Harp Seal Hunt

Harp Seal Hunt

Completely outrageous. Canada has released the quota for the 2009 Harp Seal hunt, which is now at a staggering 280,000. The new quota is an increase of 5,000 compared to last year, and 10,000 compared to 2007. It is still, though, 55,000 lower than 2006.

Here are some myths and facts relating to this barbaric, cruel, death sport.

1. The Seal hunt is humane.

Wrong. Please, visit www.stopthesealhunt.organd watch the videos of actual seal hunts in progress. Please, judge for yourself how humane you think the methods are. Seals are clubbed, and very often are not dead when skinned. Veterinarians have provided ample information to the Canadian government and hunters to make the hunt more humane, and their recomendations have been ignored.

2. The seal hunt is sustainable.

The Canadian government quota for seal hunts is actually considerably higher than scientists believe would be acceptable to keep the populations sustainable- and even their quotas are allowed to be exceeded. A recent study by IFAW scientists found that the current management approach risks depleting the harp seal herd by as much as 70% in the next 15 years. Since 1995, harp seals have been killed at levels similar to those that caused a dangerous decline in the past, and the DFO now admits that the population has decreased. Environmental issues are also affecting the population of the harp seal. For example, government scientists estimate that in 2002, 75% of the seal pups in the Gulf of St. Lawrence died due to a lack of ice before the hunt even began.

3. The hunt is closely monitored and well managed.

Year after year, IFAW hunt observers encounter seals that have been clubbed and left to suffer on the ice, bleeding profusely, crying, breathing and attempting to crawl.  These are not “reflexes” as the DFO claims, which are easily recognized and familiar to experience seal hunt observers. During 2006, the DFO claimed to have had 12 monitors for the Gulf hunt, the largest enforcement effort ever.  Yet sealers in one region were allowed to take three times their quota without any consequences.  In fact the Total Allowable Catch has been exceeded in four of the past five years. That doesn’t sound well managed to me.

Please visit www.stopthesealhunt.orgto help out. IFAW has worked very hard since the 1960’s to stop this cruel, unneccesary hunt- and have made progress with their efforts. For example, in 1985 they got a law passed to ban white coat seals (seals younger than 12-14 days). Every vote of support counts- and you may be able to do more than you think.