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  • Mar
  • 18

Winning the Fight for Seals

Posted by at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (55)

©2011 Jupiterimages Corporation

If you’ve been following the animal rights movement as long as I have, you no doubt remember when the campaign to end Canada’s despicable seal slaughter caught the world’s attention. A public outcry forced Canada to ban killing white coat baby seals in 1987, and the sealing industry essentially collapsed. Then in 1996, the Canadian government started subsidizing the massacre in a desperate attempt to rebuild it. As a result, the number of seals killed each spring began to rise.

Just as they did when images of fluffy baby seals with enormous eyes first started capturing hearts, club-wielding sealers can still kill baby seals—but now they must wait until after the seal pups have started molting their white natal fur, which is at about 2 weeks of age. About 95 percent of seals killed during Canada’s annual seal slaughter are between 1 and 3 1/2 months of age.

Fortunately, because of recent developments, the number of seals killed each year is falling. Here in the U.S., the sale of seal fur and flesh has been banned since 1972. In 2010, the European Union (EU) joined the U.S., passing a ban on the importation of seal products from Canada. Despite the fact that the “kill quota” for harp seals continues to increase each year by the tens of thousands, the actual number of seals killed has been steadily dropping in recent years. Even before the EU ban, processors had reported having two to three years of seal skins stockpiled that they were unable to sell. During last year’s slaughter, many sealers stayed home because they were unable to find buyers for the skins stripped from seal pups.

But Canada isn’t taking this lying down. It recently launched a challenge to the EU ban, claiming that it could hurt chances for ratification of the proposed free trade agreement between Canada and the EU. Just this month, Canada seemed poised to spend another $10 million to fund a new challenge to the World Trade Organization in an attempt to overturn the EU’s ban on Canadian seal products.

Even as the EU expresses its distaste for seal slaughter cruelty, Canada is desperately hoping to recoup lost profits by pushing seal meat in China. But, as the UK’s Guardian reports, this approach may be backfiring

Beyond the cruelty of the seal slaughter lies an economic irony. Canada is believed to have spent $4.3 million over the past two years just to provide Coast Guard support for the slaughter. Yet, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans reported that in 2010, the gross revenues from the seal massacre in Labrador and Newfoundland, where roughly 90 percent of the sealers live, was a meager $1.3 million.

In addition to the money squandered on the slaughter itself, the Canadian government has spent tens of millions of “marketing” dollars over the years on everything from “seal meat luncheons” to lavish trips to China to produce seal fur fashion shows. But consumers continue to reject seal products.

Considering that an overwhelming number of Canadians (86 percent) believe that the EU has every right to ban their country’s seal products and that a majority want to see an end to the seal massacre, it’s certainly time for Canada to give up this barbaric slaughter for good.

For more information on the slaughter and what you can do to help stop it, please check out CanadasShame.com.

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  • The degradation of the human animal begins when the human animal exploits, kills or eats the nonhuman animal. These are our kindred spirits and we do not need to exploit, kill or eat them to stay alive. If you believe you have a soul and that it can be stained by what actions you take in this life, then to defend all animals from exploitation, killing or eating them is our highest level of goodness for our soul.

  • Disgusted says:

    All valid points, but regarrdless of what the Canadian govt. says, the way this is done is sooo cruel and DISGUSTING! How can any human being take part in this unless they are truly demented! I am pretty sure Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer, started out by torturing animals and I put these people in the same category!

  • Raj C says:

    Seals are beautiful and defenceless animals, humans are a cruel and heartless species, the only living beings who kill for pleasure, fashion and sport. Let us show our other more lovable and humane side by first stopping this killing and later by protecting and caring for all the wonderful creations of God. Canada are you listening and will you take the lead ?

  • Elizabeth says:

    It is extremely disappointing that Canadian government has been blind and unemotional for such a long time towards animal cruelty. What is wrong with you OH CANADA ? ……..shame !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tom says:

    Greed! by all evolved! Shame on you ! If i had the power, all you animal killers would be put in prison for life!

  • Melanie says:

    To all Canadians here:We are in an election-now is the time to vote for the seals. both Liberals and conservatives have proven over the years that they don’t care about the seals.
    Now is the time to be heard with our votes!!!

  • louise says:

    Shame,Shame and Shame again.i have several time commented on this topic.i can as animal lover never understand mens cruelty towards animals.
    and to think that the canadian government wants to go to china and try and sell the fur to them.the chinese government are not exactly humane and animal friendly.is nothing sacret anymore?iis it only the bloodmoney that counts?
    i have always understood that the canadian people were a civilised nation,
    what has changed?iam iso wrong?once again shame on the canadian government.also be aware that nature eventually will always hit back.

  • flory De Voe says:

    Have a heart and pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase stop these cruelty. I don’t think we would like to be treated that way as humans. They are voiceless. If you believe in God and have a conscience you wouldn’t commit such atrocities. I beg you to stop. There is more honest way to make money.
    Thank you.

  • caron says:

    I live in the UK and will not visit Canada or buy Canadian seafood while this horror is happening to seals. I do not blame the Canadian people, but the Canadian Government (Harper/Shea etc). However, I do wish that more Canadian people would protest about it. It wwould be a wonderful tourist attraction to see these baby seals. The Government could make some money out of that instead of murdering these beautiful innocent creatures. I would gladly pay to see the seals. It would be wonderful. I hope that the Government are not re-elected, and that a new one will ban the hunt. Thanks to PETA and all the other great organisations for bringing this to the attention of people around the world.

  • Tina says:

    Non-Canadians should not visit Canada as tourists and we should ban all products from Canada. This is about money. The barbarians make money off the skins of these poor animals. Instead, Canada should replace the hunt with some type of creative alternative (non-abusive to animals) that might be profitable. Their actions are beyond sick and it just bogles the mind that people could be so cruel. And if consumers didn’t purchase these skins there wouldn’t be a demand and any need to kill for the slaughter, not that there is any need. Theses people are sick and should be ashamed of themselves to attack innocent creatures.

  • Janie says:

    I can’t believe this cruel slaughter has been happening for years and years! Baby seals have every right to be here like we all do. Their innocence, the look in their eyes when the killer wields the club, they don’t know they are in danger all the way up to the moment before that club cracks their skulls. Just in that moment. That one single moment before their life ends, they know that we as humans have betrayed them. Can’t we put a stop to this betrayal and mass murder? Please God, this horror must stop!

  • Katy says:

    I am a Canadian, an animal rights activist (although only in the last 2 years) and live in the Ottawa area. I have had the time during this past winter to put some information together. I believe the Fed. Gov. is promoting the seal hunt to maintain the status quo on the island of Newfoundland and in the maritime provinces. That bit amounts to much needed votes. There are actually quite a large number of workers from the coastal towns of Newfoundland who work in road construction and mining in Labrador – there are also quite a number who work in the oil sands in Alberta. There is much to be done in the east coast that needn’t involve killing seals, or fishing, for that matter. Stephen Harper just poured a ton of money into the hydro electric projects in Churchill Falls, Labrador (much of New York city gets it’s electricity from Lab. and Quebec.) The above mentioned mining is iron ore and hugely important as a major export. Then of course, there is off-shore oil in the waters off Newfoundland. So, to sell the world the story that bludgeoning baby seals is an economic necessity is all smoke and mirrors. It’s about turning Canada into a major exporter of non-renewable resources and energy. For me, this SNAFU makes the attrocities even more horrific. I am an angry Canadian. Please, boycott Canadian seafood!

  • Peggy McCay says:

    The cruel and brutal slaughter of baby seals is a blot on Canada’s good name. For the reason that it is bloody, cruel, and inhumane, please I beg you to put a stop to it!
    Meggy McCay, Actress on Days of Our Lives, NBC-TV

  • Jack says:


  • RipleyC says:

    As a Canadian, I am deeply angered by the absolute disregard and disrespect that my government shows on this and many other issues. Please know that many Canadians want this hunt ended and that there is a member of the Canadian Senate, Mac Harb, who has been fighting vigorously to end the seal hunt and introduced a bill in this regard. Canada is in the middle of a federal election at the moment and, unfortunately, it seems many Canadians are oblivious to the damage being done and the almost criminal behavior of the Harper government. I’m asking all of you out there to PUSH HARDER and BE LOUDER. Do not allow my government to get away with this or any other crime against the environment!

  • Cynthia says:

    I watched some of the footage from the HSUS “Live from the Ice” and what I saw made me cry! There are very few pups out on the iceflows and the few “survivors” are being shot with shotguns, then the sealers are jumping onto the ice, beating them, throwing them on to their bots while they are still fully concious, then skinning them. My God..what the hell is wrong with these people? No one wnats to wear skins/fur of dead pup seals or eat the meat. Enough already…Canada, quit subsidizing this dispicable slaughter of 2-3 week old pups. For God’s sake..they are still nursing!!! Leave them alone and find another line of work!!!! Shame on you!!

  • Toni says:

    Everyone, please spread the word, i dont think most people know this is still going on…The entire world needs to get involved to stop this viscious and unnecessary slaughter.
    Ban fur ! Save the seals and let all the animals keep their coats !

  • rhonda says:

    I agree with all of the above comments. And will boycott anything made in Canada. The Canadians need to vote in humane leaders if they want respect from the the civilized world. This cruel barbaric practice of killing these baby seals is totally unacceptable and must STOP! ” The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Mahatma Gandhi

  • Mandy79 says:

    I am Canadian and the fact that our beautiful, and vast country doesn’t STOP this massacre, makes my skin crawl and makes me nauseous. We have an amazing amount of resources and gorgeous animals, and we do nothing to protect them. The fact that the Canadian government cares more about lining their pockets and keeping this primitive, inhumane business alive, is disgusting. I dont know how they sleep at night.
    Feeding China’s demands, just goes to show you that we prioritize money over the environment. When are we going to learn????????? HARPER YOU BETTER START GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT, KEEPING IT SAFE AND CLEAN, AND KEEPING OUR LAND, WATER AND WILDLIFE SAFE AND PROTECTED. CONSERVATION IS THE ANSWER TO OUR FUTURE!!!!!!!

  • Barbara says:

    It is beyond me how any human being can kill a beautiful innocent animal of any kind to begin with. Clubbing these gorgeous little creatures takes the cake. How can they live with themselves, no compassion for animal life, thats how. I do NOT and will NOT buy any fish that comes from Canada as long as this barbaric slaughter continues, nor spend one red cent in that country.

  • Andrea says:

    STOP BUYING without knowing! If the industry is the only potential power to paralyze our awareness and consciousness versus all living beings… than our only protest manifests in total absence of consummating their products, either direct or indirect! We can sign endless petitions, as we do since years and over and over, but only strict neglect to consume anything that contents any form of sufferance is the deal! Understanding the vicious ways the business takes!BOYCOTT is the life saving answer. NO to anything death sells!

  • Jan says:

    I agree with all of the posts. If we are truly not being heard, then Canadians must organize a LARGE protest. There is an election in May. The timing could not be better. Any takers???

  • Jack says:




  • Lori says:

    What a national disaster! In the year 2011 the seal slaughter continues. It’s horrific and disgusting! Canada you should be ashamed! Please STOP this most cruel torture of these sweet innocent animals. Earn back respect that your country deserves!

  • Ericka says:

    What PETA doesn’t explain here is that the seal catches are declining because hundreds of thousands are drowning due to the effects of global warming, so there are not enough seals. The ice floes are so small that can’t support the weight of a 2 weeks old harp seals. How can this be good news????

