Friday, March 24, 2006

Annual Canadian Baby Seal Slaughter Will Begin This Saturday 3-24-2006: Up to 325,000 Baby Seals Will Be Slaughtered Using Clubs with Hooks and Nails

Sorry to report that the annual display of the worst of human primal nature – the annual Canadian baby seal slaughter will begin tomorrow. The article below reports a few different numbers of the victims that will occur. However, up to 325,000 baby seals will be allowed to be slaughtered. It’s done in a very brutal way too, using clubs or bats with sharp claws or hooks or nails attached. They literally bash the baby seals in the head with these primitive killing devices. Very brutal, very inhumane.

More on the Canadian seal slaughter and what you can do to stop it can be found at:


Seat hunt protesters say global opposition growing to East Coast slaughter

Thu Mar 23, 5:29 PM ET

CHARLOTTETOWN (CP) - Canada's East Coast seal hunt will be under a global microscope when sealers take to the ice Saturday to begin the annual hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The federal Fisheries Department announced Thursday that the Gulf hunt, which has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, will begin at 6 a.m. Saturday, allowing sealers from Atlantic Canada and Quebec to begin taking 91,000 harp seals.

A much larger hunt off the northern coast of Newfoundland, where hunters can take 234,000 seals, is expected to begin early next month.

Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society of the United States, one of several animal rights groups opposed to the hunt, said protesters believe international momentum is building for their cause.

Aldworth said the anti-hunt movement was a victim of its own success when, in 1983, the European Economic Community banned the importation of the distinctive white fur pelts of newborn harp seals.

She said many people thought that was the end of the hunt and did not realize Canada continued to allow the yearly slaughter even though markets had largely collapsed and the killing of whitecoats was banned in 1987.

Between 1983 and 1995, the industry took about 52,000 seals annually - a fraction of the number killed during the 1950s and 1960s when the hunt first attracted the attention of conservation groups.

"Our challenge has never been convincing the world that it is wrong to kill baby seals for their skins; the challenge has been telling the world that the hunt goes on," Aldworth said in an interview.

The commercial sealing industry surged back to life in 1996 as demand for seal skin increased and the federal government continued subsidizing the sale of seal meat - a practice that ended in 1999.

Between 1996 and 2002, an average of 240,000 seals were taken every year, but that number jumped to over 300,000 when the federal government announced in 2003 a three-year total allowable catch of 975,000 animals.

That's when the protesters started to regroup.

"Most people out there believed the hunt ended in the 1980s," said Aldworth. "When the Canadian government subsidized the hunt's return in the 1990s, it was very difficult to educate the world to the fact the hunt was back. But now, the world is aware."

Aldworth said the visit to the ice floes by megastar Paul McCartney earlier this month focused international attention on the hunt once again.

As well, 71-year-old actress Brigitte Bardot - the French film star whose visit to the floes in 1972 marked a pivotal turning point for the anti-hunt movement - visited Ottawa earlier this week to plead for an end to the harvest.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was asked about some grisly videotapes of the seal hunt aired by Bardot.

"The policy of federal governments for many years . . . including governments of different partisan stripes, helps to improve this hunt and obviously it worries me if the laws are not respected," Harper said, speaking in French.

"Other than that, I don't have any intention of commenting on the publicity of the celebrities."

Harper refused to take a follow-up question so it was not clear what laws, if any, he is concerned are being flouted by seal hunters.

Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who will not be attending the Gulf hunt this year, said he is focusing his attention on promoting a boycott of Canadian seafood products.

"We figure it has already cost Canada over $140 million," Watson said. "It's really growing. It usually takes about three years to get a boycott up and running. We're way ahead of schedule. It's the only thing Canada will listen to."

Phil Jenkins, spokesman for the federal Fisheries Department, said the animal rights groups are spreading lies about the seal hunt and the boycott.

"It's all flim-flam," Jenkins fumed. "The industry has reported no effect on their operations at all as a result of this boycott."

The Humane Society says Statistics Canada figures show that Canadian snow crab exports to the U.S. have dropped by more than $150 million or 36 per cent since the campaign began last year, nearly 10 times the value of the hunt.

But people involved in the Canadian crab fishery said other factors were at work in the decline last year.

"Demand doesn't appear to be lower," said Peter Noel of the Northeast Crabbers Association in New Brunswick. "There has been an oversupply on the market in the last year or so, which has slowed things down."

Noel said people should be suspicious of the protesters' motives.

"They're not there for the welfare of the animals," he said. "They're there to fill their pockets."

Jenkins said the Canadian government feels the same way.

"What this is really all about is a ton of money," he said. "I think the Humane Society last year had revenues of about $87 million. This is a huge business."

The Humane Society says that over 400 restaurants and food distributors now are boycotting Canadian seafood, figures disputed by at least one restaurant lobby group in the United States.

Orlando Hitzig, a restaurant operator in Washington, D.C., said he signed the Humane Society boycott even though he does not traditionally buy Canadian seafood.

"It's senseless killing," Hitzig said of the seal hunt. "But generally, I don't buy Canadian seafood so the boycott doesn't affect me much."

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