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Seal's Agony Continues after Gunshot

The cruelty is obvious even at a distance

Humane Society International


by Rebecca Aldworth

From a thousand feet in the air, this slaughter is as shocking as ever.

Beneath us, a fat baby seal lies on a small ice pan. As a sealing boat roars toward him, he looks up, bewildered. A shot rings out, and he is hit. Rolling onto his back, he slides slowly into the water. For a moment, it seems he might be dead. But then, his flippers begin to move as his blood slicks across the ocean.

A sealing boat comes towards him, trapping him between two ice pans. He keeps moving, but the boat continues pushing the ice mercilessly onto him. As the ice crushes his tiny body, more blood spreads through the water, and he moves frantically. Then, a smaller boat arrives, and another gunshot rings out.

Leaning over, the sealers attempt to hook him with a gaff. Finally, they give up and just grasp his flippers and pull him onto the boat. There, on a bloody floor, they club him to death.

Pledge to boycott Canadian seafood in 2011.

These are the worst days. As much as I try to take comfort in the knowledge that hundreds of thousands of baby seals are living through this slaughter because of our work, I am face to face with the fact that we have not yet truly saved the seals.

Miles to go

A reporter asked me today if we hadn't already won our campaign. After all, in an area where hundreds of sealing boats normally operate, today we saw just four. How I would love for that to be the case—that we could all celebrate the ultimate victory for the seals.

But while these helpless babies continue to die in horrible ways out here—until Canada bans commercial sealing as the U.S. did in 1972—we cannot stop. Not for a minute. Not until the seals are finally safe.

The wind is picking up and we are forced to return to land. It is likely the sealing boats will too. If they return, we'll be back, to expose this cruelty to the world.

Will you help us reach the tipping point? Pledge now to boycott Canadian seafood in 2011.

Rebecca Aldworth is Director of Humane Society International Canada (HSI Canada).