, or sealing
, is the
personal or commercial hunting of seals
is practiced in five countries: Canada, where most
of the world's seal hunting takes place, as well as Namibia, Greenland, Norway, and
Canada's largest market for seals is Norway
(through GC Rieber AS
populations in the northwest
Atlantic declined to approximately 2 million in the early 1970s,
prompting stronger regulations on seal hunting. As a result of
these regulations, the harp seal population in this area increased
steadily since then until the mid 1990's, and was estimated at 5.9
million (between 4.6 and 7.2 million) in 2004. Harp seals have
never been considered endangered; the Marine Animal Response
Society estimates the harp seal population in the world is
approximately 8 million (between 6.4 and 9.5 million).
As a result of population concerns, hunting is now controlled by
quotas based on recommendations from the International
Council for the Exploration of the Sea
(ICES), and in 2007, the
Canadian Department of
Fisheries and Oceans
(DFO) set the "total allowable catch"
(TAC) of harp seals at 270,000 per year. When compared to other
seal hunts the Canadian harp seal hunt is by far the largest. The
2007 catch was 234,000 seals, down from 354,000 the year before.
According to data gathered by the European Food Safety Authority,
Norway claimed only 29,000 with Russia and Greenland landing 5,476
and 90,000 in 2007 respectively.
It is illegal in Canada to hunt newborn harp seals known as
"whitecoats". It is also illegal to hunt young, hooded seals
). When the seal pups begin to
molt their downy white fur at the age of 12–14 days, they are
and can be
commercially hunted. After molting, the seals are called beaters,
named for the way they beat the water with their flippers. The
practice remains highly controversial, attracting significant media
coverage and protests each year. Images from past hunts have become
symbols for conservation
, animal welfare
, and animal rights
advocates. In Russia, a ban on
the hunting of all harp seals less than one year old was announced
on March 18, 2009, by the Russian government.
Traditional Inuit hunt
Inuit seal hunting
Archeological evidence indicates that the Native Americans
People in Canada have
been hunting seals for at least 4,000 years. Traditionally, when an
boy killed his first seal or caribou
, a feast was held. The meat was an
important source of fat, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12
and iron, and the pelts were prized for their warmth. The Inuit
diet is rich in fish, whale, and seal.
The Inuit seal hunting accounts for three percent of the total
traditional Inuit seal hunting is excluded from The European
Commission's call in 2006 for a ban on the import, export and
sale of all harp and hooded seal products.
(ringed seal) have been the main staple
for food, and have been used for clothing, boots, fuel for lamps, a
delicacy, containers, igloo
furnished harnesses for huskies. The natsiq is no longer used to this
extent, but ringed seal is still an important food source for the
people of Nunavut.
by the Central Alaskan Yup'ik
ringed seal is also hunted and eaten in Alaska.
History of hunting elsewhere
Seal coats have long been prized for their warmth. Seal oil was
often used as lamp fuel
, for processing such materials as leather and jute
, as a constituent of soap, and as the liquid base
for red ochre
evidence that seals were hunted in northwest Europe and the
Sea more than 10,000 years ago. The first commercial
hunting of seals is said to have occurred in 1515, when a cargo of
fur seal skins from Uruguay was sent to Spain for sale in the
markets of Seville.
Sealing became more prevalent in the late 1700s when seal herds in
the southern hemisphere began to be hunted by whalers
. In 1778, English sealers brought back from
the Island of South
Georgia and the Magellan Strait area as many as 40,000 seal skins and 2,800 tons of
elephant seal oil.
In 1791, 102 vessels, manned by 3000
sealers, were hunting seals south of the equator. The principal American
sealing ports were Stonington and New
Haven, Connecticut. Most of the pelts
taken during these expeditions would be sold in China.
Newfoundland seal hunt became an annually recorded event
starting in 1723.
