things we would naturally do. They like to study us and sometimes even perform experiments on us. If they really wanted to know how we live they should just study us in our natural habitats and not be brought into captivity. It would be far better to take our chances in the wild.
If I were a seal, I would be made a commodity for mostly vanity and luxury items that are not necessary. That makes our killing, and the killing of our babies, just senseless. The good news is that many people are coming to our rescue and making people and governments aware of our plight. Many countries now ban the imports of our fur, including the European Union, Mexico, Taiwan, The United States and even Russia, which had been importing 95% of Canada’s seal fur. We need people to help now to end the yearly seal slaughter in Canada once and for all. Clubbing baby seals to death is not evidence of an evolved or conscious society and we need to put an end to it.
If I were a seal I would love to be able to swim freely and watch my young grow and live to do the same, but we need the hands of people to stop the hands of the other people who take this right to live away from us.
Paul Graham was born and raised in Northern California and has lived in Las Vegas since 2004. He is a top wedding officiate, a green Realtor and writer. He has a daily vegan food blog, Eating Vegan in Vegas which is 365 days and 365 vegan meals in Las Vegas.
Paul’s e-book, Eating Vegan in Vegas: If It Can Happen Here, It Can Happen Anywhere is now available at www.sullivanstpress.com.
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