POLL: Should the annual Canadian seal hunt be banned?

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The Canadian government in early March announced this year’s quota for its annual, and highly controversial, seal hunt. The allocation for 2015? 468,000 harp, hooded and grey seals.

In an effort to minimize inhumane treatment, the Canadian government mandates that seals can only be killed using a high-powered rifle or shotgun, a club or a tool called a hakapik.

Yet with the hunt in full swing, last week Humane Society International released shocking footage of baby seals being shot, clubbed and dragged aboard hunting vessels — footage that, the group alleges, shows the hunt is anything but humane.

Cruel begins again

Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI’s Canada chapter, told The Huffington Post that despite the legal protections, “what happens to these baby seals is some of the worst suffering I’ve ever witnessed.” She spent last week in a helicopter off the northeast coast of Newfoundland getting a firsthand look at the seal hunt — her 17th year doing so.

“Ever year we go out there, we see the same kind of cruelty,” Aldworth said. “The seal is moving on the ice, the ice is moving on the ocean and the boat is rocking on the waves, so you often see a seal that’s just wounded because it’s incredibly difficult to make that shot.”

PETA Brings the World Face-to-Face With the Seal

The hunt takes place in northeastern Canada between November and June, with the majority of the seal hunting happening in March and April. The animals are killed mainly for their furs, and young harp seals tend to be in the highest demand because they have the most valuable pelts.

The Canadian government maintains that safeguards are in place to ensure animals are killed quickly and humanely. When asked about the scientific rationale for the hunt, a spokesperson for the country’s Fisheries and Oceans Portfolio directed HuffPost to an online FAQ page about the seal hunt.

The huge annual quota is all the more surprising given that the number of seals harvested each year has fallen dramatically over the past decade, thanks to a shrinking market. Around 94,000 animals were hunted in 2013, down from about 366,000 in 2004. Harp seal populations in Canada are nearly three times what they were in the 1970s, currently numbering close to 7.3 million animals.

The Canadian Sealers Association recently announced that it will scale back operations in light of the difficult financial situation caused by a constricted commercial market. Carino, the top buyer of sealskins in Canada, said it wouldn’t be purchasing any pelts this year because it already has a stockpile that didn’t sell in 2014.

Should the Canadian Government bring an end to the annual seal slaughter? Shocking Video!

The lower demand is partially a result of growing international concern for animal welfare. The entirety of the European Union banned the trade in 2009 due to worries about the inhumane nature of seal hunts in Canada, Greenland, Namibia and other countries. Canada appealed the decision to the World Trade Organization, but the agency upheld the EU ban in 2014, noting it was “necessary to protect public morals” related to animal rights.

In the U.S., trade in seal products is banned and all species of seal are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

On the frozen ice of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a sealer moves in

Captain Paul Watson, founder of the marine wildlife conservation group Sea Shepherd, told HuffPost that while his organization supports the work of HSI, it no longer actively opposes to the hunt due to the “collapse” of the market.

“There simply is no market today,” he said. “Sea Shepherd’s role has been to oppose the sealing ships, and there are no more ships on the water and in the ice seals.”

Canada’s seal slaughter must go the same way as its whaling industry | Mimi Bekhechi | World news | The Guardian

Watson noted that despite the large number of seals designated for hunting through the government’s quota, it’s likely that fewer than 60,000 will be killed this year because of the lack of demand.

Aldworth told HuffPost that HSI is hoping to help broker a deal between the sealers and the Canadian government that would bring about an end to the hunt through a federal buyout of sealing contracts. She said the plan would be similar to the shift that took place when whaling was ended in the country in the 1970s. Parts of Canada now have a burgeoning whale-watching industry.

Our feature interview is with Sheryl Fink, the Wildlife Campaigns Director of IFAW Canada

But for now, her group believes a single seal killed is one too many.

“HSI’s concern is that the seal hunt is inherently inhumane. Because it’s inhumane, it must be shut down,” Aldworth said. “The only progressive thing to do, the only acceptable solution is to shut down the slaughter forever.”

