We've all seen photos of baby harp seals; with their white coats and big dark eyes, they're quite adorable animals. Most of us have also heard of the yearly hunts that target them for their pelts, and leave their skinned bodies to rot all over the ice. This annual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of animals, subsidized by the Canadian government, is cruel, economically unnecessary and is also the largest single killing of marine animals that happens every year.
An on-the-ground scientific study found that 42% of the seals were skinned while they were still alive. Babies are killed in front of their mothers. Mother seals chase after their babies as their babies' still struggling bodies are dragged away on hooks. The level of cruelty of which humans are capable is disgusting beyond words. Someone complained about one of the graphic photos of the seal hunt posted to this site. This story is about the graphic acts themselves.
This year, both the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have crews in Canada to document the hunt. Activists are prevented from approaching an active seal hunt closer than half a nautical mile without permission from the Candadian government. A permit to "observe" from no closer than 10 meters is the best one can get. Activists with and without such permits have been threatened and attacked while obeying the law, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and U.S. Coast Guard have been siding with the hunters.
Some of these stories have been posted here to portland indymedia, but you can follow the updates, daily in some cases, at a couple of different websites:read more >>
resources: [ Sea Shepherd "What you can do to help" page | HSUS "Protect Seals: What You Can Do" page | Boycott Canada | harpseals.org | International Fund for Animal Welfare ]