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First day of the hunt (Melissa Tkachyk, WSPA) March 26, 2006 7:19 AM

First day of the hunt      
Canada's commercial seal hunt began in the Gulf of St. Lawrence at daybreak today but not without several witnesses. When the owner of the Osprey Wharf in North Sydney tried to stop my interview with CBC National News this morning, it was a clear indication that our campaign is influential. The Canadian government has it's own stories to tell about this hunt but the video footage and photographs hunt observers bring back every year tell a different one. The video footage needs no introduction, the photos need no captions - this hunt is unnecessary, wasteful and unacceptably cruel.

I accompanied the Humane Society of the United States who documented this cruel slaughter by boat, zodiacs and helicopters. At first all that could be seen were scattered blocks of ice. No seals could be seen for miles.

Then amidst the roiling sea, approximately, 20 sealing boats were spotted close to St. Paul's Island in the Cabot Strait. Sighted easily were the boats that left a trail of blood behind them as they dragged butchered seal pups away from their mothers. Increasingly more of the ice blocks that drifted underneath the helicopter were stained with blood, some with skinned carcasses, evidence that the slaughter was well underway.

Although sealers in this region of the hunt prefer to use clubs and hakapiks as they are cheaper and cause less pelt damage, rifles are this year's killing implement of choice. We watched as sealers tried to kill moving seals on small drifting ice blocks.

Unlike last year, when hunters killed thousands of seal pups on large ice pans in just a few days, this year hunters will have to spend more time searching for the few seal pups that survived the wrath of climate change.

Scientists such as Duke University's Ari Friedlaender say ice cover is declining in critical areas that seals depend on to give birth. Friedlaender suspects this year's pup mortality will be high. After covering a vast area of the Gulf and seeing so few seals, it is becoming increasingly likely many of the pups have already drowned.

The pups that managed to survive the melting ice conditions are currently under siege by hunters. Lying on a small ice block, the pups have nowhere to escape but in the water which isn't the best refuge for the many that have yet to learn how to swim. The accumulative effect of a large commercial hunt and declining ice could be detrimental to Canada's seal herds. But instead of stopping the hunt until research on the implications of climate change is conducted, Harper's government has decided to increase the allowable kill rationalizing that they will deal with the mystery of disappearing ice next year.
  Please join us to do something about it. Call your Member of Parliament today and demand their support for an immediate and permanent end to this cruel, unnecessary and wasteful hunt.
  Melissa Tkachyk
  WSPA Canada
  For more information about this year's seal hunt, visit
 [ send green star]
"Urgent." Seal hunt poll w/article March 26, 2006 7:31 AM


Halfway down the page, in one of the orange boxes:
 Please vote 'animal cruelty'
[ y o u r  v o i c e ]

What do you think about the seal hunt?
An economic and cultural necessity
49.85 %
Animal cruelty
50.15 %



Seal hunt opens on unusually thin ice
 Chris Morris and Kevin BissettCanadian Press

Saturday, March 25, 2006

CREDIT: The Canadian PressBaby seals are white, the colour of purity. They are often described as 'innocent life' -- language is not neutral in eliciting ethical responses based on intuition and emotion.
language=JavaScript1.1 src=";loc=bigbox;sz=250x250;ptile=2;kw=globaltv;kw=national;ord=46970252?"></SCRIPT>  <NOSCRIPT> </NOSCRIPT>

GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE -- It's hot and bloody work for seal hunters on the first day of Canada's East Coast seal hunt as summer-like conditions on the Gulf of St. Lawrence sent temperatures soaring under clear blue skies.

Observers on the fishing boat, the Strait Signet, said about 20 seal hunt vessels were in the Cabot Strait off northern Cape Breton on Saturday, and hunters were clubbing seals floating on small pans of ice.

By mid-morning, the temperature was already 15 degrees. Hunt protesters are complaining that the ice is fast disappearing in the mild weather and there will be a high natural seal mortality.

Seal pups cannot survive in the water until they are several weeks old.

"Boats carrying hundreds of seal hunters have converged in the waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence," said Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society of the United States, who is aboard the Strait Signet.

"Over the past few days, our protect seals team has searched the entire Gulf for the harp seal nursery, but failed to find it. The few seal pups we've seen cling to the scattered, tiny pans of ice that remain across the ocean."

Warmer-than-normal temperatures will make it more difficult this year for hunters to find and kill the 91,000 seals they are allowed to take in the Gulf hunt.

There is no ice in the southern part of the Gulf, around Prince Edward Island, so hunters and protesters alike headed north on Saturday into the Cabot Strait and the Strait of Belle Isle off Newfoundland and Labrador.