By the late 1800s, sealing had become the
second most important industry in Newfoundland, second only to
. IN 2007,
the seal hunt provided about 0.5% of the Newfoundland
Commercial sealing in Australasia appears to
have started with Eber Bunker, master of
the William and Ann who announced his intention in
November 1791 to visit Dusky Sound in New
Zealand, did call in that country and had skins on board
when he got back to Britain. Captain Raven of the Britannia
stationed a party at Dusky from 1792–93 but the discovery of
Strait, between mainland Australia and Van Diemen's Land,
now called Tasmania, saw the sealers' focus shift there in 1798 when a
gang including Daniel Cooper was landed from the Nautilus
on Cape Barren
Island. With Bass Strait over-exploited by 1802
attention returned to southern New Zealand where Stewart
Island/Rakiura and Foveaux Strait were explored, exploited and charted from 1803 to
1804. Thereafter attention shifted to the
Islands, 1805–7, the Auckland Islands from 1806, the south east coast of New Zealand's
South Island, Otago
Harbour and Solander Island
by 1809, before focusing further to the south at the newly
discovered Campbell Island and Macquarie Island from 1810. In this time sealers were active on the
southern coast of mainland Australia, for example at Kangaroo
This whole development has been called the
first sealing boom and sparked the Sealers'
in southern New Zealand. By the mid teens of the 19th
century, sealing had faded. There was a brief revival from 1823 but
this was very short-lived. Although highly profitable at times and
affording New South Wales one of its earliest trade staples, its
unregulated character saw its self-destruction. Some traders were
Australian-based, notably Simeon Lord
, James Underwood
and Robert Campbell
American and British traders and seamen were engaged in it too,
such as the Plummers of London and the Whitneys of New York.
By 1830, most seal stocks had been seriously depleted, and Lloyd's
records only showed one full-time sealing vessel on its books.
Since then, a number of nations have outlawed the hunting of seals
and other marine mammals. The landmark North Pacific Fur Seal
Convention of 1911
was the first international treaty
specifically addressing wildlife conservation. Today, commercial
sealing is conducted by only five nations: Canada, Greenland, Namibia, Norway, and
The United States, which had been heavily
involved in the sealing industry, now maintains a complete ban on
the commercial hunting of marine mammals, with the exception of
indigenous peoples who are allowed to hunt a small number of seals
Equipment and method
90% of sealers on the ice floes of the Front (east of
Newfoundland), where the majority of the hunt occurs, use firearms.
Both rifles and hakapiks are permitted in the hunt. Canadian
sealing regulations describe the dimensions of the clubs and the
, and caliber of the rifles and
minimum bullet velocity, that can be used. They state that: "Every
person who strikes a seal with a club or hakapik shall strike the
seal on the forehead until its skull has been crushed," and that
"No person shall commence to skin or bleed a seal until the seal is
dead," which occurs when it "has a glassy-eyed, staring appearance
and exhibits no blinking reflex when its eye is touched while it is
in a relaxed condition."
One method of killing seals is with the hakapik
: a heavy wooden club with a hammer head and
metal hook on the end. The hakapik is used because of its
efficiency; the animal can be killed quickly without damage to its
pelt. The hammer head is used to crush the skull, while the hook is
used to move the carcass.
The hakapik is a tool of hunters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Hunters who operate on the "front" off the northeast coast of
Newfoundland primarily use high powered rifles. The hakapik is then
used as a last resort in retrieving the animal from the ice floe,
and ensuring it is dead.
Products made from seals
Seal skins have been used by aboriginal people for millennia to
make waterproof jackets and boots, and seal fur to make fur coats.
Pelts account for over half the processed value of a seal, selling
at over C$100 each as of 2006. According to Paul Christian Rieber
, of GC Rieber AS
, the difficult ice conditions and
low quotas in 2006 resulted in less access to seal pelts, which
caused the commodity price to be pushed up. One high-end fashion
designer, Donatella Versace
begun to use seal pelts, while others, such as Calvin Klein
, Stella McCartney
, Tommy Hilfiger
, and Ralph Lauren
, refrain from using any kind of
Seal meat is an important source of food for residents of small
coastal communities. Meat is sold to the Asian pet food market;
in 2004, only Taiwan and South Korea purchased seal meat from Canada.
blubber is used to make seal oil, which is marketed as a fish oil
supplement. In 2001, two percent of Canada's raw seal oil was
processed and sold in Canadian health stores. There has been
virtually no market for seal organs since 1998.
three companies exported seal skin: Rieber in
Norway, Atlantic Marine in Canada and Great
Greenland in Greenland. Their clients were earlier French fashion
houses and fur makers in Europe, but today the fur is mainly
exported to Russia and China.
