Breaking News: 270,000 Seals About To Be Slaughtered

Seal_hunt_3_2News has just come in from Canada, where the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has announced the number of seals allowed to be killed this year during the Canadian seal hunt.

In his message, the Minister addresses the issue of minimal ice conditions, however I'm interested to hear how you feel about the Minister's position on this issue.

In recent years, the government has set the yearly TAC around 300,000 animals, a number well above the sustainable levels estimated by its own scientists. This year, despite poor ice conditions that could result in 100% natural seal pup mortality, the government is continuing to ignore the scientific evidence provided by its own scientists by setting the TAC at 270,000 animals.

“Unfortunately, the Canadian government continues to put politics ahead of science by refusing to adopt a precautionary approach when managing the seal hunt,” said IFAW Senior Researcher Sheryl Fink. “Given the lack of seals due to very high natural mortality this year, it's incredibly disappointing that the Canadian government is moving forward with the hunt – and a hunt for as many as 270,000 seals.“

We are now waiting to hear what the start date will be for the hunters to begin the annual slaughter.


Comments: 6

9 years ago

I am a Canadian and I am appalled with this slaughter of seal pups. I understand that many years ago this was the only way for the Atlantic provinces to survive. But if you think about it Many seals in the other parts of the world are now becoming extinct like the Hawaiian monk seal. There must be other ways that the government can help with the maritimes. Start new projects for them to get some type of jobs. I think that this slaughter means more money in the government's pocket. If there is too many seals relocate them to other parts of the world where there is now a lack of them. Some people to boycott any type of fishing from the Maritimes. That is so wrong, if the countries do this, that means more slaughtering of the seals so they can make some money. That doesn't solve the problem but it increases it. Rose

11 years ago

Just to pick up on your other statement about the viabilty of the seal population, as if without the hunt seals would die out through overpopulation.
We are talking about a migratory population that spans the distance between Canada and Greenland, and is supposed to number in the many millions.
To claim that without the hunt the seals would die out is patently absurd.

11 years ago

Dear Tony
You state:
' Seals are often now killed with a rifle. This is a humane means of killing the seal, well, as humane as any killing could be.'
How is shooting at seals, which very often are not killed but injured and then drown beneath the ice as they bleed to death, humane??
You also say..
'For example, are the slaughter houses for cattle and pigs humane?'
As much as there is a lot left to be desired in how we treat animals reared for food, they are not chased around and bludgeoned to death.
When was the last time you saw a cow being chased around a field by a farmer trying to kill it?
Trying to compare one type of cruelty, which many people campaign on anyway, to justify another, is a very poor argument indeed.
You say...
'the killing of white coat pups was banned by the Federal Government of Canada in 1987, after they too, agreed that the act was inhumane. '
85% of Canadians define a baby seal to be under one year of age. Today, more than 95% of the seals killed in the hunt are under 3 months of age.
In my book that is a baby seal, just because it has just shed its white coat makes no difference.
You state that Atlantic Canadians need this hunt, again totally false.
According to the industry's own figures, commercial sealing only accounted for 0.06% of Newfounland's GDP in 1997, and provided the equivalent of only 100-120 full-time jobs.
In the past seven years alone, more than $20 million has been provided to the sealing industry through government grants and interest free loans. It is estimated that the total value of the seal hunt to Atlantic Canada equals the annual equals the annual revenues of one McDonald's outlet.
The hunt is heavily subsidiesd commercial operation that is actually counter productive for the Canadian economy and reputation.
You also say
'but it is a hunt that has been ongoing for decades and decades. This is a legacy that cannot be taken from the people of atlantic canada'.
I have heard those kind of words so many times in relation to cruel and barbaric practices in my own country and worldwide.
Here in Britain we were told that hunting with dogs was 'essential' and there would be 'devastation' to communities if it were banned.
All such claims were shown to be totally false.
It is hardly a scientific argument to say that because something has been done for a long time then it should continue, no matter how morally repugnant, unsustainable and counter productive.
Atlantic Canadians and the country as a whole, would gain much more from celebrating its wildlife and natural heritage.
The economic benefits to the region would far outweigh the grossly subsidised brutal hunt which is so damaging to Canada.
The Canadian government should be investing in the future, promoting wildlife tourism in the region, not continuing with this shameful hunt.

