tagged w/ Canada's Seal Hunt
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A "Live from the Ice" dispatch from Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane Society International/Canada
There are days like yesterday in every expedition to film the baby seal slaughter. Days when horrible weather conditions keep us from reaching the ice floes but do not prevent the sealers from killing the seals.
Yesterday, the ProtectSeals team attempted to observe the seal hunt from our rigid, inflatable boat. Sadly, after hours of battling high winds and waves, we had to make the decision to turn back. We were devastated—to know this slaughter would go on without witnesses was too much to bear.
But then we received news. Our helicopter, equipped with a high-powered camera, had managed to make it through the winds to the sealing area. As we were slowly making our way back to port, our helicopter hovered in the sky above the sealing boats, filming everything. And as usual, multiple violations of the law were caught on tape. Yet again, sealers failed to check to ensure the seals were unconscious before hooking, dragging and cutting them open.
One seal was shot in the chest. As blood poured out from under him, he slowly raised his head and tried to crawl. It took an eternity for sealers to arrive and club him. Another seal—still alive—was thrown onto a pile of bloody dead seals in a sealing boat. Realizing the seal was still moving, a sealer smashed his club down onto her skull, in the midst of the dead pile.
These baby seals are subjected to unimaginable suffering every day that this slaughter goes on. They are dying in the most horrible ways, at the hands of this awful industry.
We come out here to expose that suffering to the world. The sealing industry would like the brutality of this slaughter to remain a secret, for the killing to happen out of public view. But we can’t let that happen, and your support ensures it won’t. Because of you, the tragic deaths of these defenseless animals will ultimately bring down the sealing industry. As the images of this cruelty are broadcast around the world, global markets for seal products are closing, and consumers are taking action to stop the slaughter.
Because of the images we gather of this horrible hunt, those who would defend this atrocity simply have no defense.
Please support the end of the seal hunt in Canada: donate to save seals (your gift will be tripled!), or sign the pledge to boycott seafood from Canada»
Rebecca Aldworth is executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. For the past decade, she has been a firsthand observer of Canada's commercial seal hunt, escorting more than 100 scientists, parliamentarians and journalists to the ice floes to witness the slaughter.
http://www.humanesociety.org/news/dispatch/2010/04/lfti_bear_witness.htmlA "Live from the Ice" dispatch from Rebecca Aldworth, director of Humane... more
CHARLOTTETOWN, Canada, March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) has confirmed with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that a sole sealing vessel has hailed out on the opening day of the commercial harp seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada.
The vessel is reportedly heading to the Northern Gulf – the only area where seals have been observed in the Gulf – to kill the few animals that have managed to survive what has been a disastrous year for harp seal pups.
"After spending the past week watching the few tenacious seal pup survivors clinging to life, it is heartbreaking to realize that they may now be killed," said Sheryl Fink, a senior researcher with IFAW. "On the other hand, I am encouraged that only one boat has decided to go seal killing so far this year."
This year has been the worst ice year on record for the east coast of Canada. The IFAW observation team has been in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, documenting the ice conditions and few pups that remain. Harp seals need ice for giving birth, nursing and resting, and seal mortality is expected to be very high this year as a result of the poor ice conditions.
"The situation this year is dire, and there is no question that the effect of climate change on these individual animals is devastating. We've seen dead and abandoned pups on beaches, starving pups crying for food and trying to suckle off each other, and whitecoat pups swimming in desperate search of ice on which they can rest," said Fink.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species notes that harp seals are going to be negatively affected by climate change. "Under a precautionary approach, these seal pups should be protected from commercial hunting and given the chance to survive. Instead, Canada is proceeding to kill off any animals that might actually exhibit traits that would allow the species to better contend with climate change," said Fink.
The lack of interest in sealing this year is not only due to the scarcity of seal pups, but also a result of a decreased demand for seal products. Markets for seal pelts appear to remain saturated with prices expected to remain around $15 per skin, down from $104 in 2006. A commercial hunt for grey seals earlier this year failed to occur altogether.
SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare - http://www.ifaw.org
http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw_united_states/media_center/press_releases/3_28_2010_61086.phpCHARLOTTETOWN, Canada, March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- IFAW (The International... more
End the Seal Hunt | IFAW Web Site
From IFAW's Seal Blog
This post was filed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare's Sheryl Fink, who is currently in P.E.I., Canada observing the worst ice conditions on record and looking for seal survivors.