This article was first published by The Huffington Post on 20 Apr 2015.

We invite you to share your opinion whether the annual Canadian seal hunt should be banned? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page:

Should the annual Canadian seal hunt be banned?

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Kazz Murphy

Canada your way of life is admired all over the world Yet you allow this! come on end this barbarism once and for all

Linda Specht Fleming

Sad these poor animals dont even have a chance!!! Anyone that can look in their eyes and kill them is mentally ill!!!

Olga Alvarez

repudiado tanta maldad desde chile

Marilyn Leybra

You think so? By 2050 three billion more people are projected to be added to earth. Who are going to require a lot more food & fresh water & resulting wars. I doubt they'll be looking w/ disgust & dismay at our actions, will be too busy w/ their own just as every generation pre yours was & today. What's new since the killer ape caveman days?

Marilyn Leybra

Perhaps 'hunting vessels' & 'sealing ships' are technically not the same though the killing goes on so why would Paul Watson say, “There simply is no market today.”

Marilyn Leybra

"HSI released shocking footage of baby seals being shot, clubbed and dragged aboard hunting vessels Last week." While Paul Watson, founder of the marine wildlife conservation group Sea Shepherd said, “Sea Shepherd’s role has been to oppose the sealing ships, and there are no more ships on the water and in the ice killing seals.” Are these contradictions or am I not reading right?

ぞぬ 野良ぬこぼっち

クソ人間どもは一日も早く絶滅しろ!!! クソ人間どもは一日も早く絶滅しろ!!!  
クソ人間どもは一日も早く絶滅しろ!!! クソ人間どもは一日も早く絶滅しろ!!!  

Cee Montoya

You have to really question the humanity of ANYONE who could brutally club a seal. What kind of heartless brute would do that? Why would any civilized country want to make a tradition of cruel, senseless, violent abuse of animals?

Cheryl Fadem

murder murderers is there any other way to describe this?? listen most people we meet coult never do this be a part of this or watch this THERE IS SOMETHING VERY WRONG GOING ON HERE

Lucy Lilly

disgusting who ever buys this fur for any reason should be ashamed.. stop supporting this its not ok

Flo Leava

Please, please stop this barbaric practice!!

Francesca Molinari


Sandra Cunha


Bobbie Michaels

ANIMALS ARE NOT OURS to eat – wear – use in bogus medical research – abuse – exploit – use in entertainment – hunt – fish – breed – profit from – slaughter – our personal and selfish vanity or confine to captivity.

Esmie Player

Heart breaking and utterly barbaric and unecessary 🙁

Laura Lane Harrington

A a normal human being could never do something so evil as this! It's barbaric, disgusting, heartbreaking, and sickening to even think they could walk up to such a precious animal and kill them for nothing more than greed. I'm ashamed to even be a human, knowing there are those out in this world like these evil POSs. Do the rest of the world a favor and bash each other over the head instead!

Gary Wayne

a very Obvious YES OMFG How CRUEL and Barbaric !!! CLUBED TO DEATH such a Lovely Innocent Animal , can i please go and club the bastards doing this.

Juan Pratini

a good hunter is a dead one, with lot of pain, kill them all, kill their family

Rachel Trevino

Only a psychopath would vote no. And only cowards hunt seals. They are helpless animals caring for their young and these cowards take advantage of this.

Jean Jakusz

Stop Horrible Abuse for man's greed & vanity NOW!

There Sarribas


Эллочка Дамоцева

Чтоб вы все сдохли вместе с вашими детьми!! Горите в аду вечно!!!

Lindon Tilson

Absolutely disgusting. No decent human being would EVER entertain this

Theresa Sanderson


Σάσα Γεωργιάδου

Ας κάνουμε όλοι κάτι να σταματήσουν οι εγκληματίες να ζουν από την σφαγή αθώων ζώων!!

Ute Christner

diesen brutalen Mördern muss man das Handwerk legen!!! Hier muss ein strenges Gesetzt den Ton angeben!!!

