IFAW Hunt Watch 2008 - Graphic Video and Accounts of the Hunt
On Monday the IFAW team continued to document Canada's commercial seal hunt off the east coast of Cape Breton. We saw four boats; two medium size boats and two small skiffs, along with the Coast Guard vessel. The boats were moving through the ice pans searching for the young pups. Although this is my seventh year documenting Canada's commercial seal hunt, one can never be completely prepared for the cruelty that we witness. We documented sealers both shooting seals from their boats and clubbing them on the ice.
I saw animals being shot from boats and injured; these young seals were not killed quickly or humanely like the Canadian government claims they are. One animal was crawling around on the ice bleeding for over a minute before the boat arrived and a sealer jumped down onto the ice pan to kill it with a club. It never ceases to amaze me that sealers see a seal crawling around on the ice suffering, yet they don't act quickly and shoot the animal again to put it out of it's misery.
IFAW documents the seal hunt for a few days a year and we can only be filming one boat at time. Yet every year we see animals being shot or clubbed and left to suffer. We see animals hooked and skinned alive, as we did yesterday. The most striking image from yesterday's footage involved a seal that was injured and then hooked in the face and dragged back to the boat. We were moving between boats and came across a sealer on the ice with what appeared to be a dead seal. He started writing in the snow with a bloody finger; the message was "F@ck Off".
As we were circling to get a better shot of his message to us, the seal that was on the ice behind him, tried to sit up! This was clearly not swimming reflex, this animal was still conscious. The sealer did not respond by taking action to quickly kill the seal as required by the Marine Mammal Regulations, instead he hooked it in the face and then proceeded to drag the animal across the ice and onto the boat, still alive. What we document out here is unacceptable and the world needs to see what only a few people have the ability to view in person. IFAW is here to document the hunt so that the world can see that this hunt is inherently cruel and is not monitored or enforced like the government claims.
Although the hunt in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence is coming to a close, IFAW will stay on another day or so to try to document as long as we can. The weather was bad today so we could not fly, but we will try again on Wednesday. We are here so that the world can see what really happens during the world's largest marine mammal hunt.