The Seal’s Voice: The Humane Society confirms the start of Canada’s barbaric seal slaughter

March 27, 2012
Dear SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras,

My message is simple. It’s not covered with fancy designs or catchy phrases — it’s an open request for help.

Earlier than expected, Canadian sealers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence began killing both adult and baby seals — few were spared the suffering. I witnessed it.

Please — make an emergency donation to help us continue exposing the sealers’ every move»

The seal slaughter takes place at various locations and times during the spring in eastern Canada. This smaller hunt we witnessed was horrendous — and it’s only a preamble to the larger commercial slaughter that will take place off the coast of Newfoundland in just days.

With your support, we can continue to be there — ready to film. We can save seals by documenting the slaughter and meeting with leaders in Canada and other countries to expose the cruelty.

Your gift will help us shine a spotlight on the reality of this slaughter for the world to see, so we can shut it down forever»

The Humane Society of the United StatesThank you for helping us to save the seals.
Rebecca Aldworth
Rebecca Aldworth
Director of Canadian Wildlife Issues
The Humane Society of the United States

IFAW Condemns Canada’s seal hunt quota, 400,000 harp seals set to die


(London, 21 March 2012): The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says that by setting a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 400,000 harp seals for the 2012 seal hunt, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) not only ignores the lack of market for seal products, but demonstrates a continued unwillingness to protect marine resources and live up to Canada’s international obligations for fisheries management.

“By setting the TAC at 400,000 harp seals, Canada’s Fisheries Minister is rejecting his own department’s scientific advice and throwing any pretence of a management plan out the window,” said Sheryl Fink, Director of IFAW’s Seal Program. “Sealers know that there is no market demand for this many dead seals. Setting such a high quota is a slap in the face to Canadian government scientists and an insult to sealers.”

According to the DFO Management Plan[i] seal TACs are supposed to account for new information on the status of the population, changing environmental conditions, and changes in kill levels in the Arctic, Canada and Greenland.

Departmental scientists recently warned that the harp seal population is decreasing, the productivity of the herd is in sharp decline, poor ice conditions are increasing in frequency, and that the unregulated Greenland hunt will have a major impact on this population in the future. A recent harp seal status report authored by DFO scientists notes that “the maximum harvest that would respect the management plan is 300,000 animals”.[ii]

“In light of the conservation concerns expressed by scientists, and given the current market realities, it is difficult to comprehend how the Minister can legitimately justify setting such a high catch limit,” continued Fink. “Canada is being heavily criticized for failing its international responsibilities when it comes to fisheries management. Well, now the world can see that even where management plans are in place, they are simply ignored,” said Fink.

The major markets for seal products are closed and IFAW believes it is only a matter of time before the commercial seal hunt ends. The economic value of the Atlantic seal hunt has dropped dramatically in the last five years, with only 225 sealers taking part in the 2011hunt, which had a landed value of little more than £636,000.

Most recently, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan joined the European Union, the United States and Mexico in implementing restrictions on seal products.

“The commercial seal hunt is dying. The question now is whether the Government of Canada will do the right thing by helping sealers out of the industry, or will they continue to raise false hopes by setting high quotas and pretending that this industry has a future when it clearly it does not,” said Fink.

IFAW is calling on the federal government to end the commercial seal hunt and to invest in alternatives for sealers and their communities, rather than continuing to waste taxpayer dollars to prop up a dying and economically unviable industry.


NL: Seal hunting season remains in limbo

 Seals are seen on the ice off Newfoundland and Labrador in this file photo. While the seal population has reached an estimated eight million animals and the quota for the 2012 hunt is 400,000, the number of seals killed in the hunt this year is…

The Telegram

Not only is there no opening set for the seal hunt at The Front, but according to a spokesman for the sealers there hasn’t been a meeting yet to discuss possible dates.

[ST. JOHN’S, NL] — Not only is there no opening set for the seal hunt at The Front, but according to a spokesman for the sealers there hasn’t been a meeting yet to discuss possible dates.

Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association, said the opening of the main hunting grounds, just off Newfoundland and Labrador, is usually set by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after the announcement of the year’s quota which was set at 400,000 a few weeks ago.

As of Monday, Pinhorn said there had been no consultation with his organization.

He said the opening would normally be set somewhere around April 8-11. “I expect to hear this week, but again I’m not sure. It’s left in limbo.”

The veteran sealer said while the quota has been set, it is not yet clear who might buy the seals.

“We have no commitment from the industry — if they’re going to buy and, if they’re buying, what the price might be,” he told The Telegram.

While the logistics of this year’s hunt may be in limbo, the one constant is the presence of the anti-hunt campaigns.

A commentary piece, “Dismantling the seal hunt,” was published online Sunday by The Varsity student newspaper at the University of Toronto. In the piece, writer Simon Capobianco states the seal hunt debate is “long on emotion and short on facts.”

He goes on to call the hunt “immoral” and “a drain on the economy.”

The piece runs under a photograph of a white-coated baby seal, though Canada banned hunting of whitecoats in 1987.