Yash Dalal

If you have to ask should animals be killed for fun and skin you already are lost

Rosa Borisova

Anyone who eats, wears and uses animal products supports, promotes, encourages and allows violence towards other species, deforestation, pollution, wild life extinction, hunger and diseases. Just as bad as the self proclamed fake "hunters" and "animal" agriculture people are they will not exist if people continue to purchase their products. To know better and do better please watch on YouTube: Best speech ever, Forks oever knifes, Earthlings, Cwspiracy, Animals should be off the menu or go to meat-abolition.org, adaptt.com. You might be glad you did

Jason Luhning

no no no i hit the wronge button. i hit no as in no it should not continue, im sick, i didn't read it right, one of thous no's should be a yes.

S Ivonne Qg

Sencimamente desagradable…

Mark Lazeration

Killing of young animals for the vanity of stupid humans is barbaric and immoral.

Mark Lazeration

Humans no longer need fur, when better options for clothing exist. No need to kill young animals for the vani

Katy Kanester

Ruth Jacob people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I'm pretty sure that where you're from is less than perfect in its animal cruelty issues. Especially since in the USA, raping animals is still LEGAL in many states, the helicopter culls of wild horses, bison, wolves, the use of traps and snares by "hunters", Seaworld, all of these issues could reflect badly on the whole country but we're smart enough to realise that not everyone feels that it's okay for these things to happen and that change takes time. So reel back the judgement. We're all doing what… Read more »

Tierra Chapman

Anna Howes You 'get it' but are still abusing non-human beings for their "white meat"….. All things considered, I don't get why you don't join the 21st century with your actions and just make the transition.

Lorna Clark Woz Sandle

I love what you have put, the only flaw is that I would never trust those animal abusers near the seals – they don't deserve to walk the earth, they are a waste of skin!!

Heather Moss

It should be banned for sure. Seal fur is outdated and most people have little desire to wear it, as most people love seals. Seals are part of the delicate ecosystem of the ocean, that is dying at a rapid rate due to overfishing, over hunting, and global warming. Seal hunting is adding to the extinction of the ocean, which will also contribute to global extinction as the planet relies greatly on the oceans to absorb CO2. So aside from hurting the environment and aiding in global extinction, seal hunting is cruel in every shape and form imaginable. These animals… Read more »

Cathy McShane

I hate seeing this stuff happening its heartbreaking leave the beautuful animsls alone how many more must they suffer at out hands this needs to stop

Lauren Wechter

STOP THIS !!!!!!! Now

Janine Relling

An absolutely barbaric, inhumane and unnecessary practice!!

Ria Bella

Its Should ban

Katryna 'Kat' Rael

Dammit,,, I accidentally clicked 'NO' instead of Yes on the vote poll (read it wrong) and now I can't change it, even if I log in again… 🙂

Carolyn Emole

Why,,,why do they hunt seals??? They are nothing but murderes and all should be clubbed themselves. This is one of the horrific acts I've ever seen.

Vi Allen

Seals are a precious helpless living creature that hurts no one and should be left to thrive without idiots going up to these poor babies and bashing their brains out people are just idiots and feel the need to kill where seal are cute harmless babies please leave them live in peace like god intended

Maria Theresa

No more murder

Nagaratnam Sivarama

My appeal to my Federal Government is that I should not be paying my taxes to prop up a sealing industry for which there are few buyers. So please stop using my taxes to subsidise this industry.

Chun-ming Lau

i agree with karen lv then alone go home lv us be

Chun-ming Lau

yes i never agred too have a seal hunt they r babrabrins they dnt need too kill innocent seals an there sweet pups

Sue Fred Booker Miller

I wanted to vote yes and hit the no by accident yes I screwed up and wanna change my vote to yes they should ban the killings of the seals

Ross Alexander

Oh my god…..do you have to ask? OF COURSE! It should have NEVER started to begin with…..soulless, greedy, gluttonous, gorging bastards! ~Melissa

Linda Mander

HOWTOHELPANIMALS please join the group and help.