As I’ve traveled around the country on the book tour, so many people have asked me whether we’ll ever succeed in ending the commercial seal hunt in Canada. They’ve been following our global campaign, spreading the news about the cruelty, and dutifully spreading the word about the boycott of Canadian seafood.
I tell them that seeing the end of the hunt is one of my greatest wishes, but we’re not there yet. I do, however, remind them that we’ve made remarkable progress from the time we launched the campaign in 2004 and 2005, when there were more than 300,000 baby seals killed each spring and so much of the ice in Atlantic Canada was stained with the blood of these newborns. In 2011, there were fewer than 40,000 seals killed, and that’s down from about 65,000 the year before (see chart below showing the government’s quota and the number of seals killed). That’s dramatic and real progress. Lives have been saved—hundreds of thousands of them each year.
The biggest factor is that people around the world are declining to buy fur pelts from baby seals. Markets are closing. Pelt prices are dropping. And seal hunters have no financial incentive to kill the babies.
So we are 80 percent there. But we cannot relent or relax. It’s a stubborn industry, and it’s been revived before. It’s our moment to finish off the hunt and end it once and for all. Let’s continue to fight for the end of this barbaric killing.