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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109 thoughts to “POLL: Should the annual Canadian seal hunt be banned?”

  1. pore seals theye shod stop hunting seals and killing seals shod be band for good the seals did nothing to the humans not fare pelpol do not care this neds to stop

  2. 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?

  3. 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.”

  4. "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?

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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?

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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 we can to get this banned once and for all.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!!

  17. 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 suffer from blunt traumatic death and/or bad aim from rifles. Some are abused to no end until they die. No living creature on this planet should endure this kind of suffering…for any reason. This is an outdated practice, as no one uses seals to survive anymore. Please end this disgusting ritual, the hunters need to get other jobs.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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.

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

  23. To look into those big beautiful eyes, and be able to 'club' or shoot an animal that cannot even run or defend itself is beyond deplorable. For 'fur'. For 'fashion'. This is sick. There is NO excuse in this century for anyone to hunt seals except the Inuit. Over 30 countries DO NOT want seal fur and/or seal related products into their ports! Over 70% of all Canadians (and many are in Newfoundland) do NOT want this 'slaughter' on OUR soil!! They have made this abundantly clear! Make Canada proud again! Abolish this 'legalized animal abuse' forever; put it in the darkest pages of our Canadian History Books, and put the Harp Seal on our Canadian stamps. We are BETTER than this. We are NOT barbarians. I plead with our Government to be the 'Hero', and go down in History that YOUR Liberal Government was THE Government that shut down this abusive, black eye on our country. YOUR names will be remembered as 'heroes'….not 'animal abusers'.

  24. The murder of wild animals or any animal for that matter is a game for cowards, creeps and those marginal humans who are stupid and don't deserve to live. Amazingly, on all petitions, the vote counts overwhelmingly favor banning these coward hunts. Yet governments refuse to act in the interests of their own citizenry. Future generations will look back in dismay and disgust.

  25. Some ppl aren't satisfied until they destroy the innocent and beautiful! One day as our animals become extinct we can look back and thank MAN! Shameful!

  26. someday, future generations will look back on what we do to innocent animals, and cringe with disgust and dismay. just like we do today when we look back on the days of human slavery. torturring innocent animals is a form of terrorism. only mentally ill people could crush the life out of a beautiful animal.

  27. this has to be the most shocking and despicable things to see and know – how can people do this? Must be stopped once and for all – such sick people

  28. in the 21st Century these bloody morons must be locked up in mental institutions for life, far away from all animals and children!!

  29. Relax US of fukin A not all Canadians are blood suckers there are good & bad people everywhere; majority of Canadians do not want this happening hence why we have lot of animal right groups working on this while we speak.

  30. I have just seen this, after my other reply to you. Well, there you are. Clearly, Harper doesn't work for you, he works for someone else. But at least I can think well of most Canadians again.

  31. Virtue Phil Either not enough of the rest of you (Canadians) care much about the seals or else you don't live in any kind of democracy.

  32. Simon Tucker Where is the thumbs-down button when you need it? How can compassion for others, to the extent of extreme inconvenience to oneself, be narcissistic? That's Orwellian!!

  33. YES the seal hunt should be banned! Every fucking year I sigh, and donate and volunteer to stop it but NONE of these animals orgs ever take me up on it. I would be happy to act as a human shield to protect these seals. This makes me sick and HATE Humanity even more every day.

  34. Only sadistic evil psychopathic barbarians would continue this shameless heartless soulless bloodbath of babies. There is no excuse for it whatsoever. FACT:Human over fishing is the only cause of dwindling fish. The seal are in fact beneficial because they eat the fish that eat the fish that the human fishermen fish. Fact: No body needs to wear fur today. Fact: Time for Canada to evolve and develop eco-tourism and to turn the babies' fields of blood into protected nature reserves and if possible retain the sealers to become protective nature rangers and guides. 2015 Evolve.


  36. I agree with Scott!!
    I don't even want to have to live among these monsters capable of going out through and brutally killing innocent animals. Just sickening that this goes on.

  37. Virtue Phil There is a great reason for eating meat: domestic animals would disappear without the economic benefit of them existing. Mixed farms are proven to support more wildlife than arable farms. Veganism is unnecessary, narcisistic denial of being human.

