From: SEAL ALERT-SA
Subject: Canada's Largest Seal Hunt - Call It What It Is, 'A Sadistic Seal-Killing Booze Cruise'
Date: April 1, 2008
Dear All Cape Fur Seal Supporters,
Largest Seal Hunt - Call It What It Is, 'A Sadistic
Seal-Killing Booze Cruise'
World headlines scream, 'Largest Seal Hunt in Canada'. This translates into 1 seal slaughtered per sealer per day.
Throughout the world, it is accepted that to harvest or hunt or catch, less than 5 per day, of anything, is considered non-commercial, in fact, it is officially recreational. This in fact, makes the Canadian Seal Hunt, not commercial or even a small industry, even as a recreational activity. A national government should have no role in protecting it. An activity therefore, that can easily be stopped.Why then does Canada go to such length's to protect a recreational activity?
Canadian Seal Hunt figures just don't add up. The moment anti-seal hunt groups excluded Cape fur seals from a written declaration to ban seal imports, resulted in the need to compare. Recently I wrote to a number of leading anti-seal hunt groups to assist with verifying some data on Canada's seal hunt, none replied with data.
In an effort to understand, what prompts these anti seal hunt groups to promote one seal hunt over another. Lead me to doing a comparative table of the Cape fur seal slaughter in Namibia and the harp seal slaughter in Canada.
The data/comparison yielded surprising results.
Anti-seal hunt groups promote the Canadian Seal hunt as the largest in the world. This implies it is a huge industry and creates many jobs, playing right in governments hands, and as the pictures of horrific cruelty to seals pour in all over the internet. There is massive cruelty on seals during this largest seal hunt for over 275 000 seals on ice floes. Much more it would seem, than in Namibia, if their websites are to be believed.
Yet, the figures don't add up. According to Canada, the seal hunt is necessary as it creates much needed employment for out-of-season fishermen and generates $16 million. Although only 3-times larger than the Namibian Seal Hunt, generates 16-times more than the Namibian Seal hunt.
The much publicized capsizing and sinking of a 12-m sealing boat, just 2 days into the sealing season, whilst being towed by Canadian coast guard vessel, and death of 4 sealers in the first week of sealing, revealed some extraordinary insight. If media reports are correct, it appears that after this sealing boat damaged its rudder, the Canadian coast guard, a much larger vessel, lets call it a ship, took the small, very light aluminum sealing vessel in tow. Obviously to tow it back to port less than 20 miles away. Another un-damaged sealing vessel followed closely behind the sealing vessel being towed and rescued 2 of the 6 sealers on-board as it overturned.
The question is why did 4 sealers drown or 3 were trapped when the boat over-turned. Towing, the Coast Guard had a full array of rescue equipment, survival suits and medical officers and even a helicopter. From what I have read, these 3 sealers were asleep inside the boat when it overturned. My question is this, in dangerous sea ice conditions, a boat becomes immobile, requiring a tow, why on earth would 3 sealers go inside to sleep, on the less than 20 mile journey back to port?
According to the Canadian DFO. 14 000 individual sealing permits have been issued to operate on 1,850 sealing vessels, although they state only about 6000 sealers actively uses their permits. The seal hunt lasts for 45 days, and the seal quota in total for three areas is set at 275 000 seals. 60 organizations and media have applied to film the hunt, as well.
One would think, that if the sealing quotes increased, that more sealers would be active - but not less? More than 50% less, means this is no lucrative employment.
If we accept the 6000 and not 14 000, who all have permits. The first question is why grant 14 000 sealing permits to kill 275 000 seals, if only 6000 uses them or increase the seal quota? Why would an out-of-season fisherman turned sealer, not use his permit to earn his portion of $16 million.
The answer lies in the figures. Each of the 6000 sealers only average 1 seal hunted per day or just 45 seals for the whole 45-day sealing season. The average price of the seal pelt or industry is between $20 - $50. A Canadian sealer earns therefore a $20 wage per day. From this must be subtracted the costs of the boat, fuel, insurance, finance and processing costs - and middlemen.
In otherwords nothing, perhaps 'booze money'.
It just does not make sense. That 14 000 fishermen would apply for a permit to club seal pups to death, when 6000 sealers will only average 1 seal per day. The method used is to first shoot, and in most cases a singular seal lying on an ice floe, from the sealing vessel, and then for a smaller vessel to approach the ice-floe, where a sealer will jump out the boat onto the ice, bludgeon the seal pup on the head, at times repeatedly, afterwards gaffing it, and then hauling it back to the sealing boat to be skinned.
When this involves 1 seal per seal for the whole day, why then is so much cruelty involved? That has gone on for decades, each year. Skinning seals alive, dragging the seal still alive struggling back to the boat, kicking it in the head or face, clubbing it repeatedly, and or shooting it repeatedly?
Surely, if the intention is to create employment, it can not be very difficult to humanely kill a single seal per day. After all, they have the whole day to do it? So why so much evident cruelty?
To me, the obvious answer, is that far from this being the largest seal hunt. It is just in fact, the largest 'Booze Cruise' for thousands of frustrated fishermen, to vent their anger, at helpless seals, whom they believe, is eating their declining fish stocks. A sort of government funded or promoted, "Kill for Joy" sealing policy.
Why else would 3 sealers be asleep whilst being towed or why would a semi-professional ice-hockey player be amongst one of those 'sealers' drowned?
In South Africa, we have numerous examples of this "Fishermen Booze Cruise", its called Fishing Competitions or Derby. Huge prizes are on offer, and on the day, thousands of 'fishermen' some wealthy, affluent individuals, take to the sea, with beers in hand to enjoy the day's outing, slaughter marine wildlife.
To me, this is why there is such obvious and widespread cruelty. It is intentional. It is the whole point of the "hunt". This is why the Canadian government defends it, will not end it and when forced, attempts to project it as humane, constantly changing the seal slaughtering regulations when exposed.
Far from this being the largest seal hunt on earth. This "seal a day activity", this a sadistic vent of a fishermen's sick frustration, this is what it is actually all about.
This is why it is so cruel and why Canada does not want it filmed.
Have a close look at the comparative attached table (its still a work in progress)
For the Seals
Francois Hugo Seal Alert-SA
link to sealmancam
CLICK HERE FOR CANADA-NAMIBIA-SEALING: