IFAW Huntwatch Update: Saturday 28 March

Posted by Sheryl Fink, IFAW Senior Researcher
 
The Huntwatch team first flew to Sydney, Nova Scotia where we had been told a couple of boats might head out to the hunt. But the sealers there could not get out due to the ice conditions. 
 
Then, just before noon, our spotter plane called in on the radio that they had seen a boat hunting up by the Magdalen Islands. This was highly unexpected, since the quota for the Magdalens had been reached early on Day 3 of the commercial seal hunt.
 
We set down on the ice off the Maggies and approached the sealers. It was a beautiful sunny day on the ice, and we were in a thick concentration of harp seal pups.  The pups, now about a month old, were splashing around in pools of water, just learning how to swim. Others were lying on their backs, rolling around scratching their bellies, or curiously nibbling on chunks of ice.
 
Shortly after we landed, the Quebec Police arrived by helicopter. We politely introduced ourselves, and showed them our observation licences. We were allowed to continue with our work, but they were keeping a close eye on us, ready to press charges should we violate any of our observation licence conditions.
 
The slaughter was horrific. About 8 men were using hakapiks to smash the skulls of the baby seals, moving methodically from pan to pan and killing every pup in sight.
 
Lazy and docile from the rays of the sun, it was a simple matter for the sealers to walk right up to the unsuspecting pups. A few tried to escape, using their little claws to awkwardly pull themselves across the slippery ice. They could not move fast enough. 
 
One small pup hidden amongst the rafted up ice looked at me nervously. I tried not to look back - by doing so I would give her location away to the sealers.
 
But most of the pups just lay there in the suns rays, blissfully ignorant of the fate they were about to meet. They were so docile that the sealers would often grab a pup by the hind flippers, and pull it into a 'better' position before clubbing it.
 
Some of the sealers were whistling as they worked, and one even started singing "jingle bell rock"  -  in what I suppose was an attempt to demonstrate their indifference towards the suffering that was taking place . I will never be able to listen to that song again without recalling this horrible bloody massacre.  Even so, their antics could not disguise the awful thud of the hakapik, and the panicked growls and cries of the pups as they were killed.

 
As the sun started to set, we were forced to head home. At the end of the day, it was estimated that 1000 or so pups had been clubbed and skinned, simply so that their beautiful pelts could be made into fur coats, hats, and boots.  The ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence remains littered with the abandoned bloody carcasses of seal pups. My only wish is that this is the last year that anyone has to witness such a tragedy.

Comments: 8

 
Anonymous
4 years ago

I don't know how you do it, where you find the strength Sherly. I am thankful for your efforts and reporting on the cruelty to seals.

 
Anonymous
4 years ago

We sheep killers whistle the same tune while killing baby sheep,I thought we had a monoply on the tune...appearantly not.But at least we don't have to defend our action from IFAW/HSUSA.

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

i agree to stop the seal hunt. why is the quetion? Because it is horrable to treat creaters like this.

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

I wish it would take its end very very soon! Let us wish it with all our heart and sign the petition!

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Canada is a horrible country to allow this kind of carnage. I hope the world shuts their doors on Canada in every possible way.
Canada is the worst country in this world to kill innocent, helpless and voiceless animals.

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

I am so sad that this is continuing. After so many letters sent and the hopes with Senator Harb to try and end this disgraceful slaughter. I just want to give up but I know that this is what the sealers and the government are hoping for. I almost think they set the quota so high just to discourage us in this year when our hopes were so high. All they have done is make me more determined! Eventually this idiocy will stop. I am going to personally see my MP. It will take more pressure from the citizens of Canada along with the EU to shut the markets down. I actually wonder who is going to be buying the pelts this year???

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

I am following your progress every day, and it is simply heartbreaking. I feel so helpless, but am signing every single petition that I can find.
I applaud you all in the strength you have to find in order to witness these horrific sights.
Stay safe, stay strong and keep up the fight.
My thoughts are with the whole team during this horrible and unesessary massacre
Kerry (United Kingdom)

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

I can hardly read this, let alone see the slaughter with my own eyes. You are very brave people!! Take care!

Post a comment