The International Fund for Animal Welfare is taking action against Canada. As our neighbor to the north conducts the largest hunt for marine mammals in the world, allowing almost one million seals to be killed over the last three years, the IFAW has launched www.stopthesealhunt.org and is asking for your assistance to stop the slaughter.
StopTheSealHunt.org will feature an interactive activist recognition feature called "300,000 Actions to Save 300,000 Seals," a program that focuses on building global community action against the seal hunt. When a visitor to the site makes a donation or takes action to save seals, their name, photo (if they choose) and personalized message will join together with thousands of other profiles from around the globe to create a new, surprise image when IFAW’s goal of 300,000 actions is reached.
Canada’s commercial seal hunt is a hunt like no other. It is a cruel and unethical practice that produces a product nobody needs. In fact, 98% of the animals killed in the past two years have been seal pups aged about 2 weeks to 3 months. This unmanageable hunt takes place over a vast area, making it impossible to carry out humanely.
Some seals are killed with a blow to the head using a wooden club or hakapik. The sealers stun as many baby seals as they can before going back to kill them. Some seals try to get away, but they are clumsy on the ice, heaving their fat little bodies with an uncoordinated flipper shuffle. Other seals are shot from a distance and then dragged from the ice onto boats using steel hooks.
Two recent independent veterinary reports on the Canadian seal hunt, as well as IFAW video footage, have documented unacceptable levels of cruelty to baby seals. This hunt is a highly competitive activity, carried out over an extensive area, and under very unpredictable conditions. Haste is the rule, as hunters rush to immobilize as many baby seals as possible in the short time available to them.
Seals are routinely clubbed or shot and left to suffer on the ice, before being clubbed again some time thereafter. Some seals are still skinned before being rendered fully unconscious and few sealers are observed checking for a blinking reflex to confirm brain death prior to skinning an animal. As one of the veterinary reports concluded: "Canada’s commercial seal hunt results in considerable and unacceptable suffering.”
The international site provides a central Web location where people from all over the world can unite and share their opinions on Canada’s commercial seal hunt. The number 300,000 is an approximate estimate of the Canadian government’s Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of harp seals for this year’s hunt. Scientists estimate that, together with the natural mortality due to the effects of climate change on the seals’ ice habitat, allowing this many seals to be killed will put the harp seal population at risk.
"The depletion of sea ice as a result of global warming is negatively impacting the harp seal population, which requires this ice to give birth and nurse its pups," said Monica Media, Deputy Director, U.S. Operations for IFAW. "IFAW urges the Canadian government to take action to reduce non-climate stresses on harp seals by ending this hunt. StopTheSealHunt.org offers actionable steps where concerned citizens can make a real difference to end this unacceptable practice."
The interactive site also features blogs, podcasts, videos and photos from IFAW observers at the scene of this year’s hunt; information on how to take action against the hunt; a web-based community area; and multiple ways for IFAW supporters to educate others on Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt and support IFAW’s fight against this cruel and unnecessary practice.
As many seals are killed today as during the 1950s and 60s when overhunting caused the seal population to decline by as much as 50-70%. In the past two years, 98% of the seals killed during this hunt have been less than three months old.
More information on how to join the world’s fastest growing online community to end the seal hunt can be found at StopTheSealHunt.org.
About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW works around the globe to protect animals and habitats promoting practical solutions for animals and people. To learn how you can help, please visit www.ifaw.org.
We will not sell or distribute your e-mail address to anyone else.
Written by Staff Writer