Monday, March 10, 2008

More Humane Baby Seal Slaughter?

A harp seal lies on the ice as a sealing boat positions itself for the start of the commercial seal hunt.

More humane seal hunt takes to ice: The key element will be for hunters to palpitate the seal's skull to gauge whether it is unconscious or whether its head has been fatally crushed before proceeding with bleeding out or skinning the animals. If the seal is still alert, hunters will have to cut the main artery to ensure imminent death.
"They're not going to require immediate testing for unconsciousness," said Rebecca Aldworth, director of Canadian Wildlife Issues for the Humane Society of the United States, a leading opponent of the seal hunt.

"They're shooting from boats, at moving seals, from moving vessels, often at a distance of 50 to 60 metres. Even if you were able to stun that animal with one gunshot, it would take a significant amount of time to reach that animal and test for unconsciousness ... and that's done by impaling the animal through the jaw with a hook and lifting it on to the boat. That does not fit with internationally accepted standards for a humane death."

Canada says 275,000 seals can be killed this year:
OTTAWA, March 10 (Reuters) - Hunters will be allowed to kill 275,000 young harp seals on the ice floes off eastern Canada this year, the government said on Monday, a number that animal rights activists said was totally unsustainable.

The quota is slightly more than last year's 270,000, when ice conditions were poor, but considerably below the 335,000 set in 2006.

Phil Jenkins, a spokesman for the Fisheries and Oceans Department, dismissed suggestions that the harp seal herd was in danger of shrinking.

"The seal herd is healthy and abundant right now at about 5.5 million animals. We want to see it continue to be healthy and so over the years we have brought back the total allowable catch," he said.

The animals are either shot or clubbed to death in a hunt that takes place in March and April each year. The furs are turned into clothes and there is a growing market for seal oil, which is rich in omega 3 fatty acids.

Activists complain the hunt is cruel and say they often catch sealers killing animals in an inhumane way. Ottawa says that from this year hunters will be obliged to take extra steps to ensure the seals die humanely.

Sheryl Fink of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said she was stunned at the quota, which she described as unsustainable.

"There is absolutely no way this increase in quota can possibly be justified," she said in a statement.

"It's a national embarrassment ... is killing baby seals really what Canadians want to be known for?

The government's official plan calls for the herd to be kept at 4.1 million animals or above.

"We have a conservative approach to dealing with this herd ... 275,000 is at a level where we think we are not anywhere near in danger of bringing it down to 4.1 million," said Jenkins. The hunt is set to start in the second half of March.

Activists, who since 2005 have been urging U.S. restaurant chains to boycott Canadian seafood until the seal hunt is stopped, say they are optimistic the European Union will soon impose a ban on the import of all seal products from Canada.

"The seal hunt is an economic mainstay for numerous rural communities in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North. It's with these people in mind we make decisions based on science," said federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn.

Activists say the minority Conservative government is in fact subsidizing the hunt in a bid to gain votes in Eastern Canada at the next federal election, which is set for October 2009.

"We believe this quota is reckless and it's far more about conserving votes than it is about conserving seals, said Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society of the United States. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

harp seal 1 by ~xXxWTFxXx

“Quite frankly, I’m stunned.” Said Sheryl Fink, a senior researcher with the International Fund for Animal Welfare - IFAW. “There is absolutely no way this increase in quota can possibly be justified. The science doesn’t support it, the markets can’t support it, and the Canadian public won’t support it.”

Scientists from the DFO have acknowledged that the harp seal population is in decline, and have warned that a significant reduction in the Total Allowable Catch will be necessary in order to reach the Canadian government’s management objectives.

“If nothing else, today’s announcement will solidify the recent international criticism of Canada as a country with a ‘manifest disregard for science’.” said Fink


Ogg the Caveman said...

Hm. I always thought they clubbed them instead of shooting them. Either way, baby seals are cute while still alive.

Oh, and Murst!

NotAnOptimist said...

Poor baby seals. =\

Doesn't it take a lot to fatally crush a skull? *wince*

dangit, ogg took murst.

wagga said...

Here in California we treat brutal murderers much more kindly (that needle is cruel & unusual punishment!) than hunters treat baby seals.

Akubi said...

What I'd like to know are who are the sick individuals who still buy that fur?

In polar bear news: Environmental groups are set to sue the Bush administration in a federal court in California, claiming the Fish and Wildlife Service is now in breach of its own mandate.

The FWS was due to have decided by January 9 whether to classify the polar bear as threatened due to climate change. This date itself was a full year after consultations began on the issue. But the service has said it is still reviewing technical data along with more than 670,000 comments on the issue.

The FWS inspector general has announced a preliminary investigation into the delay to determine whether a full-fledged investigation is warranted.

Environmental campaigners widely believe the decision is being held up by the Bush administration so it can complete sale of valuable oil and gas leases in coastal waters in Alaska — areas considered to be prime bear habitats.

"The Bush administration seems intent on slamming shut the narrow window of opportunity we have to save polar bears," said Kassie Siegel, climate program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which, along with Greenpeace and the National Resource Defence Council, is involved in the legal challenge.

wagga said...

In southern news, 500 whales 'saved'.

I vote we send convicted taggers up north to tag those babies in such a way that the fur has no commercial value, without damaging the seal's normal lifestyle.

We might consider requiring a fur clothing label depicting the blood-soaked animal. On the other hand, most of my winter clothing is made of GoreTex...

Akubi said...

Apparently, a combination of the two is more time efficient as I understand it, but their logic is as crazy as the Billary campaign.

I found some disturbing videos of those assholes crushing the skulls of helpless baby seals I decided were too disturbing to post.

In southern news, 500 whales 'saved'.
Well that's some good news.

I cannot understand why the Canadian government can rationalize such an extraordinarily high quota when seals, like polar bears, will continue to be seriously affected by climate change which our buddy Lou insists isn’t a problem.

I suggest we send those expensive loosers™ on Death Row to deal with guys like the asshole in the 4th photo from the top.

Akubi said...

Notice how when the global shit hits the fan, people have a tendency to go after innocent animals?

Buzz Saw said...

They still "hunt" seals?

Akubi said...

@Buzz saw,
They still "hunt" seals?

Completely agree with your quotes around hunt. Other than their desire to kill them for profit, it is hardly a hunt (in a classic sense) when the victim is so helpless and easy to kill. I hope karma catches up with those assholes ASAP.

Buzz Saw said...

I remember stories from the '70s where they would just walk up and bash pups in the head. Hardly any sport in that. It should be called what it is, slaughter.

Akubi said...

@buzz saw,
I remember stories from the '70s where they would just walk up and bash pups in the head. Hardly any sport in that. It should be called what it is, slaughter.

Agreed and properly updated post title.

NotAnOptimist said...

why are they such