It is in humanitarian and compassionate Canada that this perversion is taking place. And the annual commercial seal hunt is now set to begin once again. It represents the largest mass slaughter of marine mammals in the world. And the Canadian government gives it a mind-boggling thumbs up. That’s why, every year, approximately 300,000 harp seals are murdered. In the last four years alone, over a million harp seals have been killed.
The seal massacre is a horrendous crime in myriad ways. The inhumanity, heartlessness, and sadism goes without saying. The hunt is also an obvious threat to the survival of the seals themselves: it will deplete their population by as much as 50 to 70 percent over the next 15 years. Seals are also a vital part of the Northwest Atlantic’s ecosystem. Killing them in mass numbers threatens the survival of cod, since the elimination of seals increases the number of predatory fish (i.e., squid) that eat cod. Killing seals, moreover, contributes to bacterial infestation on the ocean floor, which causes hypoxia, a condition which depletes dissolved oxygen in patches of ocean that become unable to sustain marine life.
This grotesque industry is a crime against life. It poisons the harmony between nature and humanity. And in the most tragic and outrageous sense, it is all for nothing: mass and brutal killing of baby seals for totally unnecessary reasons. It doesn’t help the economy at all. It’s all connected to human luxury and vanity.
And yet, the Canadian government not only continues to rubber stamp this savagery, it blatantly lies to the public, maintaining that the seals are killed humanely. All empirical reality discredits this pathetic falsehood. Watch any video on youtube about it; read the documentation provided by groups such as Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Animal welfare groups have documented hundreds of violations of the Marine Mammal Regulations under the Fisheries Act that govern the seal hunt.
But the outrage continues. The Canadian sea hunt is coming up this spring and we will be seeing yet another unconscionable picture: the Canadian Coast Guard ships breaking ice and helping sealing ships to get to the baby seals to torture and murder them.
One bit of hopeful news: Canada is increasingly on its own in its complicity with this barbarism. The rest of the world is way ahead in dissociating itself from, and denouncing, the seal slaughter. The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution condemning the Canadian sea hunt. Ten nations have now either banned trade in seal products or are in the process of doing so. The European Union has just enacted a prohibition on seal product trade. International opinion is overwhelmingly in favor of terminating the Canadian seal hunt. And the vast majority of Canadian citizens are against it.
These are loud messages to the Canadian government. It’s a message that says that the horrific seal hunt is completely unacceptable.
The self-satisfaction of Canadian leaders, citizens, and the media was very evident during the recent Olympics. We heard repeated pronouncements of self-congratulation about how we defeated the U.S. for the Gold in hockey and, of course, about what a great country we live in. But how is this compatible with the moral depravity of the Canadian slaughter of seals? Isn’t it time the Canadian government ended this obscenity and stop shaming itself and its citizens, not only in principle, but also in the eyes of the entire world?