  38. Virtue Phil There is a great reason for eating meat: domestic animals would disappear without the economic benefit of them existing. Mixed farms are proven to support more wildlife than arable farms. Veganism is unnecessary, narcisistic denial of being human.

  39. Simon, you're talkin about a small gang of hoodlums up in the north. Likey don't have internet and don't know the war is over since 1945! The vast majority of Canadians do not support this and live nowhere near this activity. The entire Europoean Union has banned seal products but this small band of animal abusers still feel its their right!.. becase "my dad did it, and his dad did it" etc. traditions like this have NO PLACE in civilized society, just like "thanksgiving" celeltrated by the mass execution of turkeys and the daily execution of other animals. There is no scientific reason man should be eating animals today (or waring them, or explieting them in zoos or other exibits. Its all history and traditions that is fucking things up.

  40. This is horrible. How can anybody do this to a innocent animal that has done nothing but be a creation from Almighty God. It takes a sick and demented person to do this.

  41. i am in full agreement 100% with all of the above writers and their comments below stated.Think about the polar bear situation in Churchill – this is one of their staple foods and it is being forcibly taken from them and leaving these creatures to seek other foods elsewhere. It is plain wrong – who today needs sealmeat anyway and seal skin when their are means to artificial seal skins to be made from faux leather to look like the real thing.

  42. It has nothing to do with the seals eating all the fish it is money they sell the skins sorry but to walk up and beat an animal to death to me says a lot about the people that do this, and why is it called a hunt there is no hunting involved it is a seal kill not hunt,and is a disgrace to Canada that it still allows this to go on

  43. It has nothing to do with the seals eating all the fish it is money they sell the skins sorry but to walk up and beat an animal to death to me says a lot about the people that do this, and why is it called a hunt there is no hunting involved it is a seal kill not hunt,and is a disgrace to Canada that it still allows this to go on

  44. The seal hunt is arcahic, cruel and an atrocity. Humans have a choice and can find something else to do for a living. There is something very wrong with these people who murder the seals, it is the abnormal behavior of psychopaths.

  45. I have kept a thirty year commitment to boycot anything made in or sold by Canadian companies because of this Seal hunt. (Don't get me wrong- I have Canadian friends.) But this $#!t has to stop.

  46. You're G-Damned right, it should be BANNED PERMANENTLY!!!!! . It should have been BANNED 50 years ago !!. Does anyone realize that this CRUELTY is Subsidized by the Canadian Taxpayers, thanks to IDIOT HARPER and his HENCHMEN !!!.
    Globally, no one wants Seals anymore !. Are the Taxpayers paying these Bastards wages, for releasing their Hidden Rage, of some sort, by Bludgeoning these Helpless Seals !!?? .
    This needs to STOP NOW !!!.
    Time for these people to find other ways of making a living, other than Killing Innocent Animals in a BRUTAL MANNER !!.

  47. Perhaps the Canadians need their heads bashed in to see what they are doing to these precious animals so some idiots can wear sealskin. Real people wear fake furs. Where is your humanity, Canada! Are you to blind to see how you appear to the rest of us that do have some humanity. This is deplorable what you do, but there is a place for those who continue to slaughter and that place is in HELL.

  48. Seals are vital to the Arctic ecosystem,now in this harsh times when the sea ice is melting away the polar bears need them more than ever.Banning is the best solution in my mind.Seals are food for polar bears not for hunters,the traditional seal hunting of the Inuits has it’s purpose but not this…

  49. for those who hunt me because i am a seal
    did you ever stop to think just how i feel
    i just want to sit on my rocks and ice
    if you would leave me be, that would be so nice
    my fur is mine, not yours for the taking
    just look at all the red blood you are making
    go back to your homes, your families, your wives
    and leave us seals alone to enjoy our lives.

  50. What is it about these f*cking Canadians? In so many ways they are civilised but they are hell bent on blaming seals for their over-fishing (just like the f*cking Scots) and inhumanely killing them. Canadian companies are also the driving force behind deforestation in so many rainforest areas.

    Get a grip Canada and sort your environmental policies out – you give the Tories a veneer of respectability they don't deserve.

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