Thursday, March 23, 2006


Hunters and protesters are heading for the Gulf of St Lawrence and the north-east coast of Newfoundland, waiting for the Canadian government to give the go-ahead for the cull. It was expected to start this week.

Ministers have already authorised the slaughter of 325,000 baby harp seals, the second highest number ever. It will be the third successive year in which more than 300,000 of the cubs have been clubbed and shot; by the end of the cull, the death toll since 2004 will top a million.

These seals also face disaster from another direction. Scientists, sat another real danger to the seals comes from climate change. Water temperatures off Newfoundland are 4.5C warmer than this time last year and the ice is already beginning to melt.

Shrinking Arctic ice caps are threatening arctic animals. Polar bears find it harder to find the food as icebergs, their "highways" to a seal food supply, shrink away, or as ice that normally forms fails to appear. The giant white bears need the ice to gain access to ringed and barbed seals which live and play away from land among the ice bergs, yet the ice is breaking up two weeks earlier than normal these days, and polar bears are on average between 176 and 187 pounds lighter. Scientists believe it is because they cannot find food. Every day of ice hunting is critical, as the bears must hunt to build enough fat to last through the forced 5 month fast during winter.

Unseasonable warming can also lead to collapses of the snow caves where female seals bear their young. The young as yet have no blubber and die of exposure when cold conditions return. Scientists suspect that declines in seal populations will occur in this manner, and will ultimately lead to further declines in polar bear populations.

And it isn't just in the arctic.

Retreating ice in the Southern Ocean is making it harder for elephant seal mothers to feed their babies, say Australian researchers.

Environmental scientists Dr Clive McMahon and Harry Burton of the Australian Antarctic Division in Tasmania say a warming climate is changing the ecology of the ocean, where the seals forage.

They say this changing ecology, which has led to a drop in available seal food, is interfering with mothers' ability to feed their young to a healthy weight.

And this has contributed to a dramatic decrease in the seal population over recent decades.

Anyway, back to the "cull". The following article is from Ireland On Line. Below that you will find further information and suggestions for actions on the seal cull.

Canadian embassy picketed by seal cull protesters
23/03/2006 - 13:45:29

Animal right activists today stepped up their campaign for a ban on seal hunting by taking their protest to the Canadian Embassy.

Picketing outside the St Stephen’s Green building, demonstrators urged consumers across Ireland to boycott all Canadian seafood until its annual cull is stopped.

Organiser, Limerick-based activist John Carmody of the Animal Rights Action Network (Aran), pleaded with residents to join their appeal.

“We are asking people in Ireland to contact the Canadian officials and voice their disgust in the violent barbaric slaughtering of seals and boycott Canadian seafood,” he said.

“These seals are hacked, picked to death or clubbed or shot and die very slowly. Some have even been skinned alive or choked on their own blood.

“This is the world’s largest slaughtering of any marine mammals, with thousands of seals already killed this year alone.”

Celebrities all over the world have joined the protest against the killing of 325,000 young seals by registered hunters who claim they decimate cod stocks.

John added: “This seal hunt takes place once the fishing season is over and the fur is sold, mainly in south east Asia.

“We hope this is the last year this takes place, but if the Canadian Government doesn’t stop it we know a worldwide boycott will work.

“We have identified that €126,000 worth of Canadian seafood is sold annually in Ireland.

“There has been a huge boycott in America and we now are stepping up our campaign in the UK and Ireland.”

The seal hunt will begin in the Gulf of St Lawrence this week.

Call on Canada's New Prime Minister to End the Seal Slaughter!

With nearly one million seals killed in the past three years alone, Canada’s commercial seal hunt has become the largest, most brutal slaughter of marine mammals on earth.

Each year, Canada allows hundreds of thousands of defenseless baby seals to be cruelly clubbed and shot to death for their fur. The last time this many seals were killed—in the 1950s and 1960s—the harp seal population was reduced by as much as two-thirds.

In 2005, 98.5% of the seals killed were just two months of age or younger. At the time of slaughter, many had not yet eaten their first solid meal or taken their first swim. They literally had no escape from the "hunters."

Last year, The HSUS documented the commercial seal hunt firsthand. What we saw was shocking: conscious baby seals stabbed with boathooks and dragged across the ice, wounded
See The HSUS Animal Channel's slide show on the seal hunt.

seal pups left to choke on their own blood for more than an hour, and conscious seals sliced open and skinned as they struggled. An independent veterinary study conducted in 2001 found much of the same; it concluded that 42% of the seals examined had likely been skinned alive while conscious.

The overwhelming majority of Canadians, Americans, and Europeans oppose the commercial seal hunt, and many of us are willing to use our consumer power to help stop it. To pressure the Canadian government and fishing industry to take action, The HSUS and our ProtectSeals network are asking consumers to boycott Canadian seafood products until the seal hunt has been ended for good.

Sing a petition to the Canadian Prime Minister by clicking


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