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The Canadian Seal Slaughter: An Expensive and Bloody Government Boondoggle

Posted by at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (27)


The Canadian Seal Slaughter: An Expensive and Bloody Government Boondoggle by Steve MartindaleWith the Winter Olympics just behind us, I could not help but write this post to remind people about the abhorrent annual seal slaughter in Canada that will be starting soon after the world turns its attention away from Vancouver.

How much does it cost to slaughter a Canadian seal? Well, it costs the seals—who are bludgeoned or shot to death on the ice—their lives. And the average pay for a sealer trying to make a buck in 2009 was just C$200. The Canadian government could help sealers find other ways of making a living, don’t you think? Fur is dead,  after all, and the demand for Canadian seal fur has dropped precipitously as a result of the U.S. and European Union bans on seal products. Instead, the Canadian government is spending millions of dollars of taxpayers’ hard-earned money to subsidize this massacre. Canada is even trying to sell seal products to China,  a market that Canadian Fisheries Minister Gail Shea says represents “tremendous potential for the seal meat industry in Canada.” Huh? I’d say that a tremendous potential for a seal is living free on the ice and in the water, eating, growing up, mating, having some fun, and enjoying a few sunsets along the way! Not having life crushed and stolen at a young age for the sake of China’s fashion and food industries.

The commercial seal slaughter, which accounts for 97 percent of seals killed each year, is not a subsistence trade but rather the result of extreme government waste. Canada spends more than C$7 million on the massacre every year through Coast Guard support, pro-sealing campaigns, and travel. The country also spends millions on market development for the industry. Profit from the slaughter barely exceeded C$1 million in 2009. In Newfoundland, income from sealing accounts for less than 1 percent of the economy. Political powers in Canada are pushing their agenda at the expense of not only the seals but also the Canadian people.

The cost of support ships alone is steep. The estimated cost to run the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker ships, accompanying vessels, and aircraft that assist the sealing ships is C$4.7 million each year. In 2007, the Coast Guard spent an additional C$3.41 million freeing more than 100 ships that became stuck in the ice, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans handed out C$7.9 million to owners of damaged boats.

The Canadian government is also spending millions of taxpayer dollars to fight the European Union’s ban on seal products (estimated cost: C$10 million) and to market its bloody industry in Asia. Canada’s Foreign Affairs and International Trade Department has spent an estimated C$362,000 on an “Advocacy Plan for Europe on Canada’s Seal Hunt,” which includes funding travel costs for officials and foreign journalists, building Web sites, translating materials, and screening pro-sealing documentaries. The department also posted a C$75,000 contract for a social-media adviser to promote the seal slaughter on Facebook and Twitter.

All this money could go a long way in helping sealers and industry workers directly by developing alternate employment opportunities in the Atlantic provinces. The seal slaughter makes no sense on any grounds, but it is treated as if the financial destiny of Canada depends on its success.

Underwriting the seal trade amounts to bailing water out of a sinking ship rather than rescuing those who are aboard. But you can count on this: With your help, PETA will continue to campaign against the commercial seal slaughter in Canada until not one seal faces death by gunshot or by a crushing blow to the skull with a hakapik or club.

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    Dianne Douglas says...

    March 5th, 2010, 3:13 pm

    “If all the beasts were gone, man would die from loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast, happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of earth.” Chief Seattle

    Every life has a purpose. All animals are individuals and they have feelings and thoughts and they suffer the pain and the joy that we do. They are entitled and they deserve an opportunity to live.

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

    Maggie says...

    March 5th, 2010, 7:56 pm

    SHAME ON THEM FOR CONTINUING THIS HORRIBLE SLAUGHTERING !!!…THE VIDEOS WILL BREAK YOUR HEART, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE A HEART…

    David says...

    March 6th, 2010, 2:13 am

    Wow! All that money spent in Canadian tax dollars and barely $1 million in return for it last year…Sounds like the Canadian government is trying to borrow a few moves from Washington DC’s playbook!

    Carrie says...