In Canada, the season for the commercial hunt of harp seal
is from November 15 to May 15.
sealing occurs in late March in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and during the first or second week of April off
Newfoundland, in an area known as "The Front."
spring period is generally what is referred to as the "Canadian
In 2003, the three-year harp seal quota granted by the Department
of Fisheries and Oceans was increased to a maximum of 975,000
animals per three years, with a maximum of 350,000 animals in any
two consecutive years. In 2006, 325,000 harp seals, as well as
10,000 hooded seals and 10,400 grey seals
were killed. An additional 10,000 animals were allocated for
hunting by Aboriginal peoples. The current Northwest Atlantic harp
seal population is estimated at 5.6 million animals.
The Canadian seal hunt is monitored by the Canadian government.
Although around 70 percent of Canadian seals killed are killed on
"The Front," the vast majority of private monitors focus on the St.
Lawrence hunt, because of its more convenient location. The 2006
St. Lawrence leg of the hunt was officially closed on Apr. 3, 2006.
Sealers had exceeded the quota by 1,000 animals by the time the
hunt was closed. On March 26, 2007 the Newfoundland and Labrador
government launched a seal
Warm winters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence have led to thinner and
more unstable ice there. In 2007, Canada's federal fisheries ministry
reported that while the pups are born on the ice as usual, the ice
floes have started to break up before the pups learn to swim,
causing the pups to drown. The 2007 harp seal quota was reduced 20
percent by Canadian authorities because overflights showed large
numbers of seal pups were lost to thin and melting ice. However in
and off Newfoundland's
northeast coast, there was extra heavy ice in 2007, and the coast
guard estimated that as many as 100 vessels were trapped in ice
The "Seal Protection Regulations" were established under the
Fisheries Act by the Government of Canada in the mid-1960s. The
regulations were combined with other Canadian marine mammals
regulations in 1993, into the "Marine Mammal Regulations
addition to describing the use of the rifle and hakapik (see
further up in this article), regulations also state that every
person "who fishes for seals for personal or commercial use shall
land the pelt or the carcass of the seal." The commercial hunting
of infant harp seals (whitecoats
infant hooded seals (bluebacks) was banned in Canada in 1987 under
pressure from animal rights groups. Now seals may only be killed
once they have started moulting
(from 12 to
15 days of age for harp seals), as this coincides with the time
when they are abandoned by their mothers. These pups, who have not
yet completely moulted, are known as "ragged-jackets
". Once the pups have completely
moulted, they are called "beaters".
Canada's biggest market for seal pelts is Norway. Carino Limited is
one of Newfoundland's largest seal pelt producers. Carino
(CAnada–RIeber–NOrway) is marketing its seal pelts mainly through
its parent company, GC Rieber Skinn,
Norway. Canada sold pelts to eleven countries in
2004, with Norway, Germany, Greenland, and China, including
Hong Kong, purchasing the largest quantities. Other buying
countries were Finland, Denmark, France, Greece, South Korea, and Russia.
remains the principal market for seal meat exports. One of Canada's
market access priorities for 2002, was to "continue to press Korean
authorities to obtain the necessary approvals for the sale of seal
meat for human consumption in Korea."
Canadian and Korean officials agreed in 2003 on specific Korean
import requirements for seal meat. For 2004, only Taiwan and South
Korea purchased seal meat from Canada.
Total Canadian seal product exports were valued at $18 million
(CAD) in 2006. Of this, $5.4 million went to the EU.
Although official figures for the Greenland seal hunt are not
available, the government of Canada estimates that 20,000 to 25,000
seals are killed in Greenland annually. In January 2006, the
government of Greenland banned imports of Canadian seal skins,
citing fears that Canadian seals are brutally beaten to death. The
boycott may be an effort to distance Greenland's own seal hunt from
Canada's, and spare themselves negative press in the process. The
ban was rescinded in May 2006, with the Greenland Home Rule
Government noting that the seal hunt in Canada has sensible
regulations on hunting methods, drawn up in close cooperation with
biologists, veterinarians, weapons experts and seal hunters. It
further noted that seal-hunting in Canada is subject to strict and
extensive control measures, to ensure the use of effective and
humane killing methods.
In 2000, the Namibian government approved a quota of 67,000 Cape
fur seals, including 60,000 pups and 7,000 bulls.
The Norwegian sealing season runs from January to September. The
hunt involves seal catching
by seagoing sealing boats on
the Arctic ice shelf
, and seal
on the coast and islands of mainland Norway. The
latter is carried out by small groups of licenced hunters shooting
seals from land and using small boats to retrieve the catch.
In 2005, Norway began offering seal hunting as a tourist
attraction. In 2006, 17,037 seals (including 13,390 harp and 3,647
hooded seals) were harvested. In 2007 the Norwegian
Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs
stated that up to
13.5 million Norwegian krone
mill. US dollar) would be given in funding, to vessels in the 2007
Norwegian seal hunt.
All Norwegian sealing vessels are required to carry a qualified
veterinary inspector on board. Norwegian sealers are required to
pass a shooting test each year before the season starts, using the
same weapon and ammunition as they would on the ice. Likewise they
have to pass a hakapik test.
Adult seals that are more than one year old must be shot in the
head with expanding bullets, and can not be clubbed to death. The
hakapik shall be used to ensure that the animal is dead. This is
done by crushing the skull of the shot adult seal with the short
end of the hakapik, before the long spike is thrusted deep into the
animal's brain. The seal shall then be bled by making an incision
from its jaw to the end of its sternum
killing and bleeding must be done on the ice, and live animals may
never be brought onboard the ship. Young seals may be killed using
just the hakapik, but only in the before mentioned manner, i.e.
they need not be shot.
Seals that are in the water and seals with young may not be killed,
and the use of traps, artificial lighting, aeroplanes or
helicopters is forbidden.
hakapik may only be used by certified seal-catchers (fangstmenn)
operating in the pack ice of the Arctic Ocean and not by coastal seal-hunters.
seal-hunters must be pre-approved by the Norwegian Directorate of
and have to pass a large game hunting test.
In 2007 the European Food Safety Agency confirmed that the animals
are put to death faster and more humanely in the Norwegian sealing
than in large game hunting on land.
In Norway in 2004, only Rieber
sealskin and seal oil. In 2001, the biggest producer of raw seal
oil, was Canada. (Two percent of the raw oil was processed and sold
in Canadian health stores.) Rieber had the majority of all
distribution of raw seal oil in the world market, but there was no
demand for seal oil. From 1995 to 2005 Rieber annually received
between 2 and 3 million Norwegian
in subsidy. In a 2003–2004 parliamentary report, it says
that CG Rieber Skinn
is the only
company in the world that delivers skin from bluebacks
.Most of the skins processed by Rieber,
have been imported from abroad, mainly from Canada. Only a small
portion is from the Norwegian hunt. Of the processed skin, 5
percent is sold in Norway, the rest is exported to the Russian and
Fortuna Oils AS (established in 2004) is a 100% owned subsidiary of
GC Rieber. They get the majority of their raw oil imported from
Canada. They also have access to raw oil from the Norwegian
The Russian seal hunt has not been well monitored since the
break-up of the Soviet Union. The quota in 1998 was 35,000 animals.
There have been reports that many whitecoat pups are not properly
killed and are transported, while injured, to processing areas. In
January 2000, a bill to ban seal hunting was passed by the Russian
parliament by 273 votes to 1, but was vetoed by President Vladimir Putin
September 21, 2007 in Arhangelsk, the Norwegian company GC Rieber
Skinn AS, proposed a joint Russian–Norwegian seal hunting
The campaign was carried out from one hunt boat
supplied by GS Rieber skinn AS in 2007, lasted 2 weeks and brought
in 40 000 roubles
per Russian hunter. GS
Rieber skinn AS declared a plan to order 20 boats and donate them
to the Pomor
. CG Rieber Skinn AS, in 2007
established a daughter company in Arkhangelsk, called GC Rieber
Skinn Pomor'e Lic. (GC Rieber Skinn Pomorje).
