The woman on the photo is Gail Shea, she is Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and responsible for the Canadian ‘seal harvest’.
This year, 2015 they have decided that 468.000 seals will be clubbed to death in Canada’s annual ‘commercial seal hunt’, which mainly takes place during March and April. The seals are mainly killed for their pelts, but hunters also sell their blubber, which is used to make ‘seal oil’ and sold as a health supplement, and the penises, which are a popular ingredient in aphrodisiacs in some Asian markets.
In order to avoid damage to the pelts, a majority of the seals are killed with clubs or a ‘hakapik’ – a seal hunting tool which has a hammer head used to crush a seal’s skull, and a hook used to drag away the carcass. However, Canada remains steadfast in its position that the seal harvest is a ”humane, sustainable and well-regulated activity. And that any views to the contrary are based on myths and misinformation.” (see here)
Then how come that when an independent, international team of veterinarians observed the hunt and examined the corpses of skinned seals, they found evidence that up to 40 percent of the dead seals had skull injuries that were not sufficient to have caused death? The Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) organisation (part of Canada gov) further claim that ”Canadian seal harvesters, processors, artisans and Inuit produce some of the finest quality products in the world and contribute to Canada’s economy” but facts show that less than 5% of their income comes from killing seals, so what about the other 95%?
Seal hunters are not allowed to kill seal pups which have yet to molt their downy white coat, however, this usually happens when the pup is between just ten to 21 days. Adult seals are harder to hunt, and mainly has to be shot rather than clubbed – a tough task when the animal is in the water which also risks destroying the pelt. As a result, an estimated 95-98 percent of the seals killed during the commercial hunt are three weeks to three months old.
There are also further threats to the Canadian seals, as a change in the climate is causing their ice habitat to deteriorate at an alarming rate. In recent years, the Canadian government has estimated a near 100 percent mortality for pups born in key whelping areas when the sea ice melted too soon in the season, and the pups drowned.
No Seal clubbing needs to STOP, year after year Canada continue this cruel slaughter in the name of conservation, economy and tradition. Year after year thousands of seals are brutally slaughtered.