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Seal Hunt 2010: Bear Witness

A "Live from the Ice" dispatch from Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International

There are days like yesterday in every expedition to film the baby seal slaughter. Days when horrible weather conditions keep us from reaching the ice floes but do not prevent the sealers from killing the seals.

Yesterday, the ProtectSeals team attempted to observe the seal hunt from our rigid, inflatable boat. Sadly, after hours of battling high winds and waves, we had to make the decision to turn back. We were devastated—to know this slaughter would go on without witnesses was too much to bear.

But then we received news. Our helicopter, equipped with a high-powered camera, had managed to make it through the winds to the sealing area. As we were slowly making our way back to port, our helicopter hovered in the sky above the sealing boats, filming everything. And as usual, multiple violations of the law were caught on tape. Yet again, sealers failed to check to ensure the seals were unconscious before hooking, dragging and cutting them open.

One seal was shot in the chest. As blood poured out from under him, he slowly raised his head and tried to crawl. It took an eternity for sealers to arrive and club him. Another seal—still alive—was thrown onto a pile of bloody dead seals in a sealing boat. Realizing the seal was still moving, a sealer smashed his club down onto her skull, in the midst of the dead pile.

These baby seals are subjected to unimaginable suffering every day that this slaughter goes on. They are dying in the most horrible ways, at the hands of this awful industry.

We come out here to expose that suffering to the world. The sealing industry would like the brutality of this slaughter to remain a secret, for the killing to happen out of public view. But we can’t let that happen, and your support ensures it won’t. Because of you, the tragic deaths of these defenseless animals will ultimately bring down the sealing industry. As the images of this cruelty are broadcast around the world, global markets for seal products are closing, and consumers are taking action to stop the slaughter.

Because of the images we gather of this horrible hunt, those who would defend this atrocity simply have no defense. 

Please support the end of the seal hunt in Canada: donate to save seals, or sign the pledge to boycott seafood from Canada»


Rebecca Aldworth is executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. For the past decade, she has been a firsthand observer of Canada's commercial seal hunt, escorting more than 100 scientists, parliamentarians and journalists to the ice floes to witness the slaughter.

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