Canada to Announce Seal Hunt

Feature story - March 14, 2006

If you thought the clubbing of seals ended decades ago, think again.  Canada is preparing to begin another season of reckless killing on the ice pack off its Atlantic coast.  Around a million seal pups were killed for their fur in the last three years, and there is no indication that the pace is about to let up.

Our work and the work of our allies in the 1970s and 80s resulted in a ban on the killing of "whitecoat" seals - seals less than 15 days old. This destroyed the market for seal pelts and effectively ended the giant commercial hunts, but not, unfortunately, for good.  As seal populations began to recover, the Canadian government worked to develop new markets for fur from slightly older seals - most still less than three months old.

This expected government-sanctioned eradication of hundreds of thousands of seal pups jeopardizes a species already facing an uncertain future as their habitat melts out from underneath them.  Global warming is melting the ice that harp seals depend on for breeding, nursing and resting.  This February, at least 1,500 grey seals drowned when poor ice conditions forced them to give birth on land and they were swept away by a storm while too young to swim.

On February 6, Stephen Harper was sworn in as Canada's 22nd prime minister.  During the ceremony, he promised to make his government "more acccountable and effective."  Now it's time to see if he is a man of his word.

Take Action!

Tell Canada's new prime minister to abandon the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world.  Urge him to remedy Canada's tarnished reputation and establish the nation as a steward of the marine environment.