WATCH: Grassroots efforts gauge locals’ understanding of seal Hunt in Newfoundland

Deep in the heart of the commercial harp seal hunt, a small group of caring and compassionate individuals are trying to make a difference for animals in Newfoundland. Calling themselves Save Our Seals, the group has just released a new video, which features interviews with Newfoundlanders and informal discussions on their views of the commercial seal hunt.  

Support for the seal hunt is strong here, and anyone who questions the future of an industry whose time has arguably passed is branded a traitor, turncoat, or worse. But interestingly, Save Our Seals found that when people paused to learn more about the commercial seal hunt it began to change their opinion.

For example, most people are under the impression that the hunt is “full-utilization” when in fact, government statistics suggest that 92 percent of the meat that could potentially be used is left to waste on the ice. Others were surprised at the perpetual spending of tax dollars on the seal hunt in order to keep this dying industry afloat.

Changing hearts and minds with facts and science is not easy, and although their message has been expectedly met with strong resistance, we are encouraged by the commitment of Save Our Seals. Opening a rational dialogue on the seal hunt and discussing the path forward - rather than dwelling on the past and complaining about ‘how things used to be’ - is critical for progress.

An earlier video produced by Save Our Seals emphasizes the message that you can be a proud Newfoundlander, and still be proud of your heritage and culture, but not support the commercial seal hunt.

So kudos to Save Our Seals, and congratulations on their new video. It is not easy to discuss the seal hunt in Newfoundland, and they are showing courage in bringing this issue to the forefront.  We wish them great success in engaging their fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians – and their politicians – in a fruitful and constructive dialogue on ending the commercial seal hunt and creating a humane and prosperous future for their province.

You can follow Save our Seals NL on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram



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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