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.
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.