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April 11, 2010

Seal Hunt 2010: The Slaughter Continues

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

Humane Society International

  • A baby seal lies in a pool of her own blood on an ice pan. Gray Mitchell/HSI

  • A sealer hooks a weeks-old, slaughtered baby seal. Gray Mitchell/HSI

  • What's left behind from a cruel slaughter: a bloody boat and silent, blood-stained ice. Gray Mitchell/HSI

They lay on an ice pan, just a few feet away from each other. The two seal pups were sleeping quietly: a picture of peace. If they had only known that a hundred meters away, a sealing vessel was bearing down on them fast.
 
Sensing danger, one baby seal looked up. As he nervously glanced across the ice, a bullet smashed into his face. He fell back, bleeding. The other seal looked toward him worriedly, and, as she did, another bullet blasted across the ice and hit her in the face. The blood began to pour from her, but she slowly pulled her head up and began to crawl, dragging herself forward. In agony, she slowly moved in a complete circle, blood trailing behind her. From the air, we could see her sliding through her own blood as she cried.
 
Finally, the sealing boat arrived, and she was shot again. As she collapsed, the first seal rolled over—he too had been alive and suffering all this time. A sealer ran onto the ice, smashing his club into both their heads. Without checking to see if the seals were unconscious, he hooked both of them in their faces, pulling them onto the boat. As we flew over in the helicopter, we could see that one seal was still moving. Unconcerned, the sealers sliced the pups open, one after the other—a grisly and painful death, and just more evidence of why this slaughter must be stopped.
 
For much of the year, we see opportunistic Canadian politicians organizing increasingly tasteless events to promote the sealing industry and seal-fur markets (along with their own careers). But those politicians are ironically silent now. As the baby seals are brutalized on the ice floes, these politicians seem entirely at a loss for words.
 
I don’t blame them. What words could defend what we have filmed in the past three days? What propaganda could ever counter the cries of a wounded baby seal choking on her own blood? What excuses could erase the image of a baby seal whose face has been torn apart by a bullet as she screams in agony?
 
They have no words. They have no excuses. Because there are none.
 
As my political representatives take to the international stage to promote the sealing industry, we are ready. With our evidence being broadcast globally now, let’s see the Canadian government try to explain exactly how “humane” this bloody slaughter is.

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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