The commercial seal hunt started in Canada last week – and the results are sobering. This year up to 400.000 animals are allowed to be killed. But the seals are lucky: a thick layer of ice makes it difficult for the boats to reach the colonies. Only 150 seals were killed until now.
Still 150 too many, says Dr Ralf Sonntag, marine scientist and director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Germany. “In almost every part of the world people condemn the brutal slaughter of these defenseless animals – especially when their death is completely senseless”, says Mr Sonntag further.
It is senseless because there are no buyers for animal products anymore. The EU banned these goods in 2009, other countries followed. Today a seal coat sells at only 18$ USD. To live off the seal hunt these 12 men who went on hunt last week would have had to kill more than 1000 seals instead of 150.
The low yield of the seal hunt causes hunters to express new suggestions: Gil Theriault, head of the Seal and Sealing Network, demands that the ban on killing newborn seals, so-called whitecoats, should be legalised again. This ban was released by the Canadian Government in year 1987.
“This proposal shows the desperate situation of the seal hunt”, explains Mr Sonntag. “Russia was the last country to ban the hunt on whitecoats in 2009 because it is unethical and violent.”
A current analysis by Statistics Canada CATSNET Analytics shows where seal products are exported to. Last year more than 20,000 coats were sold to Turkey and 250 to Switzerland. Meat is mainly sold to China, South Korea and Burkina Faso.
Despite the rising awareness for the cruel hunt and the trade ban of these products the seal hunt continues. Since it is not profitable Canada keeps this practice alive with subsidies.
What you can do:
- Sign a petition to stop seal hunt
- Be careful what you buy in countries where seal products are legal.
A sealer moves in to kill a seal pup with a hakapik – a spiked club. (Photo credit: IFAW)