Tensions are higher than usual this year thanks to an aggressive, anti-hunt campaign launched by animal rights groups such as the humane society.

However, Roger Simon, spokesman for the federal Fisheries Department, disputed concerns about high natural seal mortality this year.

"The ice was actually fairly good for the critical period of pupping and nursing," Simon said in

 [ send green star]
Seal Poll we're losing. Pls. VOTE NOW! March 27, 2006 5:00 AM

Do you think the annual seal hunt should be:EndedAllowed to continueAllowed to continue but with a more humane method of killingAllowed to continue but with a restriction that only mature seals can be harvested Ended
 14891 votes    (25 %)Allowed to continue
 37468 votes    (63 %)Allowed to continue but with a more humane method of killing
 4049 votes    (7 %)Allowed to continue but with a restriction that only mature seals can be harvested
 3315 votes



From Anthony Marr -
We MUST win this important (CTV) seal poll - here is how.

Dear activists,

If you normally do not do e-voting, this is one that I strongly ask
you to participate in.  The soulless and recalcitrant Canadian
government is watching this one, and will likely base the amount of
carnage in the 2006 seal massacre on the voting results.

Go to, before it closes.  Currently we are losing 29% vs

Here is a general method for winning these votes.  The opponents are
using it, and we refrain at our peril, and that of the seals.  Here
it is:

If you have 50 people lined up at your computer to vote, 49 would be
out of luck, but there is a way by which all 50 can vote. 
Click "Tools", click "Internet Options", click "Delete Cookies",
click "OK", then "OK", and vote again, and again.  So, line up 50
people if they (you) have the time, better yet, a hundred.

"All is fair in love and war."  And this is WAR.  Even closer to the
heart, it is a matter of life and death for over 300,000 baby seals.


Bruce Foerster <> wrote:

We're going to need everyone's help in turning this poll around. 
Should we lose this one our adversaries will surely cite this poll
as support for the slaughter!  We turned the one yesterday around to
be vastly in our favour ( 90% ) so we can do it again!  Please vote
and support this initiative,

For the latest "Animal, wildlife and environmental" news: 

  / /
  Addison, Joseph (1672-1719) - True benevolence or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathises with the distress of every creature capable of sensation.
 [ send green star]
Canada seal hunt sparks angry confrontations March 27, 2006 5:06 AM

27/03/2006 - 08:50:49

The opening days of Canada’s East Coast seal hunt were fraught with frustration, bad tempers and violent acts on the rapidly thinning ice of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Hunt protesters with the Humane Society of the United States said they were shaken up yesterday when a sealing boat rammed their small, inflatable Zodiac boat, damaging the vessel’s propeller.

“The hunters may be frustrated and I know they don’t want us documenting their activities, but that doesn’t give them the right to risk peoples’ lives,” said Humane Society spokeswoman Rebecca Aldworth, who was on the Zodiac when it was rammed.

On Saturday, the opening day of the hunt, protesters and news reporters observing the slaughter had to dodge seal guts hurled into their Zodiac by swearing sealers.

On both days, protesters were following the sealing boats, documenting the hunt with video cameras.

Fisheries spokesman Marcel Boudreau said just over 3,000 seals were taken on Saturday, an unusually small number for opening day. He said close to 50 sealing boats were on the water.

Boudreau said most of the killing is being done with rifles because it is not safe for sealers to walk on the ice and club seals.

The ice in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence has broken up into small ice pans and chunks.

“It will be a very slow hunt this spring,” Boudreau said.

Veteran sealer Jean-Claude LaPierre, spokesman for the sealers’ association on the Iles de la Madeleine, said he was not surprised to learn that some sealers have taken action against protesters.

“We’re so frustrated by them,” he said.

The fishermen in the isolated island communities of Quebec and Newfoundland say the hunt supplements their meagre winter incomes, particularly since cod stocks have dwindled dramatically during the past decade. They resent animal-rights activists, who they say have little understanding of their centuries-old traditions.

The hunt brought $13.84m (€10m) in revenue last year, after some 325,000 seals were slaughtered. Fishermen are able to sell the pelts, mostly for the fashion industry in Norway, Russia and China, as well as blubber for oil.

The federal government maintains Canada’s seal population is healthy and abundant, with a population of nearly six million in the Arctic north and maritime provinces.

Animal rights activists claim the fishermen often skin the seals alive or leave some pups to die if they are not immediately knocked unconscious.

The Humane Society has had high-profile allies in celebrities like Paul McCartney and his wife, Heather Mills McCartney, who travelled to the Gulf of St. Lawrence two weeks ago to pose with the newborn pups.

 [ send green star]
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