April 2, 2013
Canada's Seal Slaughter: Progress against Continuing Horror
by Rebecca Aldworth
It's hard to believe this will be my 15th year of witnessing Canada's commercial slaughter of baby seals.
In that time, I've seen horrible things that I will never forget. Prevented by law from intervening on the ice, we have exposed images of animal suffering that have moved governments to ban seal products and companies to pledge to avoid Canadian seafood until the slaughter has been ended.
At the seal hunt, we are the eyes of the world, and your support has kept our cameras rolling.
Countless baby seals survive
Every year that we wage this campaign, hundreds of thousands of baby seals are spared, and the shocking videos we film of the seal hunt are the foundation of that work. With this evidence in hand, you helped us to convince the European Union, Russia, and Taiwan to close their borders to seal fur, and prices for seal skins in Canada crashed. Most sealers have chosen not to participate in the seal hunt in recent years as a result, and more than one million baby seals have been saved from unimaginable suffering.
Canada continues the slaughter
We have come so far that some are tempted to think we have already won. But we won't make that mistake. For even as the sealing industry is in ruins, it is planning to rebuild—with millions of dollars in government subsidies. The Canadian government is attacking the EU ban on seal products at the World Trade Organization, and working to find new markets elsewhere. And though the kill levels have declined, tens of thousands of baby seals still die every year while this hunt goes on.
We simply can't stop now, we've come too far and the stakes are too high. Right now, the baby seals are lying on the ice, blissfully unaware of the sealing boats gearing up for the kill.
You are the only protection they have.
Join our efforts
In 2013, HSI will be the only organization flying above the slaughter, filming what the sealers don't want the world to see. The baby seals need you now more than ever. You have stood with the Protect Seals team every year as we gather the evidence we need to shut this horrible slaughter down for good.
Rebecca Aldworth is director of Canadian Wildlife Issues for The Humane Society of the United States.