11 years ago

I am not sure how to comment on this story as it is covered by the IFAW. I have so much to say, but no way to express my emotion and distress for the uneducated thoughts and opinions that the IFAW and its members have formed against the Canadian East Coast Seal Hunt.
Before I begin, I would like to state that I am not a sealer, nor is anyone in my family. As well, I have a Degree in Environmental Biology, which in my view, entitles me to state my opinion on the seal hunt from both a scientific and personal level.
The east coast seal hunt is by far, as most will agree 'not humane' but it is a hunt that has been ongoing for decades and decades. This is a legacy that cannot be taken from the people of atlantic canada. We need to understand, that although the killing of seals appears to be brutal and harsh, this is only one killing of an animal that is often disputed. For example, it is incorrect that baby white coat seals are killed for their white fur. In fact, the killing of white coat pups was banned by the Federal Government of Canada in 1987, after they too, agreed that the act was inhumane. There is no marlet for white coated seals, so why would sealers have an interest in killing them?
The current population of harp seals off the east coast of Canada sits at roughly 5.5 million indivuals, while the Canadian Government has allowed a hunt quota of 270, 000 individuals. This quota is down compared to last years hunt, due in part to scientific analysis in population changes. The allowable catch is calculated on a yearly basis and reflects the health of the seal population. At no point will the seal population become detritmentally low. We need to understand the population as an entity which functionally operates within the ocean habitat and food chain. If we allow seal populations to grow to excessive levels (ie. not hunting them) then the population will rise to a level where they 'eat themselves out of house and home' and the population ultimately dies off. The population would rise to a given climax, it would plateau, and then drop drastically.
Lets discuss the idea of the seal hunt being 'inhumane.' Seals are often now killed with a rifle. This is a humane means of killing the seal, well, as humane as any killing could be. The videos of seal 'clubbings' are often old and not up to date. We need only to look at some of the foods we eat and some of the clothes that we wear to see that much of our lives revolve around the killing of animals. For example, are the slaughter houses for cattle and pigs humane? I think not... thousands of cattle are herded into trailers, and then distributed to facilities where we butcher them to death and let their lifeless bodies hang from hooks on a conveyor belt, waiting to be chopped into that favorite prime rib or t-bone steak that so many of us enjoy. Think of veal, young cow killed, and placed on our dinner plates... and I ask again, is that humane to kill a baby cow. There is no difference, young seal, young cow, young lamb, etc.
I cannot understand why organizations such as the IFAW, Greenpeace and HSUS try so hard to stop an act that is historically a right of the Atlantic Canadian people. I have visited this website to attempt to understand a differing viewpoint from what I believe, but all I have found is a mangle of misinformation and in accuracies. It is wrong to do this to people who are not educated in the field of biology and the like, it is fraud to ask these people to donate to a cause which is no more inhumabe then the killing of most animals that we consume.
Seals are used not only for their pelts, instead many Newfoundland families rely on their meat as food in their freezers, money in their bank account, as was a means of living. Families living in Newfoundland rely on the seal hunt yearly as a means of obtaining income. An income that was obtained in this matter for decades.
I look forward to some replies on my posting. I have much more to say, but I would like some feedback. Although I am disgruntled with the portrayal of the seal hunt, as an environmental biologist some of the materials on this site are legitimate, and I was happy to see that.
Thanks so much for you time.

11 years ago

Thanks for your thoughts Chris! I too was surprised at the Canadian government's decision, but you are right in that we need to encourage import countries to reconsider purchasing seal products. And steps taken by countries like Germany and Belgium should be appauded for their efforts to ban seal products. Hopefully the rest of the EU will follow suit!

11 years ago

This announcement from Canada is deeply shameful.
It is up to all nations who import Canadian seal products, to initiate immediate bans and for consumers to boycott Canada in every respect.
This barbarity must end.
Thanks to IFAW for bringing this to the world and for being there on the ground.

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