The Norwegian government is going ahead with their sickening seal hunt yet again this year. They have announced that the seal hunt can be conducted without an animal welfare inspector on board. The reason is said to be the risk of COVID-19.
As noted in a statement by Respect For Animals,“among the crews to go hunting without inspection this year, are members who have been convicted of animal cruelty after several offenses during seal hunting in 2009.”
In 2010, these crew members received some of the highest fines ever given for animal cruelty in Norway. The men were convicted based on documentation from an animal welfare inspectors report, and video recorded evidence.
NOAH, the Norwegian animal protection group, is gravely concerned about animal welfare during the 2020 seal hunt,and is now demanding that the Government of Norway does the right thing and cancels the hunt.
“To permit seal hunting crews to kill seals without inspectors is nothing but absurd. If the inspector must take considerations to prevent infection from (COVID-19) then of course this should apply to all crew. Considering animal welfare issues, the hunt should be cancelled when an animal welfare inspector is not allowed to be on board. Hunting seals are not an “essential service,” that could legitimate temporary changes of laws during the corona-crisis,”Siri Martinsen, Veterinarian and Executive Director of NOAH said in a statement. “On the contrary, seal hunting is highly controversial and forbidden in several countries because of animal welfare concerns.”
Respect for Animals, NOAH,and many international animal protection groups are strongly concerned that rules for animal welfare and control are being changed in reference to the corona-crisis, while exploitation of animals continues unimpeded.
The seal hunt is 80% subsidized, and should now be stopped to avoid animal suffering.
“I have traveled around the world documenting the different seal hunts, tying to get them banned, and wherever they occur, the horror and brutality is the same. Canada, Namibia, or Norway, the slaughter of seals often for their fur is cruel and unnecessary,” stated Mark Glover, Campaigns Director for Respect for Animals. “Seal hunters with appalling convictions for animal cruelty are being allowed to inflict carnage on innocent, helpless seals, without observation, has shocked people around the world. We urge the Norwegian government to take action and END the seal hunt, NOW!”
In 2015, the Norwegian government decided not to grant subsidies for 2016 and there was no seal hunt that year. Sadly, subsidies were re-established in the following years. The quota for the 2020 seal hunt is set at 18,548 Harp Seals.
This article was first published by World Animal News on 9 April 2020.
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