Aboriginal seal hunts

The Canadian Government claims that Canada’s commercial seal hunt is important to Inuit, but in reality, commercial sealing and Inuit subsistence sealing are two very different activities.

For example, Inuit in the Canadian Arctic hunt fewer than 1,000 harp seals, mostly adults, during the summer months. This is far removed from Canada’s commercial hunt, which takes place months earlier and slaughters tens or hundreds of thousands of harp seals less than three months old.

So long as it is conducted on a sustainable basis, and that reasonable precautions are taken to minimize unnecessary suffering, IFAW does not oppose the killing of seals for food, clothing and other products for local use by indigenous peoples. Nor do we oppose the sale and local distribution of seal products from subsistence hunts within indigenous communities.

What we do oppose, however, is a government hiding a cruel and wasteful, large-scale industrial slaughter behind aboriginal subsistence hunting, deliberately blurring the distinction between the two.