Hunters Allowed To Kill
350,000 Young Seals This Year
Staff and agencies
The Guardian - UK

Hunter clubs a seal in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, Canada.
Photograph: Stewart Cook/Getty Images
The largest seal hunt in almost 50 years continues today on the ice floes and islands off eastern Canada as a picture in some of this morning's newspapers shows a seal hunter apparently about to beat one of the animals to death.
Armed with rifles and spears, some 12,000 sealers began the hunt yesterday, accompanied by protesters condemning the £10m harvest as barbaric. Up to 10,000 seals were being killed every hour, reports claimed.
Hunters are allowed to kill 350,000 young seals this year, the largest amount since the government instituted quotas in the 1960s. Sealers say the harp seal population is burgeoning at 5.2 million and pelts are garnering record prices of about £27 each as it enjoys a boom in popularity with fashion designers.
However Rebecca Aldworth of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which will monitor the cull, said: "I believe this hunt is inherently cruel and the regulations to protect the seals are woefully inadequate."
She said hunting guidelines have been routinely ignored during her five years of monitoring the hunt, and her group has documented nearly 700 violations of hunting regulations since 1998. She said she has seen "seals whimpering in agony after being clubbed, and even though we begged the sealers to finish them off, they refused."
The hunt off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador received international attention beginning in the 1960s, and bloody television images of baby harp seals being clubbed to death led to bans on white seal fur and boycotts of Canadian fish products in many European markets.
Since then, the Canadian government has tried to ease protesters' concerns by banning the killing of seal pups under 12 days old - when their fur changes from white to grey - and implementing regulations designed to make the hunt more humane.
Many countries, including the United States, still ban imports of seal products, but the Ottawa government has supported the hunt to help Canada's economically troubled coastal towns. The industry earned about £8m last year, primarily from pelt sales to Norway, Denmark and China.
Earlier this year, the Humane Society of the United States took out full-page newspaper ads urging Americans to cancel trips to Canada and boycott Canadian products.
US Senator Carl Levin introduced a resolution condemning the hunt, and some of those attending the Sundance Film Festival in Utah earlier this year wore T-shirts reading: "Club Sandwiches, Not Seals".
However, some of the major activist groups that targeted sealing in the past said they have more pressing issues to address this year.
Andrew Male of Greenpeace Canada said the organisation was "not actively campaigning" against the hunt, instead focusing on such issues as genetically modified foods and climate change.
Despite its newspaper ad, the Humane Society does not oppose the hunt itself, only some of the methods used by sealers, spokesman Nicholas Braden said.
Although most seals are shot instead of clubbed, many wounded animals are left to drown, he said. A study by the organisation found that 40% of the seals killed were still alive while being skinned, despite rules designed to prevent this, he said.
But Steve Outhouse, a spokesman for Canada's Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans, disputed the accusations of campaigners. A Canadian Veterinary Medical Association study found that 98% of the seals were killed "in a medically humane manner with the minimum of pain," he said yesterday.
The Canadian government has filed charges of illegal hunting more than 100 times during the past five years, Mr Outhouse said.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004,11917,1191056,00.html
From Steve Frye
Mr. Jeff Rense,
I recently saw an article you posted on your website regarding the killing of innocent and trusting seals in Canada. I must confess to you, that I was unable to read the article.The photo of the real animal about to club the innocent and trusting seal was too much for me. I became nauseated and wept openly.
I have always been a scrapper. I would fist fight at the drop of a hat or a dirty look. In my youth, I fought 4 road curbing crew workers at the same time. Many people claimed I was nuts in the head. I'm not nuts, I just speak my mind, especially when wronged or when witnessing someone being wronged.
My point being, that I'm not a wimpy person nor have I ever been. When I looked at the photo of that inhuman waste of flesh about to club a defenseless seal while the seal looks up at him as a child looks at it's mother, I almost vomited.
To think this is going on a thousand times a day, every day is heartbreaking. I don't care if these inhuman pieces of shit cannot feed their family or not. There is absolutely no excuse to commit this kind of atrocity. I tell you, if I were ever to witness something like that, there would be no hope for that sorry Bastard. None!
Anyone who would beat the brains out of a helpless and trusting wild animal like that deserves at least to have the same thing done to them as well. Hopefully, in sight of the seals where the animals could watch the real "animal" get his brains beat out. Retarded Cowards. Too stupid to relocate to an area where they CAN work and feed their families without murdering defenseless creatures who have as much right to live and survive as we do. I'd like to see these murdering bastards survive the cruelty of nature as well as our wildlife does. The evil and cruelty of humanity is beyond me. This business of killing these seals must be stopped.
In a world where human babies are ripped and torn to pieces, having their skulls crushed before being removed from the mother during the abominable abortion procedure, which is condoned by millions, it shouldn't be a surprise to see the kind of activity such as the seal horror, but it is. These "people" have the same mentality as those who tie puppies and helpless dogs to a tree and let pitbulls rip them apart without the ability to defend themselves. They aren't people, they are demons.
Judgement rain down upon those who participate in these horrific deeds. There is no justice in this world when these activities can happen without the actor being struck down in the act. However judgement will certainly be metered out to these "people" who have no soul. They have no soul. Their fate is sealed. Literally.
Your site is one of my main stops when I buzz the net daily and I have read many disturbing stories, but nothing hit me harder than the picture of that Bastard about to strike a helpless, innocent and trusting animal like that. It struck me to the core. Who are the real animals? If these people count themselves as human, then I don't number myself among them.
Thank you for your attention and your web site,
Steve Frye
Pottstown Pa.
From Mary Sparrowdancer
This is outrageous.
As someone who has taken care of more than 20,000 sick, injured and orphaned wild animals and birds, I can tell you that the seal looking at the man has absolutely no idea that the man is about to deliver to it a death blow. Animals have inherent innocence, and they only come to understand the violence of human beings after human beings exhibit their violence.
Of all the orphaned wild birds and animals that I have cared for and raised, I can say that the majority of those that have been released back into the wild have sought me out after they became adults.
Not only did they remember me, they also brought their own young to me. Perhaps they were teaching something to their young - I do not know - all I know is that when they brought their young to me, I was permitted to feed and touch their young.
Even though I was not always able to recognize the adults birds and animals who returned to me with their young, they never forgot who I was. The animals never forgot the compassion that had been extended to them.
mary sparrowdancer



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