Waste and cruelty are endemic at the commercial seal hunt

I get asked a lot why IFAW travels to the ice each year to document the commercial seal hunt. Many people believe the commercial hunting of seals is justifiable--even desirable--and question why we even bother. But after 11 years of bearing witness to the slaughter, I cannot recall a single year in which we’ve not seen terrible suffering, callous waste and needless harm.

2012 was a tough year, not because we saw a tremendous amount of killing, but because we knew the killing was happening and we just did not have the resources to reach it. The range of our helicopters simply could not get us to the areas where, at last count, more than 30,000 seals have been killed. On the few boats we did see, we documented seals shot and suffering, before being clubbed and skinned. Even worse was the knowledge that this year, the government is funding the slaughter so that skins can be put into stockpile – “to address market demands as they arise”.

We have reached a critical point in history where there are few markets remaining for seal products, and given the trivial nature of luxury seal products, it seems unlikely that this demand will increase any time soon. The sealing industry appears to be dying--and with only 225 fishermen taking part last year, there is no better time to bring this chapter of Canadian history to a close.

I encourage you to watch the video, share it with others and speak out against the commercial seal hunt. If we stand together, we can--and will--make the seal hunt history.


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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Sheryl Fink, Campaign Director, Canadian Wildlife
Campaign Director, Canadian Wildlife
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations