Moral Low Ground

Our Earth

Climate Change is Killing Seals– and Canada’s Barbaric Sealing Industry

Less ice on Canada’s eastern seaboard means fewer harp seals. Fewer harp seals means less business for the barbaric sealing industry. Still, despite the writing on the wall, the Canadian government continues to bring great shame on the nation by supporting the wholesale slaughter of defenseless seals.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) reports that there’s been no sealing activity since the opening of this year’s commercial seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. IFAW found almost no ice in the Gulf, and as a result, very few seals. IFAW and Environment Canada report below-normal ice coverage for the past 17 years, with the last two years being among the worst ever recorded. You won’t find many climate change skeptics up on the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“In 2002 IFAW sounded the alarm bell that climate change could have a serious impact on harp seals. Now, we are seeing these devastating effects and there are virtually no seal pups to be found. For the second year in a row, record-low ice coverage means that harp seal pups are being found on land, which is highly unusual,” said Sheryl Fink, director of the IFAW seal program. “Many of these pups have been abandoned by their mothers prematurely, they are exposed to predation and disturbance, and few can be expected to live.”

IFAW points out that instead of adjusting the annual seal quota downwards to reflect the new reality of diminishing population, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans actually announced an increase in the harp seal quota, from 330,000 to 400,000 animals. Sheryl Fink calls this a “pathetic and transparent attempt to win the votes of fishermen.” “Once again the Conservative Party is ignoring science, ignoring the obvious effects of climate change on our environment, and ignoring the economic reality that markets for seal products are disappearing,” she said. Sounds familiar.

IFAW says that despite Canadian government’s claims that there is a market for seal products, many processors are no longer buying seal pelts and the livelihood of many sealers is in danger. The Conservative government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has defied economic reality and  world opinion by publicly backing the annual seal slaughter. So proud is the Canadian government of this barbarism that it even went so far as to serve seal meat in the Parliamentary restaurant in Ottawa last year; a big middle finger to the European Union, which now bans the import of seal products.



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  1. FranziskaApril 3, 2011 at 1:27 pmReply

    Makes my stomach turn. And this one is also bad. Have you heared about it? crazy….

  2. John SmithApril 4, 2011 at 11:23 amReply

    Umm, they are freaking seals!! They flop around on cold ice and snow and swim in fridgid water their whole lives. Getting beaten to death is probably the most exciting thing that happens to them. Actually, the beating is so last century, they could be a little more humane and just shoot them.

    • Brett WilkinsApril 4, 2011 at 11:39 amReplyAuthor

      Do you not believe that a seal has the same right to live unmolested as you or I? Especially since it is not being killed for its meat or anything essential to human survival, but merely for its pelt so some rich bitch can show off the dead animal on her back?

  3. John SmithApril 4, 2011 at 11:46 amReply

    Same right to live…not really. I do believe they should be humanly killed though. Torturing animals is sick and twisted. Killing them humanly to wear them is okay with me. Do you wear a leather belt or leather shoes? Also, think about the bear skin rug, the warm fireplace, the inhibition reducing beverage, and some beatiful 20-something down for an evening of cuddling. All of this not remotely as fun without the bear skin rug.

  4. rinkiApril 11, 2011 at 1:01 pmReply

    Insane and Inhumane. This is the 21st century and people are still showing such terrible signs of barbarism. This kind of barbarism cannot be expected from an race that was meant to evolve by now. This must stop at all costs.!!

    • Brett WilkinsApril 11, 2011 at 1:32 pmReplyAuthor

      On a long enough timeline, human beings are but a blink of nature’s eye. Evolve? Hardly. Extinction is a more likely outcome.

  5. LApril 13, 2011 at 7:50 amReply

    Dear John Smith, yes they are “freaking seals”, but they also have the right to be treated with kindness. Yes, even you have the right to be treated with kindness (sarcastic). What is going on right now, is the sealers are breaking every law. They are not checking to see if the seals are dead. They are just throwing them on top of each other in the boats while they are still alive. They are also just killing some and leaving them on the ice. You justify this? Just so some ugly, unattractive people can wear fur coats.

    • Rhys ToogoodSeptember 29, 2011 at 6:43 pmReply

      If you know any of this as true then report it to the DFO. Fortunately it is propaganda generated by animal rights, unfortunately you believe it. The ugly truth is that there is not a pretty way to kill an animal, but seals are killed more humanely than animals in a slaughter house.

  6. Rhys ToogoodJuly 21, 2011 at 5:46 amReply

    The IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network – a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by more than 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world.

    IFAW well may be once well intentioned is now a group that live as parasites off the animal loving public, gaining donations by discloseing shock images, most of their income is spent on directors fees and other administrative costs.

    IFAW applied to join the IUCN but was rejected by thirty votes to one or there abouts.

    This is what the IUCN say about Harp Seals and Global Warming:

    Due to its large population size, and increasing trends, the Harp Seal should continue to be classified as Least Concern. However, climate change poses a serious threat to this species and Harp Seals should be reassessed within a decade.

    Not worth a scare story yet!

    There is nothing wrong with eating Seal Meat, why waste it when thousands starve. There is nothing wrong with wearing seal fur, its the same as leather a dead animal skin.

    Barbaric, well never a pretty way to kill an animal, but using data from Independent fishery observers who sail on the Sealers boats. Canadian Fisheroies are confident that 98.5% are killed out right with the first shot to the head, good compared to a slaughter house. Meanwhile IFAW pose celebritires like Paul McCarthy alongside a White Seal Pup (not hunted incedently). The White fur means it is still wheening, leaving human scent on it will likely mean it will be rejected by its mother and starve. Who cvares its a good photo will keep those contributions rolling in.

    • Brett WilkinsJuly 21, 2011 at 9:52 amReplyAuthor

      I feel sorry for you that you would consider a seal’s life any less valuable or worthy of preservation than your own, or your family’s. Perhaps we should hunt your mother– kill her humanely, of course– and make a leather coat from her skin?

  7. Rhys ToogoodSeptember 29, 2011 at 6:36 pmReply

    Hi Bret,

    I certainly do consider an animals life of less worth than a humans. In a disaster I would rescue people first, then animals. I feel sorry for you if you would do otherwise.

    • Brett WilkinsSeptember 29, 2011 at 7:13 pmReplyAuthor

      And I feel sorry for your anachronistic thinking. All life is connected and equal. Humans do not realize this, therefore they are doomed to be the victims of their own arrogance. It is not too late to change, however, and the more enlightened individuals among us (myself not quite included since I do enjoy a steak now and again even though I realize it is barbaric of me to do so) are devoting their lives to making us ignorant humans aware of what we’re doing to this earth and its inhabitants of all species.

      • Rhys ToogoodSeptember 29, 2011 at 7:59 pmReply

        Hi I am sorry for your anti Christian thinking.

        Genesis, states “be fruitful, and
        multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth”.

        So for a Christian believes that man has dominion over the animals, he is there steward.

        In the middle ages it was not unusual for animals to be put on trial, a pig for murder, sheep for trespass etc.

        In modern times, it is considered in most criminal justice systems that non-human creatures lack moral judgement and so cannot be held culpable for an act.

        It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.

        Quote from John Stuart Mill.

        Please enjoy your steak, just pretend it came from a supermarket with a price tag on it, that’s what most people do.

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