    March 6th, 2010, 6:33 am

    Its physically sickening to think of such a horrible thing happening and the fact people are all for it says more about their personal defects because as an animal is cute and adorable you want to care for it and love it not harm it. People with psychological issues like this should have medical help not be allowed to go out and about where defenceless animals are so that they can harm them. If a person is feared to harm another then he/she is locked away in prison or in a mental facility where no one can be harmed so why isnt is the same for animals? they are not lower than us, they need our love, caring and support and to protect them like we would our own family is something needing to be considered.

    Peace says...

    March 6th, 2010, 12:12 pm

    Most humans are all about the money, they are selfish, heartless, and have no guilt.

    How can you beat baby seals to death? The baby seal’s mother watches as their babies are beat to death. I only hope that one day these monsters(hunters) get the same respect back that they give to these seals.

    Stacey says...

    March 7th, 2010, 5:53 pm

    We have so many Canadian actresses/actors here in the U.S.,
    Ryan Reynold, Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, just to name a few who have been in the spotlight, I wish they would bond together and work to ask the Canadian government to shut this down. Its cruel, unnecessary, and heart wrenching to watch. A seal never hurt anything. We must speak up for those who have no voice.

    Lisa says...

    March 12th, 2010, 5:33 pm

    As a Canadian, I am disgusted and ashamed that my country continues to partake in this abhorrant practice. Canada is so progressive in so many ways, but so archaic in this issue.

    Kathy Alvarado says...

    March 12th, 2010, 7:02 pm

    I totally agree with the other comments, The Canadian Government are run by heartless, selfish, greedy people with no regard to innocent life. Everything man touches he destroys…… there are only a few that have hearts and they break every time an innocent animal is beaten, neglected, abused or killed. You would have to be evil for this not to break your heart to watch as a baby seal, helpless and so innocent, is being beaten to death, while their mother watches in desperate attempts to get to her baby oh my God. it’s no wonder why so many bad things happen man reaps that in which he sowes. I hope and pray that those who do such malicious and unthinkable acts get back what they dish out.

    Bob Fisher says...

    March 12th, 2010, 8:24 pm

    I am amazed at how cruel Humans can be!

    FRED says...

    March 12th, 2010, 11:44 pm

    The biggest threat to this world is not earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanos, etc. It is mankind and his relentless disregard for the planet and all of God’s Creations. The almighty dollar trumps over everything else.

    carol tuskan says...

    March 13th, 2010, 1:17 am

    God has a special punishment for those who abuse animals. He loves all the animals He created.

    Linda says...

    March 13th, 2010, 3:49 am

    Wow! The Canadian government spends nearly $5 million dollars to supply Coast Guard ships to assist with the seal hunt? Sounds a tad expensive to me for what I understand to be a dieng industry. I wonder if Canadian taxpayers are aware of this.

    Nancy says...

    March 13th, 2010, 11:19 am

    As a Canadian, it appals me that our governments, past and present, turn a blind eye to this slaughter. Every year I write to all of these bozos and they send the usual canned reply. I have demanded my tax dollars spent on this slaughter be returned so I can donate it to a worthy cause to stop these hunts. I fail to see how the people killing the seals can sleep at night knowing what they have done. These babies can’t run from their killers, they are easy prey for these mindless people. The recent seal dinner attended by our politicians was the most appalling thing I’ve read and seen. They don’t deserve to be in positions of authority, they lack compassion and only have money on their minds. I will continue to write, donate until this insanity is history.

    John says...

    March 13th, 2010, 1:04 pm

    I can’t believe this still goes on today. To blundent to death a small helpless animal that is so defenceless and never hurt anything is a crime.

    Oliver Dykes says...

    March 15th, 2010, 3:10 pm

    This is a revealing article: the Canadian seal slaughter is not only viciously cruel, but is also a huge fraud on the Canadian taxpayer, especially with the enormous cost of ice=breaker ships to break the ice.

    The indications are that the extremist government currently in power in Ottawa is using the tax dollars of Canadian taxpayers generally to subsidise (hugely) a dying (and cruel) industry so as to buy itself votes in the East, and keep itself in power. An appalling scandal, the worst of short-term, callous, cynical policies.

    mike schwartz says...

    March 26th, 2010, 5:54 pm

    Why can’t you people use some of the considerable brain power you obsentibly posess….and stop this idiocy….
    It is nothing short of disgusting….
    We, speaking for a vast mahority, as absolutely shocked and dismayed that you poeple allow this sort of atrocity to occur.
    You really, really, really…should be ashamed.