The Norwegian company Polardrift AS, in 2007, had plans to
establish a company in Russia, and operate under Russian flag, in
close cooperation with GC Rieber Skinn Pomor'e.
Plans for the 2008 season included both helicopter-based hunt,
mainly to take whitecoats
, and boat-based
hunt, mainly targeting beaters.
18, 2009, Russia's Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology,
Yuriy Trutnev, announced a complete
ban on the hunting of harp seals younger than one year of age in the
Canada has become the center of the sealing debate because of the
comparatively large size of its hunt.
Cruelty to animals
According to recent studies done by the Canadian Veterinary Medical
Association (CVMA), the hakapik
, when used
properly, kills the animal quickly and painlessly. However, the
aforementioned CVMA report also urges "continued attention to this
hunt" due to nine types of "violations and abuses." The Royal
Commission on Seals and Sealing in Canada
, also known as the
Malouf Commission, claims that properly performed clubbing is at
least as humane as the methods used in commercial slaughterhouses,
and according to the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
(DFO), these studies "have
consistently proven that the club or hakapik is an efficient tool
designed to kill the animal quickly and humanely." Another study,
conducted by the IFAW, an anti-sealing group
, disputes these
findings, however, detailing "42% of cases where there was not
enough evidence of cranial injury to guarantee unconsciousness at
the time of skinning, and 79% of cases where sealers did not check
to ensure that the seals were dead prior to skinning them."
A study of the 2001 Canadian seal hunt conducted by five
independent veterinarians, commissioned by the International Fund for
(IFAW), concluded that, although the hakapik is
a humane means of hunting, many hunters were not using it properly.
This improper use, they said, was leading to "considerable and
unacceptable suffering," and in 17 percent of the cases they
observed, there were no detectable lesions of the skull whatsoever.
In numerous other cases, the seals had to be struck multiple times
before they were considered "unconscious." These findings are at
odds with the CVMA report which states that Daoust, at the same
time and in the same location, recorded that 86 percent of skulls
had been completely crushed by strikes with hakapiks. It states
further that two years previously, Bollinger and Campbell had
recorded that 98.2 percent of the skulls examined were completely
crushed. The IFAW is an organization founded for purpose of opposing the Canadian seal
and their 2001 study was not peer reviewed.
In 2005, the World Wildlife Fund
(WWF) commissioned the Independent Veterinarians Working Group
Report. With reference to video evidence, the report states:
"Perception of the seal hunt seems to be based largely on emotion,
and on visual images that are often difficult even for experienced
observers to interpret with certainty. While a hakapik strike on
the skull of a seal appears brutal, it is humane if it achieves
rapid, irreversible loss of consciousness leading to death."
The 2001 report contained a number of recommendations on how
sealing could be conducted more humanely. They did not, however,
recommend the disuse of the hakapik. Actually, the report
recommended more training, mandatory blink-reflex tests for
unconsciousness, and the cessation of open-water hunting. The
report also recommended that seals be bled out immediately after
clubbing, in order to ensure that the animals are unconscious when
skinning begins. This is a recommendation taken in response to
incidents of seals regaining consciousness after clubbing. It has
also been strongly recommended that seals killed by guns to be shot
to a quick death, not be wounded and left to die. The 2002 CVMA report
, however, indicated an
average time of 45.2 seconds between the animal being shot and a
sealer killing it with a hakapik. The report concluded that this
time compared well with established and acceptable humane killing
practices according to the Agreement on International Humane Trapping
where acceptable times range from 45 to 300
According to the DFO, the harp seal population is now stable at
about five million animals, three times as many seals as in the
1970s. They say that Canada's annual quota of 325,000 harp seals,
and an additional 10,000 harp seal allowance for new Aboriginal
initiatives, personal use, and Arctic hunts, does not significantly
impact the harp seal population. Protestors respond that this
figure represents only a fraction of the total number of seals
killed, because many seals' bodies fall into the water or under the
ice and are not counted. The CVMA has replied that this is untrue
for the Canadian seal hunt, and that the Canadian seals that have
been "struck and lost" is less than five percent (16,250 animals)
of the total harvest. They suggest that this is because, in Canada,
the majority of seals are killed on the ice, not in the sea.
has further stated that the
quota is an unreliable estimate of the total kill, not only because
of "struck and lost" statistics, but also because seals with pelt
damage are discarded and not accounted for.
