March 23, 2009
Canadian Seal Slaughter Begins
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island — On Monday, the Canadian commercial seal kill began off the East coast of Canada. Humane Society International was there to document the bloody scene.
"Against all odds, our helicopters reached the ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, battling freezing fog and driving snow to reach the carnage," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of HSI/Canada. "Just weeks ago we stood on these ice floes with newborn seals. Today, the ice is awash in blood. We can see the blood and carcasses from hundreds of feet in the air. The commercial seal slaughter has begun once again. It is devastating to be here, even more so to know the horrible fate that awaits so many baby seals in the coming days."
Overwhelmingly, international public sentiment is against allowing the commercial killing of seals. The European Parliament will vote in just a few weeks on a proposal to ban trade in seal products in the European Union, potentially removing one of the most important markets for Canadian seal products. Russia recently announced a ban on the slaughter of seals younger than 1 year old, citing public support for ending the killing.
Ninety-seven percent of the seals killed in Canada are less than 3 months old, and most are just 1 month old or younger at the time of slaughter. Veterinarians, independent journalists and animal-welfare observers continue to report unacceptable cruelty at the Canadian seal hunt, including seal pups cut open while conscious; seals showing responses to pain after being impaled on metal hooks; and wounded seals left to suffer in agony. Veterinary experts have repeatedly concluded that Canada's commercial seal hunt is inherently inhumane because of the environmental conditions in which it operates and the speed at which the killing must be conducted.
Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI/Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI/Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International — one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than ten million members and constituents globally — on the web at hsicanada.ca.