On the decidedly anti-hunt website for Humane Society International (HSI) in the United States, an image of a seal about to be killed by a sealer is accompanied by the text: “Help us stop this. Baby seals need your help now.”

HSI has successfully developed their anti-hunt efforts over the decades. A Facebook posting Friday calling for “emergency donation” for their 2012 anti-sealing campaign had 646 “shares” as of mid-day Monday.

The posting noted the early opening of the smaller hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence was moved ahead by a matter of a few days.

Leaders with the Canadian arm of the organization are unapologetic when it comes to the aggressive stance against the faltering sealing industry.

“We believe a constructive solution can be found to end the commercial seal slaughter in Canada, and doing so in the near term is a major priority for us,” read a statement offered to The Telegram. To that end, the group promotes a federal buyout for sealers.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) mainpage also features an anti-sealing campaign, an extension of that organization’s efforts year after year.

The IFAW has called the 2012 Canadian harp seal quota “indefensible.”

Source: Daily Business Buzz

Dismantling the seal hunt

A look at the myths that sustain the controversial industry


With the controversial Canadian harp seal hunt about to begin in earnest, debate rages as usual and once again, the debate is long on emotion and short on facts. Seen as a tug-of-war between environmentalists outraged by images of bloodied seal pups and pragmatists defending the livelihoods of Newfoundlanders, most discourse tacitly assumes that the hunt, although perhaps inhumane, generates needed profits. This is only half true.

Before getting into the economics of the issue, it should be noted that the term “hunt” is a gross misrepresentation of what transpires on the Newfoundland ice floes. Hunt implies that the animal has some chance of getting away, and, as anyone who has seen video of the harp seal hunt knows, this is the same type of hunting that happens to pigs in slaughterhouses, or to fish in barrels. The occasional descriptions of it as a harvest defy comment.

Ethical considerations aside, let’s consider the ubiquitous claim that the hunt is an important source of revenue for Canadian communities — “tremendously valuable,” as the Department of Oceans and Fisheries puts it. It is certainly true that the hunt generates some money for each of the six-to-seven thousand Canadians who spend roughly 125 hours sealing every year. It is also true that the public subsidies which support the hunt — in the form of free ice-breaking services, extensive search-and-rescue operations, and international marketing campaigns — are nearly equal to, if not in excess of, the total revenue derived from it in any given year.

When public expenditures are factored in, the hunt barely breaks even — it may even lose money, and that is according to conservative estimates made before the European Union banned seal products in 2009, driving down the price of pelts even further. With the Russian Federation recently enacting a similar ban, this tremendously valuable industry will almost certainly be costing the taxpayer more money than the sealers are making from it.

The fact that hundreds of thousands of seals could be spared gruesome deaths and that the communities livelihood could be protected by simply paying the sealers the value of the public subsidies each year does not prevent some pundits from enthusiastically defending this unnecessary cruelty. Rex Murphy, for instance, wrote recently that “We [Newfoundlanders] should not stop something we have been doing because outsiders — those who have no connection to Newfoundland or to the seal hunt, and who have been telling wildly overheated fables about it for decades — tell us to stop it. To hell with them.”

To hell with them! But not with their millions of dollars in subsidies: not with their free icebreaking ships, rescue helicopters, and international lobbying. In short, ‘we’ll take their money but not their morals.’ The truth behind all the bluster is that no one has to tell sealers to give up the hunt — all we have to do is stop paying for it. If sealers are not allowed to socialize the costs of their business while privatizing the profits, they will give up the hunt voluntarily because the industry is simply not commercially viable without massive public funding.

Murphy also advocates that harp seals, which subsist mainly on a fish diet, must be culled en-masse to protect valuable cod stocks. Profits aside, he assures us that we must rush to thin out the numbers of the “rapacious seals slithering underwater all around [Newfoundland] — sucking up every piece of protein the sea has to offer, including of course the king of all food fish, the cod.” Aside from money, the argument is made that sealers are performing a public service by protecting cod stocks from ravenous seals.

This theory might have been tenable a few years ago, some time before the hunt’s most vociferous proponent, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, publicly announced that it was not the case. “The commercial seal quota is based upon sound conservation principles, not an attempt to assist in the recovery of groundfish stocks,” the DFO website states, explaining that “Seals eat cod, but seals also eat other fish that prey on cod.” These days, however, the cod-saving story is just another debunked fairy-tale — like the idea that the hunt is a self-sustaining industry. The fact that Murphy repeats it in the same breath with which he accuses anti-hunt activists of propagating “wildly overheated fables” is an example of the depths to which debate has sunk.

The seal hunt is not just immoral. It’s a drain on the economy. The debate over it is miscast as a balancing of livelihoods against animal welfare; in reality, these two values can easily coexist. When the hunt finally collapses in the wake of the Russian ban, Ottawa will have a choice: continue trying desperately to create foreign markets for an unethical, no longer viable industry, or redirect the subsidies to help Newfoundland’s economy adapt to the new fiscal landscape. The second choice is, by far, the more rational; the first is, unfortunately, the more likely.

Source:The Varsity


~ by FSVSF Admin on 27 March, 2012.

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