Objections to fur
Animal welfare advocates object to fur, when many synthetic "faux
fur" alternatives are available. On the other hand, fur advocates
will claim the material's superior warmth, style, and that it is a
renewable resource. It is often argued that real is superior to
synthetic fur that is petroleum based product and can release
highly toxic prussic acid
environment. Real fur is completely biodegradable and lasts
According to Canadian authorities, the value of the 2004 seal
harvest was $16.5 million CAD
significantly contributes to seal manufacturing companies, and for
several thousand fishermen and First
peoples. For some sealers, they claim, proceeds from
the hunt make up a third of their annual income. Critics, however,
say that this represents only a tiny fraction of the $600-million
Newfoundland fishing industry. Sealing opponents also say that
$16.5 million is insignificant, compared to the funding required to
regulate and subsidize the hunt. For 1995 and 1996 there are
confirmed reports that The
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
utilization of harvested seals through a $0.20 per pound meat
subsidy. The level of subsidy totalled $650,000 in
1997, $440,000 in 1998 and $250,000 in 1999. There were no meat
subsidies in 2000. Some critics, such as the McCartneys (see
below), have suggested that promoting that area as an eco-tourism
site would be far more lucrative
than the annual harvest.
As a culling method
In March 2005, Greenpeace asked DFO to "dispel the myth that seals
are hampering the recovery of cod stocks." In doing so, they
implied that the seal hunt is, at least in part, a cull
designed to increase cod stocks. Cod fishing has
traditionally been a key part of the Atlantic fishery, and an
important part of the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador. The
Department of Fisheries and Oceans have responded that there is no
connection between the annual seal harvest and the cod fishery, and
that the seal hunt is "established on sound conservation
Many animal-protection groups encourage people to petition against
the harvest. Respect for Animals and Humane Society International
believe the hunt will be ended only by the financial pressure of a
boycott of Canadian seafood. In 2005, the Humane Society of the United
(HSUS) called for such a boycott in the United
Protesters frequently use images of whitecoats
, despite Canada's ban on the
commercial hunting of suckling pups. The HSUS explains this by
saying that images of the legally hunted "ragged jackets" are
nearly indistinguishable from those of whitecoats. Also, they state
that according to official DFO kill reports, 97% percent of the
estimated million harp seals killed in the last four years have
been under three months old, and the majority of these are less
than one month old.
On March 26, 2006, seven protesters were arrested in the Gulf of
St. Lawrence for violating the terms of their observer permits. By
law, observers must maintain a ten-meter distance between
themselves and the sealers. In the same month, as part of a
counter-protest, Newfoundland and Labrador
encouraged people in the province to boycott Costco
after the retailer decided to stop carrying
seal-oil capsules. Costco stated that politics played no role in
their decision to remove the capsules, and on April 4 that year,
they were again being sold in Costco stores.
In January 2007, Belgium became the first European country to ban
all seal products in a unanimous vote of Belgian parliamentarians.
Shortly afterwards, Greenland claimed it would sue Belgium for a
move that it said would violate European
law and cripple the livelihood of Inuit hunters.
Greenland's minister for finance and foreign affairs expressed
concern that other EU countries might follow suit. Canada has
launched a challenge to the ban.
On May 5,
2009, the European
Parliament voted overwhelmingly (550 votes to 49) to endorse a
bill banning the import of seal products.
The bill described
commercial seal hunting "inherently inhumane", particularly in
Canada. Critics of the EU's actions - including Prime Minister
Stephen Harper - say that the bill did not mention or refer to any
metrics that quantify the Canadian seal hunt as being any more
inhumane than the accepted, legal slaughter of animals in the EU.
