VIDEO: Seal Hunt Watch 2011 - Cruelty at Every Turn

A Canadian sealer dragging a harp seal across the frozen waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. The International Fund for Animal Welfare seal hunt observation team was downed by bad weather again today, so we used the time to go through yesterday’s footage on a large screen, noting all of the horrific details.

We knew that yesterday we’d seen some pretty awful stuff, but from 1000 ft in the air and looking through a 4x6” monitor, it’s (almost mercifully) difficult to see the details. In full blown, high-definition, the cruelty of Canada’s commercial seal hunt is much, much worse.

Our first shot of the day was captured when we were still several miles away. As the first boat we came into view, we could distinguish the figure of a man with a hakapik on the ice – active seal hunting – so we headed there as fast as we could.

Two of sealers from the vessel Noah Matheson were out on the ice goofing around. One appeared to be posing with a ragged jacket seal pup while the other took a photo, they then switched positions.  And after having their fun, they picked up the pup by the hind flippers, swung it back and forth a few times and threw it roughly onto the ice. As the hapless pup scrambled away, I wondered what sort of a person would do such a thing? Suddenly the sealers took off on a run chasing after a nearby adult seal.  They slipped on the ice and swung at it wildly with their hakapik as it escaped into the slush. Now I was really wondering: what kind of person would possibly try to club a 600 lb, adult harp seal with a hakapik? Not only illegal but incredibly dangerous and, quite frankly, stupid.

The images we captured continued with the same unfortunate themes: boats crushing seal pups in the ice, gaffing seals without checking for unconciousness, even when it was completely possible to do so. Seals shot at but still alive, clenching and writhing in pain on the ice. Piles of carcasses discarded on the ice – completely contradicting the Canadian government’s claims that this is a “full-utilization” hunt. Seals injured but “struck and lost” as the boat’s movements pushed them into the slushy ice. Sealers swinging wildly with their hakapiks at the side of a pup’s face rather than directly on the cranium. Seals were shot, clubbed, sliced, and skinned, but rarely was the “three-step process” of stunning, checking for unconsciousness, and bleeding out to ensure death being conducted.

On day one our team captured footage of a seal pup, slit down the belly, waving and clenching its front flipper as other bodies were piled on top of it in the bottom or a skiff.

We thought nothing could be worse. We were wrong.

In reviewing our footage, we watched the sealing vessel Makin Waves bear down on two pups, one that had been shot, the other that was still very much alive and looking around. We expected the pups to be crushed under the hull. Then we watched in horror as one of the men on the boat reached down and jabbed the live pup with his long handled gaff. The frightened pup whirled and snapped at the gaff, trying to bite at it in self defense. But she didn’t stand a chance. With another swing, the sealer slammed the steel hook into the little pup’s face, and lifted her up into the boat.  There was absolutely no question as to what we were seeing: here was a live, conscious, seal pup being brutally hooked through her eye socket and lifted into a boat.

Of course this is not legal – but with no enforcement presence in the area, had we not captured this with our camera who would ever know? And if sealers were comfortable hooking live animals when they were aware of our presence, what were they doing when they weren’t being watched?

Documenting the atrocities of Canada’s commercial seal hunt is a difficult and, admittedly, an expensive undertaking. But if IFAW were not here to bear witness to the deaths of these pups, no one would know the truth.  But thanks to our supporters, we are able to gather the indisputable evidence that this slaughter is cruel, unnecessary, and wasteful. IFAW will continue to use this evidence to close markets for seal products around the world, and to work with political leaders in Canada until the commercial seal hunt is ended for good.

-- SF

Take action to help the International Fund for Animal Welfare stop this senseless slaughter at http://www.ifaw.org/seals

Comments: 28

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

[...] google_color_link = "0000FF"; google_color_text = "999999"; google_color_url = "191919"; Shaft Seal [...]

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Dear GOD!!! How can this be allowed to go on!!! I've never seen such heartless acts!!! These men that do this have no soul. And the people who allow it don't either. Why can't this be stopped for good!!! I sign petitions, donate, right letters and still this goes on!!!! THIS HAS TO STOP!!!! What else can we do!!!!

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

"We are very much animalistic in our own savagery". I WISH we acted like animals. They leave each other alone, except when threatened or hungry. They don't kill each other to wear the furs. Or for fun. Or to make money. They don't kill each other for religious reasons. Or for policital reasons. No. But for being hunted by morons with an eco-IQ of zero, I wish we were animals. They are much more civilized that we human beings.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

To enforce the laws that call for a better way to cull the extra baby seals has been promised for years.They are just young pups who have not yet caught on to the evil ways that man hunts them down.But look at a worn torn country and see women and children,raped,abused and then killed in horrible fashion.We are very much animalistic in our own savagery.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Linda, please don't lose hope. Write letters and make calls to political candidates in this election, call Prime Minister Stephen Harper, talk about this issue and share your viewpoint with everyone you know. These actions build momentum against this cruel industry, and they do make a difference. -Michelle for IFAW

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

[...] thanks to IFAW for permission to republish this post, which appeared on their Web site on April 14, 2011. Advocates for Animals, Animals as Commodities, Hunting, Fishing, and [...]

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

Yes, I too cannot believe these acts. It's funny we call them inhumane. Sadly they are all too human, as there is no other animal on this planet that is so cruel on such a massive scale. This is one example. Bear bile farming. Factory farming. The fur industry. On and on.

 
Anonymous
3 years ago

I can't watch these videos. Isn't there something else we can do? I've signed all the petitions that I'm aware of and advised my friends and family to do the same, but still this despicable act continues to go on. I'm embarrassed to be among the human race when I see such unspeakable cruelty.

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