    The threat of a EU ban (CATCA played a role in achieving this ban), forced the companies that buy the pelts, to cancel harp seal fur orders and that is the reason why the seal pelts that a couple of years ago were worth it $100 dollars each, now are worth it only $6-$15 dollars.

    Protests can’t change or stop big issues like this as are not been taking seriously by the governments. Letters to our Prime Minister or Minister of Department of Fisheries and Oceans WILL NOT WORK! Been there and done that for almost 23 years. Writting to Canadian MP’s probably may help. So far that is the best posibility to try.

    We have been working, campaigning and lobbying against the Canadian seal hunt since 1989 and know what works and what doesn’t. This info posted by PETA here is very good. Thanks PETA!

  • Judith says:

    I am a Canadian and I along with approximately 85% of the country am appalled that this slaughter continues. The Harb Seal Bill was introduced in 2009 by Senator Mac Harb, to propose an end to the shameless Canadian seal slaughter. An honorable man with the guts to stand up in Canada’s parliament to give a voice to the majority of Canadian’s who oppose the annual slaughter and a voice to the infant seals who cry out.

    Shame to the government bureaurecrats who continue to push a dying industry with my tax dollars. Are they going to be there for the sealer’s when the industry is dead?

    Kudo’s to Peta and others for working on this issue.

    My champagne is on hold for the day when the seal slaughter is finally history. It would be an incredible victory if this is the last year and we have one less fight in animal abuse.

  • Deepali says:

    PLEASE STOP THIS CRUILITY!!!!!!!! How can human kill those innocent cratures. They are just 1-3 weeks old. Come ON Let them live.
    Humans have heart and mind to understand the pain of other creatures. Why does human not understand this small thing that Humans have the abilty to protect and preserve nature and its creaturs not to distroy it.

    When ever I go for shopping I always make sure that the product is not made of any animal skin. If buying will stopthen Killing will stop eventually.

    Please stop Killing. Please Stop killing.

  • Irene says:

    I have been fighting this practice for the last 12 years from my country –
    USA and the wonderful PETA organization. Letters of protest to the
    Canadian government have been useless. They do not want to hear, even thought it is no longer profitable for them. How the Canadian populace goes along with the waste of money their govt. spends to prove a point, is beyond me. I will never visit that country or ever buy any of their products.
    I despise the MEN (actually degenerates) who do this horrible thing and
    the authorities who allow it. What country – UGH !!

  • Natalia says:

    I think the most despicable comment I’ve read in this post is that fact that there is actually Coast Guard support for sealers, this made my stomach turn. It makes me shudder to think of the malicious human beings that live and breath in this world. We can only pray that the 86% will be able to exercise enough influence to eventually help ban this abhorrent act very soon.
    RIP poor little seal pups 🙁 Hopefully your deaths won’t be in vain

  • Tommy says:

    THERE’S NO EXCUSE FOR ANIMAL ABUSE and even Canada is no exception. You are fighting a losing battle in continuing this slaughter as evidenced by the EU and USA voting to ban ALL seal skins and products while the Canadian tourist industry is in turmoil because folks who have a heart and conscience refuse to visit there until the seals get to live out their normal life span .. instead of your clubbing them and while they’re still conscious rip their skins from their young bodies .. HOW BARBARIC IS THAT? I too have joined the boycott of ANYTHING Canadian, shame on all of you.

  • Adam says:

    Insteas of saying Canada, we should say the Canadian Goverment, because it´s them who decide if the killing should go on, or if it coulod be changed, and if it´s true that more than 80% of Canadians opose the killings, I hope they have some political party they can support and change the goverment. When are the next general elections in Canada?
    I hope pretty soon so things can change for next year! And I can´t understand how the Goverment of Canada wants to change the EU policy of not buying it´s seal products! If the EU says it doesn´t want to buy, they can´t force them to buy! And investing money to persuade them!! They’re mad!
    Adam from Catalunya.

