Canada’s vast icescapes run red with the slaughter of 275.000 baby seals, alone on the ice, calling out to their mothers, skinned alive, clubbed or shot to death for their fur. Welcome to Canada!
The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans has stipulated that this year, 275.000 seals are to be slaughtered, many in the most inhumane conditions, despite claims to the contrary by the seal hunters themselves. IFAW’s President and CEO, Fred O’Regan, declares that “Year after year IFAW hunt observers document abuses such as live seals being hooked and dragged across the ice or shot and left to suffer before being clubbed again some time later”.
As opposition to this barbaric practice, which sullies the international image of Canada, grows both inside the country and in the international community, a number of nations and putting their money where their mouth is, introducing legislation to ban seal products. Among these nations this year are Germany, Italy and Austria, which join the U.S.A, Mexico, Croatia, Belgium, The Netherlands and Slovenia, which already have bans on importing seal products.
The European Union is considering a ban on seal products, in addition to the ban on white seal pelts introduced in 1983. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas is “looking into” the inhumane practice of killing baby seals and will deliver his report later this year. However, to date EU legislation is half-hearted: while the number of seals authorised to be slaughtered rises from 270.000 to 275.000, the European Union recommends that the animals are dead before they are skinned.
The argument that the seals are killed to help the recovery of cod is nonsense, since Atlantic Cod represents perhaps three per cent of the diet of harp seals (the species being culled).