We have arrived in Prince Edward Island, Canada to look for harp seals and prepare for the 2010 commercial seal hunt. This year is reported to be the worst ice year on record and as we flew into our base in Charlottetown, PEI we confirmed there was virtually no ice in the southern gulf of St. Lawrence. There were just a few small ice pans (about the size of a coffee table) pushed up along the beaches in some areas, but nothing like we usually experience. In normal years, we'll see vast areas of frozen sea ice, and pans large and strong enough to land a helicopter on. Usually, we can walk out on the ice and right up to the baby harp seals that are resting on them -- but not this year. Since harp seals are usually associated with the ice edge, with no ice, we didn't expect to find any seals.
A few days ago, we heard reports of something strange happening. Live whitecoat harp seal pups were being found on the shores of Prince Edward Island. We are heading out this morning by van to see if we can find any animals. Some of our experienced staff here at IFAW have been observing seals and the seal hunt for nearly a decade, and have never actually encountered baby harp seals on land before. This is just one of the elements that will make this year's observation unlike any other. Off to find some land-lubbing seals….
http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw_united_states/join_campaigns/seals/index.phpEnd the Seal Hunt | IFAW Web Site
From IFAW's Seal Blog
This post was filed... more
With the approach of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the eyes of the world will soon be turning toward Canada.
Killing sentient animals for something as selfish as fur can never be justified. But the very least that we can do is end the sickening spectacle of the seal slaughter once and for all. It should have been banned long ago.
Public outcry forced Canada to ban the killing of "whitecoats" in 1987, and the seal slaughter essentially collapsed. But in 1996, all that changed when the Canadian government began subsidizing the massacre in an effort to rebuild it. It has since grown almost every year and is now the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world. This year alone, hunters will be allowed to kill more than 338,000 seals.
Canadian officials should have let the seal slaughter die a natural death.
While hunters are no longer allowed to kill "whitecoats," they can club and shoot baby seals as soon as the animals begin to molt their white natal fur — about 12 days after they’re born. Yes, seals can legally be killed before they are even 2 weeks old — before they have eaten their first solid meal or taken their first swim.
The difference between bashing in the head of a 12-day-old seal and bashing in the head of a 13-day-old seal is lost on most people.
Not surprisingly, opposition to the seal slaughter is once again growing. In the United States, the sale of seal fur has been banned since 1972. Belgium and the Netherlands have passed laws banning the importation of seal fur, and the European Union is considering similar legislation.
In early March, a European Parliament committee voted in favor of a bill that would ban the importation of all seal products (with an exception made for Canada’s Inuit hunters). The full parliament is expected to vote on the bill soon.
Canada isn’t taking this lying down, of course. In an effort to make the slaughter seem more palatable, they’ve implemented new "humane standards," including a requirement that sealers wait 60 seconds before skinning seals in order to "ensure" that they are dead.
I’m sorry, but bludgeoning defenseless animals, impaling them on boat hooks, dragging them across the ice and ripping off their skins after a 60-second pulse check — assuming anyone is actually watching — does not fit any reasonable definition of "humane."
And, the new regulations don’t require a speck of oversight.With the approach of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the eyes of the world... more
WARNING: Graphic Footage - IFAW Hunt Watch - Seals Killed on the Ice
Canada has set a record for 2009. The quota given to sealers is over 320,000!
The International Fund for Animal Welfare's senior researcher Sheryl Fink was on the ice in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence while these photos of sealers working were captured. Her quotes are included in this slide show.
For more information please visit http://www.stopthesealhunt.orgWARNING: Graphic Footage - IFAW Hunt Watch - Seals Killed on the Ice
Canada has... more
Section #1 of Canada's Hunt:
Observers with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org) have just returned after witnessing the slaughter of harp seal pups during this year’s commercial seal hunt.
Canada’s commercial seal hunt comes just weeks before the EU considers banning the trade in seal products throughout its member states.
Recent economic evaluations have indicated that the market for seal fur is saturated, causing prices to drop by almost half. Processors report that sales of seal pelts all but stopped at the end of 2007, and in early 2009, still do not appear to have recovered.
This hunt for harp seal pups is the largest hunt for a marine mammal in the world, with this year’s commercial total allowable catch limit set at an unsustainable 280,000 seals.
To learn more about IFAW’s efforts to end the Canadian commercial seal hunt, visit http://www.stopthesealhunt.org today.Section #1 of Canada's Hunt:
Observers with IFAW (International Fund for... more