Canada Seal Hunt Witness: “Without a Doubt, the Cruelest Slaughter I Have Ever Seen”
Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada, recently flew to the frigid ice floes off Canada’s east coast to document and expose the barbarism of that nation’s commercial seal slaughter. Although record low sea ice cover and an imploding seal product market, largely due to a European Union ban, have resulted in an extremely light hunt this year, Aldworth nevertheless says this year’s kill was the cruelest she’s ever seen. In a guest post on Change.org she writes:
What we saw was horrific. Baby seals, some as young as two weeks of age, were shot and wounded and bludgeoned in front of each other. One baby seal, who had been shot and then impaled on a metal hook and dragged onto a boat while still conscious, raised his head and cried out repeatedly from a pile of bloody seal carcasses onto which he’d been thrown. Countless pups were shot in the back, the neck or the jaw and suffered in agony until sealers finally arrived to club them to death.
In the thirteen years I have observed commercial sealing in Canada at close range, this was without a doubt the cruelest slaughter I have ever seen. It is devastating to know that all of this suffering happened just to produce seal fur for fashion items no one needs.
This is a cruel and pointless slaughter.
It’s not a good year to be a seal in Canada. Warming seas caused by climate change have melted the icy habitat that sustains harp seals; the Canadian government estimates that half of all seal pups born on the country’s Atlantic coast this year will die. Despite this sobering statistic, Canadian officials have given sealers permission to kill 468,000 animals this year. If those seals were people, their population would be enough to make them Canada’s 11th largest city.
Thank goodness for the European Union, which in 2009 imposed a ban on seal products. The price of seal fur plummeted after that, and these days most commercial fishermen choose not to kill seals. Aldworth says she saw “fewer sealing boats operating” than she’s ever observed. “In an area where hundreds of sealing vessels normally participate in the slaughter, we spotted only 12,” she wrote. “By the third day of the slaughter, less than 10,000 baby seals had died. Compare that to previous years when over 100,000 died on the first two days of the kill.”
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