April 7, 2010
Seal Hunt 2010: Eve of the Hunt
A "Live from the Ice" dispatch from Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane Society International/Canada
I'm heading back from flying over the "front"—the waters northeast of Newfoundland. There, sealing boats are working through the sparse ice, on a deadly path to where the baby seals are blissfully feeding from their mothers until they have the strength to swim, unaware of the approaching danger.
I feel the familiar despair I always do when I see the first vessels bound for the hunt—a confirmation that my last hope that the killing might not happen, that the baby seals might be spared this year, is gone.
I know what we are about to witness, and it is breaking my heart. We have done everything we can to prevent this killing, but it has not yet been enough. The ProtectSeals team is silent as our plane returns to our base.
But I know something else. I know that we are shutting the sealers down. I can tell by the verbal attacks sealing industry representatives make against those trying to save the seals. I can see it in the blustering of Canadian parliamentarians, trying to outdo each other in their empty gestures in support of sealing. And I can see it in the lack of sealers out here today. In this area, hundreds of sealing vessels usually participate in the killing. But this year, only 23 boats have hailed out so far.
The reason for their lack of enthusiasm: the top seal fur processor in Canada is not buying seal skins this year. And while one other company is, it is purchasing far, far fewer pelts than usual. Our efforts to close global markets for seal fur are working, and soon, I know that seals will be worth more alive than dead. This is, afterall, one of nature’s greatest animal concentrations.
In the meantime, we'll be here, gathering the evidence that is putting this outdated industry out of business. The commercial seal hunt off Newfoundland’s coast opens half an hour before dawn tomorrow. We are ready. Please stand with us as we work to stop Canada's commercial seal slaughter forever.
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.