  • rhonda says:

    Oh, I so agree with all you guys,you are my kind of people.I continue to be perplexed as to why this slaughter is still happening????.No decent human would wear a blood soaked baby skin, would they??This world really needs to grow up and stop fighting Mother Nature and stop killing her children.

  • Jacqueline says:

    Please stop killing those precious seals. Why is it that human being is so cruel and have no feelings. They just slaughter animals and get kik out of it. How greedy can they get, it is never enough. I wish we could do the same thing to those people who are abusing the innocent animals.

  • DebbyM says:

    If you care about seals and the environment, then vote for the Green party. They also don’t like seal slaughtering and would stop it and I believe also would like to revisit antiquated animal (welfare) laws with a view to make changes. Our country needs the Green Party! Let’s be there for them so that they can be there for the seals. Vote GREEN!

  • Hemmie says:

    PLEASE STOP, STOP, STOP and STOP killing these innocent baby cubs. They are the precious offspring of their parents, how do you feel if your children were skinned alive. This what going to happen to those sealers whose killing them and any Government officials who’s helping them.
    Please stop killing innocent animals for name of humanity!!!

  • Isa says:

    Shame on Gail Shea. We left her a msg to stop. Gosh, I am canadian and never never in a million years did i think this country was so impure.Wow! Instead of preserving and showing off these wonderful attractive creatures who are so far and away from human habitat, quietly and undisturbingly in their areas, would drive humans, sick uneducated goons, to take drastic measures out on boats, ice-breakers,vessels, and all government supported, to get to these remote locations and turn it in blood and ugliness, sad heartwrenching. They did NOTHING, absolutely nothing and never asked for it. I guess this is what it is:
    Shame on the seals for having fur!! Man needs it on his back more than the seals themselves do.


  • Leana says:

    Hey people,

    don’t STOP to send invitations for the cause through Facebook or other similar sites! It’s not done yet..

  • Erica says:

    We all have our eyes on canada, and have seen nothing but barbaric, cruel, and sick responds to the slaughter. Shame has come on Canada, be not listen to the millions of people begging to end this you have become a disgrace. Your products will continue to be rejected since you clearly don’t give a crap about what consumers want. THE WORLD IS WATCHING YOUR SICK ACT AND WE ARE DISGUSTED!!!!! STOP THE SLAUGHTER NOW!

    GOD I ask you hide all the baby seals, your creations, from these evil, heartless people. AMEN

  • Lena says:

    To the Canadian Government and for those fellow Canadians who do approve, it’s time to give it up and get it through your thick skulls… the seal slaughter massacre and industry is recognized as unacceptable, inhumane, and taboo by the countries and citizens that oppose it. Nobody wants or needs seal products!!! By reading and judging the comments above, this is really starting to damage your clean, friendly, and civilized reputation, not to mention the travel industry and other international trades. Now, in desperation, you’re trying to get China to buy seal meat ! This is appalling!!! As far as I’m concerned, China already has big issues with their fur industry despite it being legal. I am totally disgusted and disapprove by this industry also!!! When is this sick and twisted world realize that any slaughter, skinning and torture of ANY animal is immorally wrong and pure evil. Will this autrocity ever end???

  • Larry says:

    It is my hope that Canada regains the respect that so many of us use to hold for your great nation. This hunt is beneath you and while I understand that some seal hunters are poor this is the wrong way to help them. People supporting your present policy are diminishing and you are fighting a movement (to protect seals) that will not rest and continues to get stronger over time. Come to your senses and find another way to help the hunters other than this.

