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Published June 2005 - Updated April 2006
LGVN Animals - Seal Hunt

Reports and Information on the Canadian Seal Slaughter...

Baby Harp Seal - copyright Ignacio Aronovich

2006 Seal Hunt

As the notorious seal slaughter got underway again in 2006, protests around the world continue in an attempt to stop the completely unnecessary killing of hundreds of thousands of seals on the ice floes around Canada.

Over 319,000 harp seals are being clubbed or shot to death this year alone. 96% of them are pups less than 3 months old, and many are skinned alive.
While Paul McCartney visited the ice floes to air his own views over the hunt, other protests around the world have continued to raise awareness about the cruel and unnecessary killings by Canadian hunters. Protesters are now calling on boycotts of Canadian products.
In London's Trafalgar Square a 10ft ice scuplture was unveiled by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to help raise awareness about the seal hunt.

In the meantime other conservation organisations continue with their efforts to try and stop the mass slaughter of infant seals with clubs and picks.

During the seal hunt of 2005, conservationists were beaten and threatened by seal hunters.

Eleven people from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society were allegedly attacked by men with clubs on 1st April 2005 in the Gulf of St Lawrence. It was alleged that members of Sea Shepherd where filming the killing of seal pups on the ice floes when hunters attempted to grab their video cameras while two of their female members were repeatedly punched in the stomach. Dr Jerry Vlasak, also from the organisation was severely injured in the face while other crew members were also allegedly attacked with a "hac-a-pick", a deadly club with a hook used to beat and drag the seals.

 

A sealer swings his hak-a-pik toward volunteer,
A sealer swings his hak-a-pik toward volunteer, Ian Robichaud, who was taking a photograph.


As the eleven Sea Shepherd members tried to return to their boat called The Farley Mowat, events took a bizarre turn as a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter landed and arrested them.

The arrested included Dr. Jerry Vlasak, Lisa Moises, John Batchelor, Adrian Haley and Ian Robichaud.

Lisa Shalom, the only Canadian of the eleven, was released early and returned to the Farley Mowat courtesy of a helicopter provided the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The other crew arrested were from the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, and were finally freed the next day.
Several of the crew members who were assaulted had filed complaints with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which include claims of assault, battery, and assault with a deadly weapon by the sealers.
Rendell Genge, the Captain of the sealing ship Brady Mariner claimed he and his men were attacked first in the incident. However the entire assault was fully captured on two different video cameras by Sea Shepherd, which they believe will easily prove their innocence.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society also filmed further evidence of assault by another sealing boat, the L.J.Kennedy. The pictures show slanderous gestures, including indecent exposure of genitals and simulated masturbation by members of the crew.


A crewmember on board the L.J. Kennedy drop his pants and allegedly simulates masterbation
while making rude remarks to female crewmembers of the Farley Mowat.

In separate incidents, a film crew from The IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) were also assaulted by seal hunters. Rebecca Aldworth of the HSUS writes in her journal of the Seal Hunt: "Suddenly, I hear a shout from ahead and see a sealer running after the (our) first team's ice guide with a hakapik. The sealer is only a few feet away from him, grabbing for his camera, blocking him from moving away with his hakapik. I yell out and begin to run towards them, slipping over the ice as I go. Suddenly, the sealer notices me coming and changes direction. He runs right at me until he is just feet away, his hakapik held high—the metal spike intimidating as he swings it around and around."

 

Some facts about seal hunting and fur in fashion...

Every spring, Harp seals gather together to give birth on the ice floes off the Canadian Atlantic coastline of Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland. In just the first few weeks of last year's hunt season 70,000 harp seal pups had already been clubbed to death, leading to over one million seals being slaughtered over the next three years. In 2005, 300,000 seal pups were being killed, the largest cull since 1970. A further 300,000 are being killed in 2006. This slaughter is taking place regardless of conversationalists concern that such a massive cull will seriously under-populate seal numbers, which could lead them to extinction. It is estimated that there are only 6 million seals left from a previous population of around 50 million.
In a bizarre attempt to justify such high density killings, the Canadian Government and its fishing industry blame the huge decline in cod stocks on the seals, saying that they eat them all! This claim is of course a massive distortion of the truth. The reality is that 60 years ago, fishing grounds off the east cost of Canada were teaming with cod. Then in the 1950's newly designed trawlers with huge nets could scoop as much as 200 tons of fish an hour - far outweighing the the cod's ability to reproduce and maintain a stable population over the coming decades. Now, with satellite tracking systems to find the remaining shoals, even the few cod that are left stand no chance of escaping the fishermen's trawl nets, which not only catch the fish but plough up ocean beds, destroying delicate ecosystems in their path.
While humans have almost wiped out fish stocks from the sea, research shows that cod only makes up around 3 percent of a seal's diet. Even ninety-seven world scientists have signed a petition confirming that there is no evidence whatsoever that seals are responsible for decline fish stocks. The truth as to why sealing is rife again is simply down to their fur... and Canadians are making fortunes from from it.
Twenty five years ago there were global protests against the barbaric treatment of young seals, bludgeoned and skinned alive to provide fur for so-called fashionable coats. By the 1990s, fur in fashion was considered simply revolting by the then young generation of fashion followers - it seemed that the world was finally coming to its senses. But post-millennium trends seemed to twist compassion-in-fashion on its head. By 2004, the seal massacre was back with vengeance in an attempt to keep up with a shocking new demand for fur. In 2005 fashion designers and clothing retailers continued to promote fur amongst a younger generation who claim that "moral objections are old hat".
Finally, in 2006 figures reveal that Canada is earning 16.5 million dollars in commercial seal meat and pelts each year. This is the main reason such a barbaric act is taking place.

 

Skinning Picture- (Hunter at work) - copyright IWAF - all rights reserved
Skinning- (Hunter at work)

 

To Help Save a Baby Seal
CLICK HERE TO DONATE FREE

Boycott Canadian Seafood
http://www.sealhunt.ca/

To find more ways to protest to the Canadian Government about the seal killings and read more about this issue visit the following organisations:
http://shepherd.textamerica.com (Sea Shepherd Conservation)
http://www.harpseals.org
http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/general/default.aspx?splash&oid=17767
http://www.protectseals.org (sign the pledge to protect seals)
http://www.hsus.org/marine_mammals/protect_seals
http://www.stopthesealhunt.com/site/pp.asp?c=hmKYJeNVJtF&b=369143

For more about the resurgence of fur in fashion go the Looking-Glass mini-site:
"Think About Fur"
(http://www.looking-glass.co.uk/thinkaboutfur
)

 

 

PICTURE CREDITS:
Top of page picture of baby Harp Seal - copyright Ignacio Aronovich - all rights reserved
Skinning picture- (Hunter at work) - copyright IWAF - all rights reserved
Attack on volunteer and Sealer Exposing picture - - copyright Sea Shepherd Conservation- all rights reserved


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