April 15, 2011
Sealing Boats on the Horizon
Through headwinds and snow, we seek the slaughterers
Today, the weather is supposed to clear, and we expect to depart for the seal slaughter at first light. But the hours slowly go by and high winds and low visibility keep our helicopter grounded.
Finally, our pilot says he will try to fly towards the sealing grounds and, if we are lucky, the sky will clear en route.
For nearly three hours we fly through strong headwinds, driving snow, and low visibility, eventually landing at a small airport for fuel.
As we wait, I think of the monumental challenges involved in documenting this slaughter. The weather here is unpredictable and often extreme. But the fog and freezing rain that stop our helicopters from reaching the ice floes don't keep the sealing boats at bay.
Determined to find them
Sometimes the sea ice is located far offshore, along with the seal pups who are the target of this slaughter. That distance can prevent our helicopters from reaching the ice floes, but it doesn't stop the sealers.
Even when we are able to navigate the weather systems and the distances from shore, there is always the chance we will not find the sealing boats. All we have to rely on in that endeavour are our best guesses and instinct.
That—despite these obstacles—we film so much cruelty at this slaughter speaks volumes.
Finally, our helicopter fueled, we head out into the fog-covered ocean.
To show the truth
Against all odds, we will find them. The sealing boats are out there, and we're ready to show the world the truth of Canada's seal slaughter.
We look ahead through our powerful camera monitor. On the horizon we see the sealing boats.
Help us keep the pressure on the sealers. Please help me protect the baby seals with an emergency donation.
Rebecca Aldworth is executive director of Humane Society International Canada (HSI Canada).