The Seal Hunt Begins.. WHY???

THIS MAKES ME PHYSICALLY SICK..... There is nothing I can really do about this, I have seen these pictures since I was a child (well over 30 years now)and it sickens me and makes me cry EVERY YEAR....This is a Horrible, degrading, perverted massacre, there is no need for this AT ALL....

If you want to take action to stop the Canadian commercial seal hunt, please click HERE!!!!!!HELP THE SEALS!!!.

Reuters) - Canada's annual seal hunt, the focus of a major protest effort by animal activists, will start on Saturday and could last longer than usual because the ice floes on which the seals gather are in poor condition, officials said on Thursday.

Canada says a total of 325,000 harp seal pups can be shot or clubbed to death this year. The first stage of the hunt, which takes place on ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Canada's East Coast, will account for just over 90,000 animals.

Activists, who say the killing is cruel and unnecessary, say they will film the proceedings. The hunt officially starts at 6 a.m. on Saturday.

Hunters usually take between five and eight days to meet their quota but officials say the ice is much more broken up than usual and the seals are very scattered.

"It will be slower ... this will drag on," said Roger Simon of the federal fisheries ministry.

The second and more important stage of the hunt, which takes place off the coast of Newfoundland, will start on April 4 and last for most of the month.

A number of high-profile figures, among them former French film star Brigitte Bardot and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, have called on Canada to scrap the hunt.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shrugged off the protests on Thursday, saying he had no intention of commenting on what Bardot and others were doing.

Seal Hunting in Canada
Who is in charge of the seal hunt?
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans is responsible for all aspects of harp seal management, which include ensuring that the Canadian seal hunt is humane and sustainable.
What species of seals are hunted?
Although harp seals are the focus of the commercial hunt, a smaller number of hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) are also commercially hunted each year. Other species of seals, including ringed (Pusa hispida), harbour (Phoca vitulina), grey (Halichoerus grypus), and bearded (Erignathus barbatus) are also killed in non-commercial hunts.
What legislation regulates the seal hunt?
The Marine Mammal Regulations, which fall under Canada's Fisheries Act, are the main piece of Federal legislation pertaining to the seal hunt. Unnecessarily cruel behaviour by sealers is also prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada, which states: "Everyone commits an offence who (a) wilfully causes [...] unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or bird."

How is the seal hunt managed?
Since 1996, the government has based its management decisions largely on a computer model that suggests the harp seal population numbered 4.8 million seals in 1994. A replacement yield – the number of animals that can be removed from the population annually without causing it to decline – was set at 286,700 seals. Based on this model, the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) was increased to 250,000 in 1996 and 275,000 from 1997 to present. These are the highest TACs since the introduction of quota management in 1971.
How are hunt regulations enforced?
DFO has the responsibility for enforcing hunt regulations, and claims that: "Humane practices are supported by industry and strictly enforced by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Penalties are among the toughest in the world".
The enforcement efforts of DFO have come under increasing criticism. In 1998, for example, Dr. Mary Richardson, a respected veterinarian who has been Chair of the Animal Care Review Board for the Solicitor-General of Ontario, Director of Animal Welfare for the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and Animal Welfare Committee Member for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association was quoted as saying: "I have now reviewed new video evidence obtained by IFAW during the 1998 commercial seal hunt.

Even though a full year has passed since the 1997 footage was released, it is clear that the DFO, which is responsible for monitoring this hunt, and the Canadian Sealers' Association, which promotes this hunt as well-regulated, have done nothing to ensure that seals are not suffering and that the relevant provisions of the Marine Mammal Regulations and the Criminal Code of Canada are upheld" (Source: Canada's Commercial Seal Hunt - 1998 Investigation, IFAW).
How many sealers take part in the hunt?
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans states "In recent years, commercial licenses issued to sealers averaged 9,000 per year. In 1999, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) issued 10,518 commercial sealing licenses." (Source: Atlantic Seal Hunt - 2000 Management Plan, DFO).
It is important to note, however, that only a small fraction of licensed commercial sealers actually participate in the seal hunt. In Newfoundland, for instance, there were only approximately 600 active sealers in 1996 (Source: Newfoundland Region 1996 Seal Fishery Activity Report, DFO). In 1998, the Executive Council of the Conference of Atlantic Premiers reported that 3,900 fishermen were engaged in the sealing industry. (Source: "The Sealing Industry" a news release by the Executive Council of the Conference of Atlantic Premiers, Fredericton, NB, June 9, 1998)

