Canada’s annual seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on earth. With hundreds of thousands of helpless baby seals killed senselessly each year for their fur, most no more than 14 days old, pristine white seal speckled shores are turned red by acts of barbaric savagery as these pups are shot, beaten and skinned.
The Canadian government would like people to believe the seal hunt is done humanely. If that’s true, then why do they try so hard to deter people from watching?
Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society stated in an editorial that, “We at Sea Shepherd merely report on what we see, and during the last week we have seen and video-taped a seal pup being skinned alive. We have seen seal pups thrashing about in agony on the ice as their blood is splattered across the floes with every convulsion of their young bodies. We have seen a seal pup trying to escape its killer with an eyeball dangling from its socket, trailing a stream of blood, searching desperately for protection or a place to run to. Unable to swim, unable to escape, unable to defend itself–this is the very definition of helplessness.”
In that same editorial, Watson also mentioned a letter he received from Gene Kelly, a sealer, that stated, “… There is no greater pleasure than clubbing a baby seal and feeling that skull collapsing and watching them trying to crawl away and then smacking the little s**ts again. It ideally should be accomplished in one blow but sometimes it takes two or even three!!”
Eh? I’m sorry Canada, but in what universe is any of this humane? Even veterinarians won’t back up that claim. According to the Humane Society, “a report by an independent team of veterinarians who studied the hunt concluded that governmental regulations regarding humane killing were neither being respected nor enforced, and that the seal hunt failed to comply with Canada’s basic animal welfare standards.”
On a brighter note, it finally looks like outrage from around the globe is bringing the sealing industry closer and closer to an end.
This week, the Internal Markets and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament voted in favor of a ban on trade in seal products in the European Union.
“A clear majority of citizens across the European Union are horrified by the cruel clubbing to death of thousands of seals every year,” said Arlene McCarthy, the committee’s chair. “They do not want these products on sale in the EU and today, the internal market committee has backed citizens’ demands for a ban.”
In order to make this a law, it will need to be backed by the EU assembly and EU governments. The European Parliament is expected to vote in April.
Meanwhile, another great hero has taken a courageous, and historic, stand for seals! Yesterday Senator Mac Harb of Canada has successfully introduced Bill S-229, a.k.a. the “Harb Seal Bill”, which would protect seals in Canadian waters and the rights of aboriginal people to hunt them, for first reading in the Canadian Senate.
Unfortunately, no one was willing to second it, which means it won’t get debated until someone else wants to back it.
Harb has proceeded undaunted. According to IFAW, he wants to fill his office “from floor to ceiling” with letters of support for the Harb Seal Bill.
“For the government of Canada to continue defending the commercial seal hunt is not the answer,” said Senator Mac Harb. “We can’t go on burying our heads in the sand and pretending everything is going to be okay. It is time to provide mechanisms to transition the few thousand individuals involved in sealing out of this declining industry and into jobs with more promising futures.”
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