April 12, 2012
Seal Pups Killed off the Coast of Newfoundland
Sealing vessels launched early this morning to club and shoot baby seals
by Rebecca Aldworth
Half an hour before dawn today, the commercial seal hunt opened off the northeast coast of Newfoundland in an area known locally as "the front." Reportedly, 27 sealing vessels hailed out to participate, and we expect that a large number of seals will die here over the coming days. Freezing rain and fog have grounded the Protect Seals team's aircraft, so we are unable to travel this morning to document the slaughter.
It is terrible to know that this killing will go on today without witnesses, and we are devastated as we wait for the weather to clear, though it seems to be getting worse. Our only hope is that the conditions that are keeping us from reaching the area are also holding back the sealers and their vessels.
We won’t waste a moment of time—we are spending this time working to end the slaughter all the same. The images we filmed yesterday are already being sent around the globe to show that the killing results in just as much suffering as ever. By exposing the cruel origins of seal products, we can end the demand and, in doing so, stop the deaths of seals.
Subsidies and slaughter
Though the provincial government financed the seal slaughter this year, that kind of subsidy cannot continue in the long term. We simply have to ensure that the seal product trade bans that we've achieved remain, and that more countries take similar action. The Canadian government is increasingly isolated in its promotion of commercial sealing, and soon the pressure to stop will be overwhelming.
Yesterday, as we left the sealing grounds, we saw a few seal pups who were far away from the slaughter and will likely survive as a result. It struck me as I watched them sleep and play on the sea ice how very small, young, and defenseless they are. And it crystallized for me how important our role is here. We are their voice and their witnesses. And we won’t stop until they are safe.
Thank you for helping us to save the seals from a horrible fate.
Rebecca Aldworth is director of Canadian Wildlife Issues for The Humane Society of the United States.