Where and when does the hunt take place?
Although the movement of ice floes and ice conditions often determines the degree of effort in any given area, the majority of the seal hunt occurs on the Front, off the north and east coasts of Newfoundland, and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island.
Canada's Marine Mammal Regulations specify that the commercial harp seal hunt may occur between November 15 and May 15. However, the main hunt usually begins in early March, and continues through May or until the quota has been reached.
The Greenland hunt (which is essentially unregulated) occurs mainly between June and September, when the harp seals have migrated to the waters between Greenland and the Canadian eastern arctic.
Taking into account both the Canadian and Greenland hunts, the Northwest Atlantic harp seals can be hunted at virtually all times of the year. No other North American large mammal population is managed in this way.
How are seals killed during the hunt?
Younger seals (ragged jackets and beaters) are usually killed on the ice with clubs or hakapiks (a device resembling a heavy ice-pick). Later in the season, beaters and older seals are usually shot with a rifle, both on the ice and in the water. It is also legal to use a shotgun firing slugs. It is illegal to deliberately capture seals using nets, although seals are often caught incidentally in nets set for other fisheries.
What is the total number of seals killed?
The Canadian government issues "landed catch" statistics that are widely reported in the media and often misinterpreted as the total number of seals killed.
These reports, however, only count the number of seals that are "landed" at seal processing facilities. They do not include seals that are killed during Greenland's hunt of the same population, nor do they account for seals that are wounded but escape ("struck and lost"), or animals that are killed incidentally in fishing nets.
A recent study "Estimating Total Kill of Northwest Atlantic Harp Seals, 1994-1998" in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Marine Mammal Science concluded that in 1998 the actual number of harp seals killed was somewhere between 406,258 and 548,903. This means more animals are being killed than would be considered prudent under a truly precautionary approach to harp seal management.

How old are the seals when they are killed?
A harp seal can be legally killed as soon as it has begun to moult its white hair, around 2 weeks after birth. Adult seals are also killed. The seal hunt is one of the very few hunts that occur in the spring when young are being born. Most other large mammals are hunted in the fall, and are protected from hunting in the spring.
What percentage of seals killed are pups?
Usually around 80% of the seals killed in the commercial hunt are ‘young of the year’ - between approximately 12 days and 1 year old (Source: DFO, Proceeding of the National Marine Mammal Review Committee, Feb. 1999).
Is it illegal to kill whitecoat seals?
The Marine Mammal Regulations make it illegal for non-natives to barter, sell, or trade whitecoat seal products. The prohibition on selling these seals was intended to remove any reason for hunting them. A recent ruling by the Newfoundland Court of Appeal found this section of the Marine Mammal Regulations to be unconstitutional and, as a result, it cannot be enforced in Newfoundland. In February 2000, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced that it would attach a condition to commercial sealing licences that will prohibit the hunting of whitecoat and blueback seals. The new condition gets around the court ruling by prohibiting the killing rather than the selling of seal pup products. Moreover, the federal government has sought leave to appeal the Newfoundland Court of Appeal's ruling to the Supreme Court of Canada.
What is the difference between a seal hunt and a seal cull?
A hunt is meant to be a sustainable kill of a "renewable resource." The objective is to maintain a relatively large and constant population size while killing a set number of animals each year.
A cull is designed to reduce the size of a population; in this case, ostensibly to reduce the impact on fish stocks, and provide benefits for commercial fisheries. A seal hunt, by definition, cannot be both a sustainable hunt and a cull.
The Canadian government's stated objective is that of a sustainable hunt - one which does not cause the current population to decline - rather than a cull.
Is the hunt humane?
Almost everyone involved with seals and sealing agrees there are documented problems with the current hunt, but opinions vary widely on the seriousness of the issues and the best solution.
In essence, the sealing industry believes that widely publicised video from the past five seal hunts only shows isolated incidents which can be addressed through better training and limited changes to sealing regulations.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is committed to proposing new regulations to address what it sees as the critical hunt issues. The International Fund for Animal Welfare supports efforts to revise sealing regulations, but notes that though many sealers may be well-intentioned, the unpredictable weather and ice conditions, combined with the difficulties inherent in killing a large number of wild animals very quickly, results in unacceptable levels of inhumane conduct.

Dr. Mary Richardson, former Chair of the Animal Care Review Board for the Solicitor-General of Ontario, noted that "Veterinarians accept that animals will be used by humans, but as a profession, we work to ensure that they will be treated humanely and when death is necessary, that it be executed in a quick and painless manner. The seals that are taken in Canada's commercial hunt are not being killed humanely" (Source: Canada's Commercial Seal Hunt - 1998 investigation, IFAW).
Is the hunt sustainable?
Not currently, the Canadian government defines a sustainable hunt as one that does not cause the population to decline from current levels. The "replacement yield", or number of harp seals that the government estimates can be killed annually while still maintaining the size of the population, is 286,700.
For the past four years, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has set the total allowable catch (TAC) at a number lower than the replacement yield, with the objective of a sustainable hunt, as defined above.
Landed catch statistics are used to assess the number of seals killed, and to determine whether the seal hunt occurs at a level that is sustainable. The simplest and most conventional way to determine if the hunt is sustainable is to compare the landed catch of harp seals with the estimate of replacement yield.
In each of the past four years, the reported landed catch of seals from the Canadian hunt, combined with the landed or estimated catch of the Greenland hunt (which takes seals from the same population), has been greater than the replacement yield. Therefore, if the Canadian government's figures are correct, the hunt is not sustainable and the harp seal population is likely declining.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has now recognised this risk, stating, "the recent growth of the Greenland seal hunt may be taking the two countries beyond the harp seal replacement yield".
Landed Catch(Canada) 1
Landed Catch(Greenland)2
Total Landed Catch(Canada + Greenland)