    Vera Cristofani says...

    March 29th, 2010, 5:29 pm

    Is everybody here vegan? There is not a single difference between seals and all other animals slaughtered for food and used for human purposes. And they are all preeeetty cute too!

    angel smith says...

    March 29th, 2010, 5:37 pm

    i think that the killing of these animals is a cruel, unjust act. I realized a while ago how cruel and stupid humans rly are, but everytime i find a reason why, it still surprises me.

    alex gerry says...

    March 29th, 2010, 5:58 pm

    Shame on the Canadian government to refuse to listen the public outcry the world over. SHAME ON YOU!
    Canada has been lobbied for decades about this and is still not taking notice. Brigitte Bardot pleaded with them for years and years, trying to make them see sense and stop acting like barbarians. The only answer to this is to kick them where it hurts by boycotting all Canadian products and cancel all tourism. Which is exactly what more and more people around the world are doing. That way they’ll have to take notice eventually.

    eaw says...

    March 29th, 2010, 7:03 pm

    Clearly, there are many reasons to stop the hunt: 1. Canada receives a lot of bad press, 2. Both the EU and the US governments have asked Canada to stop (and Russia has given up its hunt), 3. it’s not cost effective (as discussed in this article), 4. it’s unpopular with most Canadians. So why do they continue? Obviously, they are not concerned about killing baby seals and how awful that looks. What’s their incentive? My guess is that they see the seals as a threat to the fishing industry. The collapse of the cod population in 1992 shows how inadequate the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is at population management. Seals eat cod and the cod population has never rebounded due to human overfishing, but it’s so much easier to blame the seals. The DFO, which is the government body that allows the hunt and sets the quota using overly optimistic statistical models, has repeatedly shown poor judgment on population control for multiple species: cod, bluefin tuna, etc. The seals appear to be yet another species that the DFO is willing to destroy.

    Maude Duncan says...

    March 29th, 2010, 7:38 pm

    And lets not forget fellow Canadians, the Liberals also ate the Seal Flesh at the Parlimentary resteraunt. The New Democrat’s are the only party that cares about animals. Vote ND, next election.

    Maude Duncan says...

    March 29th, 2010, 7:42 pm

    Oliver Dykes says it best !! You are so right , it’s all about votes in the east. our votes in the west don’t even count, thats why they don’t care about the west. The election is over before our votes are even counted.

    Cin Pineda says...

    March 29th, 2010, 7:49 pm

    I SAY EVERYONE IN OFFICE ALLOWING THIS TO CONTINUE, SHOULD BE IMPEACHED,REMOVED AND IMMEDIATLEY FIRED!! ANIMALS DON’T VOTE**BUT WE DO** WHEN IT’S TIME TO VOTE,,, PEOPLE- WE NEED TO GET THEM OUT OF OFFICE AS WELL AS THEIR FRIENDS AND ANYONE WHO’S CONNECTED TO THEM AS WELL!! I REALIZE THIS WILL LEAVE A SKELATON CREW- BUT AT LEAST IT WILL BE A CLEAN PARTY. WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN… VOTING DAY SHOULD BE KNOWN AS “VOTE AND DEMAND” DAY FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE. ONE STEP AT A TIME, WE HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE-HOW ‘BOUT FOR THE ANIMALS,?…

    April Wells says...

    March 29th, 2010, 9:37 pm

    Makes me ashamed to be a Canadian.
    I feel helpless.

    Megan says...

    March 29th, 2010, 10:01 pm

    I think that with each seal product someone buys, they should have to see what happened to get it. I bet that would stop alot of people from purchasing the products, and would bring out all of the heartless people.

    Ieva says...

    March 30th, 2010, 11:19 am

    ou god! i cant believe Canada are stupid very stupid! with part they think? everybody have chance to live and also animals need enjoy life!

    Ivy says...

    April 1st, 2010, 10:54 am

    I think it’s high time for our Canadian government to re-invest those funds into actual worthwhile projects for its citizens – health care, education, and basic quality of life initiatives, to say the very least. We’re spending money we really can’t afford to sacrifice on torture and slaughter, while effectively stealing tax dollars from supporting our nation’s hard-working citizens. What a shame.

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