  • Ian M. Postnikoff, MD says:

    The current Canadian government is a minority government. In other words most of us Canadians did NOT vote for Prime Minister Harper or his caucus. The slaughter of baby seals is anathema to almost all Canadians whatever their political stripes. As citizens of a democracy it is our responsibility to canvas every person running in the upcoming federal election as to what actions they are prepared to take if elected to legislate an immediate ban on the egregious practice. As Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

  • Joan says:

    Canada is a truly beautiful country that I will never visit….
    the seal slaughter is unimaginally cruel and totally unneccesary in todays world…and while on the subject of cruelty I was shocked to read of the shootings of the 100 or so sled dogs that were used for tourism at the winter olympics and deemed no longer needed…

  • Brande says:

    Oh God, does it make me cry to see this. What is wrong with the system? it is disgusting, I can’t pray hard enough. I hope God is watching.

  • kate says:

    Enough with the seal slaughter, when will Canada get the message….people do not support the slaughter for seal fur nor do we want any seal products, leave the baby seals alone. My family and friends boycott anything Canadian. I have protested this since the 70’s, it’s truly heartbreaking, and I am so sick of it.

  • ANNE says:

    I agree with all of the above and hope that the Canadian Government will listen to the outcry of the people. How can they look at these pictures and have a good nights sleep. Stop the killing of the baby seals.

  • Jacob Dijkstra, M.D. says:

    “everdayathena” I would consider your comments with more respect if you would not make them anonymously. In any case, it is your government that is responsible for enabling the slaughter. Last time I checked, Canada is a democracy and the Canadians who have voted for this government are responsible for its actions. Consequently, this is not the actions of a few, but of the Canadian people who put this government into power. What is, in my opinion, ridiculous is that you do not want me to use the word “Canada”, after all that is the place where all this is happening. Even though I am pleased that you belong to those of your countrymen who oppose the seal hunt, you clearly have the same problem as your government that you cannot tolerate criticism at your country from outsiders. Americans have lived with criticism from foreigners for many years and do not become as upset about it any longer. I know that Canada is new to this, but I am sure you will be able to get used to it too.

  • everydayathena says:

    I wish this article, and these comments, would not use the word “Canada” to describe the perpetrators of these horrifying acts.

    I am Canadian and I speak on behalf of MANY Canadians who oppose the seal hunt. Those who condemn an entire country for the actions of a few, like Jacob Dijkstra who posted above, are ridiculous. By that logic, every citizen of every country would be guilty of something truly reprehensible.


  • Jacob Dijkstra, M.D. says:

    Canada’s attitude is clearly one of injured pride. Canada was always considered the “good” North American country as opposed to the “evil” United States. When travelling abroad, Americans would pretend to be Canadian. Not any longer. As I know from my home country, The Netherlands, the world is sick of Canada. The Canadian government, like a spoiled child, just cannot stand it. In an act of misplaced chauvinism they are subsidizing an economically lost enterprise just to show the world that they are right. It is hoped, that the 86% of Canadians that are opposed to the seal slaughter will soon replace this government with a more open-minded one. In the meantime, my wife and I are boycotting Canada and all its products.

  • Tucker says:

    AND FOR ALL?!!?!?!?

    SAVE THE SEALS/SAVE THE SEALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sonya says:

    This has to stop ! My 1st letter was from i.f.a.w when i was 10 years old about this & i have been wanted this to stop from then because it breaks my heart. I will never stop fighting for animals till the day i die. When i got the mail to say the EU banned this i cryed ! STOP KILLING THE SEALS !!!!

  • Renée says:

    When will humans stop thses acts of cruaulty ?
    Please STOP !!!!

  • Michele says:

    There is no reason in this world to slaughter these beautiful seals. Only sick demented people would do this. I always admired canada for their pretty scenery and the animals Please don’t make me take that image by slaughtering these poor babies.

  • Floss says:

    Please stop the slaughter of the beautiful precious seals. It breaks my heart to see the pictures of how they are slaughtered. Most of the world is against the slaughter of the seals so it is baffling why Canada insists on continuing to do so. Due to the public’s rejection, the profit margin is extremely small. Please I beg of you to stop this killing.

  • Wendy says:

    Stop this already, pushing seal meat now OMG we already eat enough meat F en China man!

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