Despite the fact that over 23 countries have banned the importation of Canadian seal products, Canada has refused to stop the annual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of baby seals on the coastal ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and northeastern Newfoundland. An annual event, it represents the largest killing of marine mammals in the world and primarily targets baby harp seals. Virtually all of the seals slaughtered are pups younger than three months of age.
Slaughters are conducted by fishermen in the off-season and involve the use of guns, wooden clubs, and hakapiks (clubs that resemble ice picks. The seal furs typically represent a tiny amount (less than 5%)of the fishermen’s total income, with approximately 6,000 people participating in this barbaric practice. The sealers justify their murder of the baby seals by citing the "thrill of the hunt" and the tradition of the slaughter, even though there is virtually no market for the pelts today. Veterinarians have estimated that roughly half of the baby seals are skinned alive.
This leaves one to ponder the basic character of the people who continue to participate in this wholesale slaughter of baby seals less than three months old. "Lawless", "sadistic", "cruel" and "ruthless" are descriptive words which immediately spring to mind. Several years ago, the Humane Society of the United States launched an international boycott of Canadian seafood in an attempt to stop the slaughter. For awhile, the boycott proved successful. But the new prime minister of Canada, Trudeau, has recently increased the 2016 seal quota to 400,000 from the prior level of 300,000.