Killing season for 270,000 baby seals in Canada

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rebecca Aldworth with The Humane Society of the United States takes you on a breathtaking and heartbreaking tour of the harp seals nursery off Canada’s East Coast just weeks before Canadian fishermen begin the annual seal hunt. Visit to learn more.

From Wildlife Extra:

Canada starts cull of 270,000 seals

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has a team of experts in Canada documenting the cruelty of this year’s commercial seal hunt.

Thousands of seal pups are believed to have perished before the hunt began, with global warming melting the ice needed for seals to give birth and nurse their pups successfully.

Despite this, the Canadian government gave the go-ahead for this year’s hunt with a catch limit of 270,000 seals.

IFAW’s observers are used to seeing thousands of young seal pups in the southern Gulf of St Lawrence at this time of year, but with extremely poor ice conditions, they have so far seen only a few isolated pups struggling in the slushy water.

However, the Canadian government ignored calls to abandon this year’s hunt, despite predicted high pup mortality due to global warming, and set a total allowable catch limit of 270,000 seals.

See also here.

And here.

Update 23 October 2007: here.

Russia may ban killing baby seals: here.

Russia bans hunting of young harp seals: here.

Russia bans hunt for all harp seals under one year of age: here.

Hawaiian monk seals: here.

The federal government on Friday will significantly expand the critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals to include beaches and waters of the main Hawaiian Islands, officials said: here.

13 thoughts on “Killing season for 270,000 baby seals in Canada

  1. Extinct seal tells of once-teeming Caribbean reefs

    1 day ago

    PARIS (AFP) — Several hundred years ago, the coral reefs of the Caribbean had up to six times more fish than they have today, according to a study published Wednesday.

    The estimate is made by US scientists poring over the fate of the Caribbean monk seal, a fish-loving mammal driven to extinction in 1952.

    Historical records from the 17th and 18th century show there were huge numbers of monk seals, distributed among 13 colonies across the Caribbean.

    They were so plentiful that some ships’ maps of the West Indies even noted particularly dense locations of seals.

    Alas for Monachus tropicalis, colonisation of the West Indies unleashed unbridled hunting, the bounty being seal oil that was used to grease machinery in sugar plantations.

    Towards the end of the 19th century, the seals were reduced to a final redoubt of a few atolls — and their worst enemy became natural history museums and private collectors keen for monk seal skeletons.

    In one disastrous episode, a 1911 expedition to Mexico by natural-history enthusiasts killed 200 seals, leaving just a handful alive, and driving the depleted population further towards extinction.

    In a study published on Wednesday in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, oceanographers Loren McClenachan and Andrew Cooper perform a heroic act of biostatistics in recreating the life and sad demise of the seal.

    They calculate that, before the massacre, between 233,000 and 338,000 monk seals lived in the Caribbean. Such a huge population could only survive, of course, provided there was a huge supply of food.

    At a rough estimate, each adult seal would eat 245 kilos (539 pounds) of fish per year, and a juvenile seal 50 kilos, say McClenachan and Cooper.

    “The biomass of free fish required to sustained the estimated population of historical monk seals is four to six times greater than the average Caribbean reef, which exceeds that found on the most pristine Caribbean coral reef today and is in the same range of the most pristine reefs” in the remote Pacific, their paper says.

    The study gives a crucial pointer about the pace of degradation of Caribbean coral reefs, where the biggest problem has been overfishing.

    “Realistic construction of these past ecosystems is critical to understanding the profound and long-lasting effect of human hunting on the functioning of coral reef systems,” they write.

    Extinction of the monk seal also had a huge knock-on effect across the Caribbean’s food web. Removal of a major predator allowed some species of fish to expand at the expense of others, eventually transforming the picture of biodiversity.

    Copyright © 2008 AFP


  2. STOP KILLING SEALS!!! Why don’t you want them in Canada??? They didn’t do anything to you did they?!? That is so cruel! It’s not right, and if you think it is, then tell me 5 good reasons why!!! There should be peace in this world! Not violence, right? So why do it? Why them? If your starving and don’t have anything to eat, that’s one thing. But to kill a poor inocent animal like that!!! What’s wrong with you!!! PLEASE! Don’t kill them! please?


  3. The Namibian (Windhoek)

    Namibia: Seal Activists Ready to Prevent 2010 Culling

    Brigitte Weidlich

    10 June 2010

    The annual fur seal culling season in Namibia, which is set to start on July 1, might possibly escape the international limelight due to the Fifa World Cup in South Africa, but animal rights activists are again preparing to try and halt the mass slaughter on Namibian beaches.

    Last year the quota authorised by the Fisheries Ministry was for 85 000 seal pups and 6 000 bulls.

    The seal pups are mostly still nursed by their mothers and are chased to form large groups and are then clubbed and bludgeoned to death. The seal bulls are shot.

    “We will use the international media attention on the Soccer Cup and thus southern Africa to draw the global media attention on Namibia’s annual killing season,” a source close to animal rights groups said yesterday.

    Leading seal welfare activist Francois Hugo of Seal Alert South Africa, supported by 50 animal welfare organisations in 22 countries, sent a letter to the Fisheries Ministry on May 25 asking him to stop the 2010 seal culling season in Namibia.

    Seal Alert also requested a meeting with the new Fisheries Minister, Bernard Esau.

    “The Minister replied on June 2 and rejected a meeting,” Hugo told The Namibian yesterday in an e-mail response to written questions forwarded to him.

    “It is Seal Alert SA’s view based on legal opinion that the seal cull is unlawful and that the regulations [to kill seal pups with one hit] cannot be applied by the sealers and cause immense disturbance and cruelty to these sentient endangered marine mammals who feel pain and fear,” Hugo added.

    In his view, eco-tourism, such as boat trips and beach outings to view seal colonies, would be a better alternative.

    Recently Minister Esau told The Namibian that he was aware that the clubbing method used in Namibia was a concern for animal welfare organisations.

    Two leading experts expressed their concern about the clubbing methods applied in Namibia.

    “The Namibian seal hunt is inherently inhumane and science-based guidelines for ‘humane slaughter’ will never be adequate to address the multifarious welfare concerns associated with this and other hunts that involve large-scale slaughter in crowded seal colonies,” said Stephen Kirkman and David Lavigne in the April 2010 edition of the South African Journal of Science.

    Last year Namibia’s Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA) called on the Fisheries Ministry to find a more ‘humane’ method of clubbing baby seals to death during the annual sealing season, otherwise the harvesting should be discontinued.

    The SPCA further requested to observe last year’s culling with its veterinarians, but the Ministry declined, saying the 2009 cull had almost come to an end. The SPCA will be allowed to observe this year’s cull.

    Last year The Namibian applied for permission from the Fisheries Ministry to go into the seal culling area but was denied access by its former Permanent Secretary Frans Tsheehama, who said no reporting on site would be permitted during the harvesting of seals.

    “If the Government decides for the coverage by the media, such a project will be awarded to State media institutions of which terms and conditions will be drafted and agreed upon in writing,” Tsheehama said then.

    The European Union last year banned all imports of seal products into their member countries.

    Even Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered a stop to the slaughtering of baby seals in Russia in May 2009.

    “The bloody sight of the hunting of seals, the slaughter of these defenceless animals which you cannot even call a real hunt, is banned in our country, just as well as in most developed countries, and is a serious step to protect the biodiversity of the Russian Federation,” the Russian government said in a statement then.


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