Hovering Over Hell

By on March 25, 2009 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Rebecca Aldworth, our lead campaigner against Canada’s cruel slaughter of baby seals, has just returned from a difficult day of documenting the hunt. I asked her to share her thoughts, since it’s so important that we tell this story to the world. Here’s her report.


Today was very hard.

Sealers from the Magdalen Islands (map) had already killed most of the seals allotted to them in their quota by the end of yesterday. So it was likely they would kill the rest today very quickly.

We would only have a few hours to film the cruel reality of this slaughter.

Our helicopters left at dawn, battling gale force winds to reach the killing zone. On the horizon, I could see sealing vessels working their way through the ice floes, slaughtering as many seals as they could before the quota was filled. We came closer, and the blood began to appear. Giant pools of it, spread all across the ice. Every few hundred feet, dozens of carcasses were abandoned in macabre piles.

Baby seal on bloody ice in Canada
© The HSUS

Once we reached the vessels and our cameras were rolling, it was only a minute before a sealer violated the Marine Mammal Regulations (guidelines intended to reduce cruelty). He didn’t bother to check to ensure the animal was unconscious before slicing her open. All around, terrified seals attempted to crawl away from the blows of the clubs, but they had no escape.

We filmed everything we could, but within an hour, the sealers had reached their quota.

As the vessels headed back to shore, we landed to film the aftermath. On the ice: silence. The sealers had clubbed to death almost every seal in sight. Open graves of skinned baby seals covered the ice in all directions. So many sightless eyes followed us across the ice as we moved through the area.

Just ahead of us, we saw two live seal pups—left alone in the carnage. These babies were saved by their white fur, which almost entirely covered them. But their salvation is temporary. On Friday, the hunting begins again, and hundreds of thousands more seals will die.

We passed one pup who had crawled into a small cave formed by ice. He hid his head as we approached, clearly terrified. I tried to talk softly to him, to let him know that it would be okay. But he just lay there, hiding his head. This three-week old seal pup had just seen hundreds of others beaten to death in front of him. To him, people now mean clubs and violence and pain.

Today, we filmed this horror—the tiny carcasses such a stark reminder that this is a slaughter for fur. They died by the thousands here, painfully, just to produce fur coats that no one needs.

On Friday, we leave for the second area of killing, and I know what we will see there. But I also know that we are close to ending this, and that we may never have to witness this kind of cruelty again.

As we get ready to leave for the remote area where this next phase will occur, please be a part of our team. Visit humanesociety.org/protectseals to find out what you can do to stop this cruelty forever, and help us spread the word.

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