The HSUS’s ProtectSeals team has returned to Canada, where the slaughter of baby seals is set to resume tomorrow. As our team makes preparations to document the hunt, I’ve asked Rebecca Aldworth to provide an update.
© Nigel Barker
A seal pup seen on March 27.
While Canada’s commercial seal hunt continues into its third week, we can take some comfort in the fact that many of the baby seals have so far been spared the hunters’ clubs and guns. The Canadian government has reported that 2,900 seals have been killed to date—far less than would have been by this time in a normal year.
But tomorrow everything will change.
Newfoundland sealing boats are already making their way through the ice into the Gulf of St. Lawrence (map). Tomorrow, half an hour before dawn, the killing will begin in earnest. The Canadian government estimates 100 large sealing boats from Newfoundland, along with 200 smaller boats, will take part in the slaughter in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On Saturday the hunt in the Front, off the northeastern coast of Newfoundland, will open, with hundreds more vessels moving into position to kill the seals.
We will be there, continuing to bear witness to this unfolding tragedy. It is our hope that the evidence we gather this year will be enough to shut down this slaughter forever.
But even as we prepare for tomorrow’s traumatic events, there is good news. Our efforts to close markets around the world are clearly having an impact. The prices paid to sealers has fallen again this year—down to $33 for a flawless skin, compared to a reported $105 in 2006. Sealers are saying it may not be worth their while to take their boats out into the treacherous ice floes for such a low return. We can only hope that the trend so far this year will continue, and that some of the baby seals will be spared a horrible fate.
For those unlucky seals who are met by hunters ready to club, shoot and skin them, we’ll be there. Our cameras will document what the Canadian government and the sealing industry does not want the world to see: the horrendous cruelty that has always existed in this brutal slaughter, no matter how the spin doctors in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans try to cover it up.
Thank you for standing with us through this difficult time. With your support, we will continue our fight to save the seals, for as long as it takes to end this brutal slaughter for good.