1 Official catch statistics obtained from the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Ottawa (see Lavigne in press). These figures differ slightly from those provided for the same years by the ICES/NAFO Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals (Anon. 1998, 1999).
2 Anon. (1999). These figures differ slightly from the landed catch statistics and estimated landed catches provided previously for the same years by Anon. (1998), and Lavigne (in press).
3 Minimum and maximum catch for Greenland, 1997-1998, estimated using 95% confidence limits (df = 3) around average Greenland catch, 1993-1996, inclusive (53,046, 54,332, 60,207, 73,938, respectively; Anon. 1999). These estimates differ slightly from those in Lavigne (in press), which were calculated using data reported previously.
In addition, it is certain that more animals are actually killed during the seal hunt than are reported in landed catch statistics. For example, some animals that are killed by hunters are not recovered (struck and lost), and are therefore not included in the landed catch values. Others are killed for selected parts (e.g. penises) and never appear in the landed catch statistics. Harp seals are also taken as bycatch in other commercial fishing operations. In fact, the number of seals reported in landed catch statistics could underestimate the total human-caused mortality of harp seals by as much as 89% (Source: Lavigne 1999).
Most recently, a study published in the internationally-respected scientific journal Conservation Biology concluded that the number of harp seals being killed by humans (including the numbers of animals landed by sealers, the number of seals killed but not recovered, and incidental catch in commercial fisheries) exceeds the levels that would be permitted by a more conservation-oriented management model by as much as 2 to 6 times (Source: "Notes for a presentation to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, House of Commons, Ottawa," IMMA).
Since harp seals are not endangered, why not hunt them and encourage the markets for their parts?
The history of wildlife conservation has shown that the commercial trade in dead wild life, or its parts and derivatives, is virtually impossible to regulate and is rarely sustainable. Certain biological characteristics make seals particularly susceptible to the effects of commercial exploitation. For example, harp seals are relatively long-lived mammals, which reproduce in large groups and bear only one offspring each year. In addition, the management of Northwest Atlantic harp seals is complicated by the fact that the population migrates between Canada and Greenland, and is commercially hunted in both countries.
But biology and management aside, there are other reasons why the commercial exploitation of seals needs to be carefully monitored:
The fact that dead animals have a price placed on their heads creates incentive for illegal trade and misreporting of the catch. A legal trade in seal penises for the aphrodisiac market, for example, may provide an incentive for poaching. It also results in "highgrading", where animals are killed for selected valuable parts such as the penis, and the rest of the animal is discarded without being recorded in the landed catch statistics.
Finally, history also shows us that once legal (and illegal) markets are established for wildlife parts, they cannot be easily legislated away. It is for all of these reasons that encouraging a trade in harp seal parts could result in unsustainable harvesting practices, and threaten the seal population.
Should the quota be increased or decreased?
If the federal government is indeed interested in ensuring that the commercial seal hunt is sustainable, it has little choice but to lower the harp seal Total Allowable Catch from its current level of 275,000.
In the last two years, an increasing number of prominent scientists and conservation organisations have become concerned that the commercial seal hunt is depleting the harp seal population.
The government of Newfoundland has, in the past, indicated that the quota should be increased. On May 4, 1998, John Efford, Newfoundland Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture told his legislature that "I would like to see the 6 million seals, or whatever number is out there, killed or sold, or destroyed or burned. I do not care what happens to them...the more they kill the better I will love it."
DFO has indicated that: "There are many different views and opinions on whether the harp seal total allowable catch (TAC) should be increased or decreased. Until we have new information on the size of the harp seal population, there is no basis for change in the TAC". The federal government is creating an Eminent Persons Panel to advise on future management directions for the seal hunt, including appropriate quota levels.
What you can do
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was founded in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, in 1969 and has grown into one of the largest animal welfare organisations in the world. IFAW works to improve the welfare of wild and domestic animals throughout the world by reducing commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats, and assisting animals in distress. IFAW seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well being of both animals and people.
If you want to take action to stop the Canadian commercial seal hunt, please click HERE!!!!!!HELP THE SEALS!!!.
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is responsible for all aspects of seal management, which includes ensuring that the Canadian commercial seal hunt is conducted in a humane and regulated manner.


Joƫlle said...


A really informative post.

But your take action link isn't working...

How about this one?


Table Mountains said...