Baby Seal Clubbing: One Canadian Outraged, Angry, Saddened, and Ashamed
No one can watch a documentary or see photographs of Baby Seal Clubbing without flinching in distaste and cringing with sorrow. Cruelty to Animals in any form whatsoever sickens me. It outrages me that it continues. It angers me that any human being can justify it for any reason. I am ashamed being a Canadian that my glorious country and my brothers and sisters on the east coast of Canada still participate in this “slaughter”.
If even 2% of baby seals that are "harvested" by clubbing, face a painful death, it should be banned!
There has to be a better way to kill seals so that "harvesting" them for their fur (for shame), their skin, and their oil so east coast and native Canadians can live, becomes an acceptable farming technique.
Understand me: I do not suggest that we have to ban the harvesting of seals. No. I am saying that we must cease killing seals in the manner we now use.
Although Not Mollified, I Have a Better-Informed Understanding of Why it Continues
I have found out why this “slaughter” continues every year in the St. Lawrence River and off the coast of two of Canada’s eastern provinces. At least, how the Department of Fisheries and Oceans justifies this “harvest”.
See: www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Go to Fisheries > Seals and Sealing in Canada > Frequently Asked Questions about Canada’s Seal Harvest
And I have found out what the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) reports on the annual seal hunt. Although I am aware that the Canadian government funds the CBC, I do make the further assumption that CBC reporting practices are as unbiased as possible. This is a 2009 story but it is interesting.
Go to External Links:
http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/seal-phoque/index-eng.htm and http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?pubmedid=12240525
And see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_hunting
What I have Learned
- Seal “hunting” continues to be allowed in Northern and Eastern Canada as a way of supporting native Canadians (Inuit Canadians) and as a way of helping to support those people from smaller communities in Eastern Canada where seal products provide 30% to 35% of their annual earnings.
- Seal ‘hunting” is tightly regulated by issuing only so many licences and only to those who need to make a living from seal “hunting”.
- The seal “hunt” or “harvest” is overseen on a 24/7 basis by Canadian authorities. And the seal “harvest” is also watched very closely by Canadian veterinary groups that attempt to ensure the “3-step-process” for harvesting seals is closely followed.
- The beautiful, so cute 10-day old baby seals, the ones that are so white with big eyes, can no longer be “harvested”. They have been banned for a number of years now. Baby seals can not be touched until they have moulted and have left the mother (no longer need the mother’s nurturing). Although, at this time, I understand they are only six weeks to 2 months old.
- Older “baby” seals are not as attractive to those who buy the fur.
- Seals provide useful products as well as fur: meat, skin and oil. The oil is bought predominantly by Americans for its Omega 3 value. The fur and skins are bought mostly by Norwegians. The meat is bought mostly by Asians for pet food.
- This “harvesting” of seals is not pushing them into the endangered category. Nor is this “harvesting” helping to restore the cod fish levels.
- Because of global warming, ice flows (where the babies are born) are not found in the old locations. Seals must travel further north to deliver their offspring.
- 75% of the Canadian public is outraged by the seal “harvest” and want it banned completely.
- I agree with 75% of the Canadian public.
Cruelty to Animals
The issue of cruelty to animals is still very much a part of the seal “harvest” in Canada. And, so it should be. Although efforts are being made to ensure the “harvesting” of seals is accomplished in the most humane ways possible, the reality is that about 2% of seals “harvested” are not yet dead when they reach the boats.
Can we tolerate a 2% rate of cruelty to animals?
The issue of the Canadian “harvesting” of seals is fired up by the use of the incredibly cute pictures of white baby seals.
Is it wrong for animal rights activists to continue to use this image when white furred baby seals can no longer be “harvested”? Would you stop using this (extremely poignant) image in the fight to protect animal rights?