Bad news for grey seals as slaughter goes ahead, despite lack of markets.
This post was filed earlier today by the International Fund for Animal Welfare's Senior Research Scientist Sheryl Fink.
Dashing earlier reports that the fates of the Hay Island grey seal pups might be spared, the slaughter went ahead this week with 200 seals reportedly killed so far. Observers from the Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition were unable to observe the "harvest", which is conducted by smashing the skulls of defenseless baby seals with wooden bats.
Yesterday "NuTan" furs in Catalina, NF, was identified as the buyer of the pelts, which were described as "samples". "Samples" of course, because there are no markets for seal fur.
Today it was reported that, in fact, The Fur Institute of Canada (FIC) - which receives federal government funding from DFO - was responsible for bailing out the slaughter by lining up NuTan furs as the buyer. It is surely no coincidence that Dion Dakins, sales director of NuTan furs, is also a Vice-Chairman on the Board of Directors of the Fur Institute of Canada.
In the same artcle the FIC claims the grey seals were killed for "research" by Dr Pierre Yves Daoust, who - surprise, surprise - is also a Director of the Fur Institute of Canada. What type of "research" is being conducted is not clear. Dr. Daoust is also a member of the "Independent Veterinarians' Working Group" often promoted by DFO. So much for independence!
The collusion among the DFO, the Fur Institute of Canada, certain so-called "independent" veterinarians and the seal processing industry is not news. But at the end of the day, it is the Canadian taxpayer who ends up funding them all.
And while the deaths of these pups - whether it be for "samples" or "research" disgusts us, we still have hope.
There is a distinct air of demise around the seal hunt this year. The market outlook for the sealing industry this year is not good. Buyers have lost "millions" in unsold pelts, with one processor saying they have at least 50,000 pelts in inventory, and warning that pelt prices will be down again this year.
Do sealers themselves see that the end of this hunt is inevitable?
Perhaps. At a "Sealing Information Workshop" held in St. Anthony, NF last week, organizers brought in the big guns: representatives from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Canadian Sealers’ Association, the Independent Veterinarians Working Group (IVWG), the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union, the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Canadian Coast Guard, and representatives of all four of the province’s seal product processing companies.
According to media reports, only 19 sealers bothered to show up.
Sealing is an economically risky activity at the best of times. Now that there is little-to no money to be made from it, it is ridiculous for the Canadian government to continue promoting and funding the commercial slaughter of seals rather than encouraging and investing in alternative employment opportunities.