The Hunt Continues off Canada's East Coast

Posted by Katie McConnell

This past week, the IFAW team returned safely from Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, Canada. We have gathered together our footage from the hunt and our experts are now working diligently to review the hours of film to expose examples of cruelty that continues in this hunt today.

With the footage we have already reviewed we have seen the cruelty associated with shooting seals - scenes of seals being shot at from far distances and seals wounded by a sealer’s shot and left struggling on the ice pan until the boat can get close enough to finish the job with a blow to the head.  We witnessed times between the wounding from the rifle and the blow from the club as long as 8 minutes. During this time the seal is left bleeding and suffering on the ice.  Not what I would call a humane death.

Proponents of the seal hunt would like the public to believe that shooting seals with rifles is a humane way of killing them. However, as our evidence from this year will show - a majority of seals that are shot at end up suffering needlessly.  They are left bleeding on ice pans or slipping back into the water only to drown.   These seals – the struck and lost - are not recorded in a sealing vessel’s catch numbers.

Unfortunately, this year’s seal hunt season is far from over. Even though the IFAW team has left Canada’s East Coast and our documentation of hunting activities has ended, it is important to know that the killing will still continue. As of April 16th, the total number of harp seals killed was 177,299.  This means that the 2007 Canadian commercial seal hunt will continue – away from the eyes of the public - for at least a few more weeks. Last year, the hunt close date was extended by a month, and the TAC was overrun by 19,000 animals resulting in the killing of over 354,000 harp seals. I wonder if this will happen again this year.

If you haven’t yet taken action – join our online community, send a letter to the Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper and tell your friends to visit our site to learn more about our campaign to make this hunt history.

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