April 9, 2010
Seal Hunt 2010: Dark Day
A "Live from the Ice" dispatch from Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane Society International/Canada
My government tells the world that the commercial seal slaughter is humane, closely monitored, and tightly regulated. That’s a lie, and our footage from today proves it.
The baby seals are so helpless out here. So young that they are not yet swimming, these three-week-old pups are visible targets on the tiny pieces of ice they’re floating on. The sealers, out to make a quick buck, are clubbing and shooting every one they find. It is unimaginably hard to be up here—in a helicopter 1,000 feet in the air—bearing witness to what is happening.
Today, unlike on the first day of the slaughter, we saw a Canadian coast guard boat and an enforcement plane in the area. But the government representatives did nothing to stop sealers from shooting seals and leaving them to suffer.
Nothing to prevent sealers from impaling seals on metal hooks and dragging them across the ice, throwing seals onto boats, and cutting open seals—all without checking once to see if the seals were unconscious. The Canadian government did nothing to enforce the few inadequate regulations that are on the books.
In front of us, two pups lay on one ice pan, blissfully unaware of a sealing vessel bearing down on them. One of the baby seals was shot but not killed. He thrashed around in agony, lifting his head. Just feet away from him, the other seal was shot seconds later and lay bleeding on the ice. The first seal continued to suffer, raising and lowering his head in a pool of his own blood. The sealer finally arrived and then clubbed the wounded seal just once before impaling him on a metal hook and dragging him away—without ensuring the seal was even unconscious.
It is this evidence that is ending Canada’s commercial seal slaughter.
How many Canadian politicians can continue to stomach the cruelty we witness out here? How many will continue to try to claim the slaughter is humane in the face of our irrefutable evidence of abuse, year after year?
The ProtectSeals team will not let them do it. We will expose the cruelty on these ice floes to the world.
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.