The annual seal massacre in Canada has started. This year the Canadian government has set a target of over 280000 baby seals to be clubbed to death and skinned to provide coats, hats, handbags and other accessories for the fashion market.
This seal hunt is the largest commercial hunt for marine mammals in the world and has been met with protests from around the world for years now. And this year is no different. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says the hunt should be stopped because itâ€™s cruel, unsustainable and lacks proper monitoring from federal agencies. The European Union is currently being pushed to introduce a ban on commercial trading with seal skin in a few weeks. And just recently Russia decided to close down their seal hunt in the White Sea indefinitely.
â€œItâ€™s preposterous that the Canadian government insists on moving forward with this hunt.â€ said Sheryl Fink, a senior researcher with IFAW. â€œIn the midst of intense European and Canadian opposition, dwindling markets and low pelt prices, itâ€™s apparent the governmentâ€™s insistence on continuing this slaughter is based solely on politics not reason.â€
â€œThe world will be intensely watching this yearâ€™s hunt and I am confident that once again the evidence will speak for itself. The cruelty of Canadaâ€™s commercial seal hunt is undeniable.â€ added Fink.
Canadaâ€™s Department of Fisheries and Oceans have reported that the first two days of the seal hunt has resulted in over 17,200 harp seals killed. But as the team of observers from the IFAW notes, many of the killed seals never get counted in the official statistic.
â€œWe witnessed today a classic example of the cruelty associated with this hunt. An injured, bleeding seal escaped into the water before a sealer could get to it. The sealer tried to pull the seal out by the hind flippers but it slipped underwater anyway,â€ said Cheryl Jacobson, hunt observer with IFAW. â€œThis wounded seal will most likely die underwater and unbelievably, that kill wonâ€™t even be counted in the official catch number.â€
â€œIâ€™m confident we will gather enough footage to provide European policy makers with the cold hard facts about Canadaâ€™s commercial seal hunt â€“ that itâ€™s unacceptably cruel,â€ said Sheryl Fink, a senior researcher with IFAW. â€œSealers rush to club as many seals as possible in a short period of time, combine this with slippery ice conditions and we quickly see animal welfare fall to the wayside in the blind pursuit of profit,â€ added Fink.