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April 13, 2013

Baby Seal Dies in Stages

Humane Society International/Canada

  • Sealers continue killing baby seals, while the Canadian government has not set a quota. Frank Loftus/The HSUS

Canada's 2013 slaughter of baby seals began last week. HSI's Rebecca Aldworth is telling the world about the bloodshed, and this is her latest report.

by Rebecca Aldworth

From our helicopter, we see a baby seal at the edge of an ice floe. She looks around as she hears the roar of an approaching sealing boat.

A shot rings out and the pup falls into the water—but she is not dead, or even unconscious. She thrashes around, trying to swim away as the blood pours from her wound. For agonizing minutes, she paddles in circles while the water turns crimson.

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The ice around her begins to shift as the sealing vessel draws near. Two large pans of ice push her until she is forced under. We scan the surface, not knowing whether to hope that she has gotten away to die slowly of her injuries, or that she will be found by the sealers and face a violent death.

For this baby seal, there can be no positive outcome, and I am devastated.

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Suddenly, the sealing boat appears and the sealers rake through the water with their gaffs, long wooden poles with steel hooks. They finally see the young seal, impale her on a gaff, and drag her onto the deck. There, they beat her with a club and cut her open.

This is the sad end for so many baby seals because Canada continues to subsidize and promote this slaughter against the will of most Canadians.

And it is why my organization is fighting so hard to stop commercial sealing forever.

We know how to stop this cruelty, but we are up against governments and industry groups with unlimited tax dollars at their disposal. That is why we need your support now more than ever. Together, we can put Canada's commercial seal slaughter into the history books where it belongs.

Rebecca Aldworth is executive director of HSI/Canada.

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