Seal Hunt Cruelty Persists Despite New Regulations
By Fred O'Regan
Once again this year, an IFAW team traveled to the ice floes off Canada's East Coast to monitor the largest hunt for marine mammals in the world, which began on March 28. The Total Allowable Catch set by the Canadian government was 275,000 seals; 5,000 more than last year.
At the same time that Canadian officials were visiting Europe to herald this year as the most humane seal hunt ever, IFAW was witnessing and documenting unacceptable instances of cruelty on the ice. The government touted new killing rules to try to refute the growing international criticism of the hunt, but IFAW's video evidence clearly shows that the current regulations are incapable of ensuring the humane killing of seals, and that even these inadequate regulations are not being followed by sealers.
"Based on what we've seen, it's 'business as usual,'" said Sheryl Fink, IFAW hunt observer and senior researcher. "The rush to club as many seals as possible in a short period of time, combined with slippery ice conditions means that, once again, animal welfare takes a back seat to profit."
IFAW's documentation of what really happened out on the ice this year generated worldwide media coverage, while legislative efforts to ban seal product imports continue to build in Europe. IFAW's relentless lobbying has already helped secure bans in several countries, while legislation is pending in many others.
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