As Canada moves to reopen its controversial commercial seal hunt, one more market – India – bans seal skins

By on April 2, 2018 with 11 Comments

In the coming days, Canada is expected to open its commercial seal hunt, where defenseless, weeks-old pups are shot or battered to death with clubs. But we just got some terrific news about India banning the import of seal skins, eliminating yet another potential market for commercial seal skins.

Humane Society International and our partner groups have been able to reduce commercial sealing in Canada by as much as 90 percent in recent years, by closing international markets for seal products. Nearly three million seals have been spared the hunters’ clubs and guns as a result.

With its action, India joins 37 countries, including the United States, Russia, Mexico, Taiwan, Switzerland, and the 28 countries of the European Union, that have banned trade in seal skins and other products of commercial seal hunts for animal welfare or conservation reasons.

This ban in India is an especially significant win because, with western nations closing their markets, the Canadian commercial sealing industry is counting on developing alternate markets in the east for the seal fur, oil, and other products that so many nations refuse to buy.

India’s decision follows exhaustive campaigning for the ban by HSI/India and our partner group, People for Animals, asking the Indian government to take a clear moral stand by closing its doors to the trade of seal products. Last year, India banned the import of the skins of exotic animals and furs into the country.

In 2013 and 2014, the World Trade Organization twice upheld the rights of nations to restrict trade for animal welfare reasons.

Even so, the battle to stop the cruel Canadian commercial sea hunt is far from over. This year, Newfoundland sealers claim they want to club and shoot to death at least 80,000 seals, all to produce products no one wants to buy. Worse, the Canadian Sealers Association is lobbying the Canadian government to lift a decade-long freeze on issuing new commercial sealing licenses so the association can recruit and train a whole new generation of seal slaughterers.

The ambition of the commercial sealing industry to rebound is particularly egregious, given the devastating impacts of climate change on the ice-breeding seals who are the targets of this industrial scale slaughter. Harp seals rely on sea ice to give birth to and nurse their pups. But warming temperatures and increased storm activity are causing sea ice to break up and melt sooner in the season, increasing seal mortality.

That is what makes this week’s news from India so crucial. A nation of 1.3 billion people is saying no to cruel commercial seal hunts by banning the import of their skins.

There is simply no future in commercial seal slaughter. Most Canadians, and people all over the world, want Canada to end commercial sealing forever. Instead of putting more senseless subsidies into the commercial seal hunt, the Canadian government should invest in a fair transition program for commercial sealers and do more to encourage viable, humane, and sustainable economic alternatives such as marine ecotourism.

Beating and shooting defenseless, weeks-old wild animals for their fur is simply outmoded and out of touch with today’s values. And it certainly doesn’t belong in 2018.

Humane Society International, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Jenn says:

    This is unconscionable to say the least. So happy that India has banned seal products!
    But 80,000 seals deaths is still way too many.
    Not even 1 seal should be murdered !!

    While this is a step in the right direction, still a long way to go in this seal fight.

    All hunting needs to be banned !!

  2. Suzan Jackson says:

    Since there is no viable market for the product produced from this cruel process, why are they still doing it?
    Time to cease this annual habit and get re schooled for another more positive profession.
    Oh Canada! You can do much better than what you are continuing to do with your wealth of natural resources.

    • katherine logan says:

      Sadly, China still supports the seal slaughter and are now the number one market.

      • A says:

        That’s why no one should by any products made in China, the products made out of leather in China could be Seal, Dogs, Cats Sheep who knows what.

  3. Jocelyn Elliott says:

    Would be interesting to know how many seal skins were shipped to India, I would have to say zero, so this is really no big deal.

  4. Brian Moyst says:

    The commercial seal hunt is an outdated barbaric practice. 37 countries have banned the import of seal products. it is time for Canada to wake up and realize that the hunt makes Canada look horrible.

  5. rose brooks says:

    Canada does seem determined to keep up its blood-lust-fest even though nobody wants the results. I really think they are uneducable! Why carry out an ancient ritual which is well outgrown? Perhaps they enjoy being behind the times. They give that impression.

  6. Elisa says:

    All I keep thinking about is what must go through a persons mind while he is beating a baby seal to death. What on Earth makes him think that it’s OK to do that. It’s truly sickening. I strongly believe people who doing that has some kind of a mental issue. It’s just not normal to cause such a suffering even if it was for food nevermind for their fur which is almost a dead business anyway.. Sad…

  7. Charles Connolly says:

    The Canadian government and it’s citizens are barbarians. What a tragedy in these modern times we still have neanderthal savages masquerading as humans. The best way to voice our disapproval is to avoid buying ANY Canadian products or services. To hell with Canadian people.

  8. Mark Donner says:

    Stop calling this bloodbath atrocity a “hunt”. Call it what it is a nightmare genocide that Canada is guilty of which is equal to Nazi Germany.’s holocaust. Canada is no civilized country, their insane government backs some of the most viciously cruel practices on Earth. Along with the bloodbath seal pup massacres, they import pet and race horses to torture and slaughter them, they import dog fur from China and they have an army of demonically evil trappers and hunters. Canada is equal in viciousness and cruelty to countries like China and should be boycotted back to the stone age. Trudeau is a tad better than that psychopath Harper which isn’t saying much. Trudeau like Harper supports their filthiest oil on Earth being exported anywhere he can send the planet destroying stuff, he hasn’t stopped the clearcutting of northern boreal forests, Canadian mining companies are still in violation of human rights and causing environmental destruction in South America, and he’s also an animal hater like most Canadians. Trudeau is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (not to disparage wolves they are far more civilized than Canadian government filth)



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