Canada’s seal slaughter begins

The murder has begun. A number of animal rights organizations have reported Canadian seal hunters have begun clubbing to death innocent seals in Northern Canada despite growing calls against the practice the government maintains is part of a cultural tradition. The Human Society published a dispatch from one of its observers on April 11, telling the world that the clubs have begun to fall on one of the most blatant animal cruelty exhibitions worldwide.

“Sealers ambushed the pristine nursery with their hakapiks and guns, spilling the blood of pups who miraculously survived the first few weeks of their short lives as climate change melts the ice around them,” wrote Humane Society International Executive Director Rebecca Aldworth.

The scenes have been well-documented and videos abound online of the almost unthinkable killing that continues to pervade Canada’s northern territory annually. In the videos, Canadian hunters are seen beating, over and over, small defenseless pups, until their blood stains the white snow and ice around them. Thousands of seals are murdered in this annual “tradition” that the Canadian government seems unwilling to end.

The Humane Society is one of many animal rights groups campaigning to end the slaughter. Aldworth said in her open letter that activists are making a difference. “Three years ago, 217,000 harp seals were killed. Last year it was closer to 69,000,” she wrote. Still, the murder continues.

If action is not taken immediately to end this bloody carnage on ice, seal populations will continue to diminish, reports Sea Shepherd. According to their fact sheet, when Europeans first landed on Canada’s East coast, an estimated 30 million harp, hood and gray seals were present. Today, that number has dropped to less than five million, depending on which organization is reporting.

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) regulates the seal hunt in Canada. It sets quotas, monitors the hunt, studies the seal population, works with the Canadian Sealing Association to train sealers on new regulations, and promotes sealing through its website and spokespeople.

Canada’s government and native groups argue the seal murder is part of a tradition that must not be curtailed. Archeological evidence indicates the Native Americans and First Nations People in Canada have been hunting seals for at least 4,000 years. Traditionally, when an Inuit boy killed his first seal or caribou, a feast was held.

These arguments cannot and must not uphold murder and cruelty. Over the centuries many traditions have come and gone. We, as a society must recognize that culture and tradition are not black and white; are not fixed in time and should be modified and changed with our contemporary understanding of the world.

Inuit and native Canadian groups should not stand by historical traditions in order to continue the murder of intelligent beings who feel empathy, pain and suffering. No life is worth tradition. One can only look at the North American “tradition” of slavery and segregation as proof that the seal slaughter does not need to persist. Instead it should be stopped altogether. In the 17th century, when the African slave trade was in full swing, one could easily have argued that it was part of tradition. To speak out against slavery was paramount to ostracism from mainstream society. The seal slaughter is no different that slavery.

According to the anti-seal slaughter website harpseals.org, “Canada has signed a death warrant for 468,200 seal pups in 2011. This includes 400,000 harp seal pups, which is about 40% of the pups that the Canadian government ‘guesstimates’ are born each year. This is the largest quota ever.”

As a global society, can we stand by and watch as thousands of seal are bludgeoned to death? If we do, what does this say about our society? It says we continue to devalue life: human and animal. The treacherous actions of seal killers should be condemned at every step. Canada should be ashamed of its actions and the continued hiding behind a “tradition” that should be silenced and ended once and for all. We need to do more to end the innocent murder of animals. The blood that runs on the ice is proof that we remain a treacherous society that has yet to find its way around destructive practices that have left us on the brink of our very own destruction.

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 18 April, 2011.

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