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- The International Fund for Animal Welfare IFAW announced Wednesday during a press conference that 2004's hunt for seals may bring in record numbers. Not since the 1950's have so many seals been stalked and slaughtered in Canada.
Despite IFAW's tireless campaign against what is now considered the largest commercial event in over 50 years, Canada has given permission to move forward. This year's seal hunt is expecting at least 350,000, which makes it the highest quota in Canada's history. The hunt has killed an estimated 140,000 Harp seals since its start on Monday. The season is due to end on 15 May 2004.
"We did take female Hoods and leave the pups on the ice. I was on deck when a pup fell out of a female Hood seals and I pelted the seal along with two other crewmembers. I can't recall who they were. The pup was alive when it fell out. I killed the pup and threw it over the side." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, July 6/98, 3:51 pm
"I have observed the Canadian seal hunt each year for the past five years," said Rebecca Aldworth, IFAW's seal team leader. "This year we saw terrible cruelty, and almost no government monitoring of the hunt. Just meters away from us, conscious seal pups were sliced open. They were dragged across the ice with boathooks. Injured seals were left to die in stockpiles of carcasses."
Baby seals have a fluffy, pure white coat. Their coat enables them to camouflage well amongst the snow. Unfortunately, soon after their 12th day of existence, their coat quickly moults away. This leaves them vulnerable to attack by hunters. According to IFAW, 95 percent of the seals slaughtered are three months old or younger.
"This is a cull designed to reduce the harp seal population," said Dr. David Lavigne, one of the world's experts on harp seals. "There is no scientific evidence to suggest harp seals are impeding the recovery of cod."
One of the results of the commercial seal hunt is "highgrading." This seal was killed solely for its penis, its body was left on the ice to rot. Photo © IFAW.
IFAW has created a petition called the Million Signatures for a Million Seals Petition for those against this cruel hunting practice.
An additional estimated 260,000 harp seal pups may be hunted over the next four weeks.
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