Seal skins are being stockpiled because almost nobody in the world wants them. Yet the killing will proceed, only because of the unwitting largesse of the Canadian taxpayer. It’s an appalling example of government mismanagement at its absolute worst. I’ve asked Rebecca Aldworth, our Canadian director, for a dispatch from the ice floes (sent this morning):
I'm flying over the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence where sealers are clubbing and shooting every baby seal they find.
There are few words to describe the feelings of frustration and helplessness that overcome me when we film this slaughter. We hover a thousand feet in the air, bearing witness to horrible suffering through monitors. I watch as the sealers aim their rifles, wishing with everything in me that we could warn the unsuspecting pups lolling on the ice meters away. But we can't.
Instead, our cameras roll as the gunshot rings out, as the wounded baby seal thrashes around in agony and terror, as the sealer jumps onto the ice and runs towards the defenseless pup, club raised high.
Out here, the only defense these seals have is our cameras, and the outrage that Canadians and people the world over feel at the images we record.
The good news is that global opposition has come very close to ending the cruelty. This year, the sealing industry complained loudly that we have successfully closed markets for seal products and no one was prepared to buy seal skins. But then, at the last moment, the government intervened and provided millions of dollars of financing to a company to buy the skins just so they can be stockpiled.
Our only consolation is the knowledge that this kind of subsidy cannot be maintained in the longer term. And in many ways, this subsidy is a clear sign that the sealing industry is doomed, and it is on life support only because of a government-funded respirator.
Now, our work begins to ensure a true and final end to the seal kill. With the images of the 2012 seal slaughter, we will convince more nations to ban their trade in seal products. We will inspire more companies to join our Protect Seals seafood boycott. And we will persuade more government officials to work with sealers and their communities to implement a sealing industry buyout.
We need you more than ever to help bring this senseless killing to an end. Please stand with Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States as we work to make Canada's commercial seal slaughter history.
P.S. Also check out and share our new seals infographic.