Millions of animals are slaughtered annually in the EU for food,
fur, and entertainment.Harper said that there is no reason the
seal industry should be singled out for discriminatory
. The ban still allows trade in seal products derived
from hunts traditionally conducted by Inuit
and other indigenous communities and which contribute to their
subsistence. Another derogation exists for "the sole purpose of
sustainable management of marine resources." This means that
fishermen, for example, can cull seals to protect fish stocks. The
legislation was denounced by both the government of Canada and the
Inuit government of Nunavut, with Ajau Peter of Iqaluit saying "I
saw that they didn't have all the facts, they were not informed
about our concerns."
The law was approved by the Council of the European Union
without debate on July 27, 2009. Denmark, Romania, and Austria
abstained. The Canadian government responded to the move by stating
that it will take the European Union to the World Trade Organization
if the ban
does not exempt Canada. Canadian Inuits from
have opposed the ban and lobbied European Parliament members
The legislation banning seal products is likely
to come into effect before the beginning of the hunting season in
Numerous celebrities have opposed the commercial seal hunt,
including Richard Dean
, Kim Basinger
, Juliette Binoche
, Sir Paul McCartney
, Heather Mills
, Pamela Anderson
, Martin Sheen
, Paris Hilton
, Robert Kennedy, Jr.
, Rutger Hauer
, Brigitte Bardot
, Ed Begley, Jr.
, Farley Mowat
, the Red Hot Chili
, The Vines
, Good Charlotte
, and Animal Collective
In March 2006, Brigitte Bardot
traveled to Ottawa to protest the hunt, though the Prime Minister
turned down the request for a meeting. During the same month,
and Heather Mills McCartney
Gulf of St. Lawrence's sealing grounds, and spoke out against the
seal hunt, including as guests on Larry
, where the two debated with Danny Williams
, the Premier of Newfoundland and
In 1978 , Marine ecologist Jacques
had this to say:
"The harp seal question is entirely
We have to be logical.
We have to aim our activity first to the endangered
Those who are moved by the plight of the harp seal
could also be moved by the plight of the pig - the way they are
slaughtered is horrible."
- Kipling's The White Seal, part
of The Jungle Book,
describes seal hunting from the seals' point of view, with the
central character being a white seal
seeking for his seals a safe haven from hunters.
- Jack London's novel The Sea Wolf takes place aboard "the
schooner Ghost, bound seal-hunting for Japan" circa
- Pro-sealing views
- Anti-sealing views
- A Response to the Canadian Department of Fisheries
"Myths and Facts", by the Humane Society of the United
- "Animal welfare and the harp seal hunt in Atlantic
Canada", copyright and/or publishing rights held by the
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, site is maintained by the
- Atlantic Canada Seal Hunt Myths and Realities,
produced and/or compiled by Fisheries and Oceans Canada
- Canadian Seal Hunt History website is part of the
International Marine Mammal Association, inc. (IMMA)
- CBC Digital Archives – Pelts, Pups and Protest: The
Atlantic Seal Hunt
- Harp Seal Info. & History, produced and/or compiled by
Fisheries and Oceans
- History of World Fur Sealing (originally from
Fahan School, Australia?)
- ICES/NAFO Working Group on Harp and Hooded Seals,
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
- Internet Guide To International Fisheries Law,
OceanLaw is an independent initiative focusing on international law
of the sea and international fisheries law research, resource
development and consultancy.
- Offshore/Inshore Fisheries Development – Harp Seal,
Marine Institute of Memorial University of
- Seal Hunt FAQ, CBC.
Facts, news articles and opinion pieces on the Seal Hunt.
- The Seal
Hunter – A seal hunting simulation game
- Transcript of a Larry King Interview with The
McCartneys and Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams
- News articles
- "Canada seal cull gets underway", BBC
- Canadian Press, "Seal hunt supporters in Quebec and
Labrador confront animal-rights protesters", Ottawa
Citizen, April 13, 2006.
- "Cute, cuddly, edible: Defending Canada's seal
hunters", The Economist,
2 June 2008
- Paul McCartney urges the Canadian Prime Minister to
stop the seal hunt, SpicyEdition.
- "Seal hunt helped us survive", Toronto
- "The shame of seal hunting", American
- Seal Sorrow: 90,000 Seals To Be Clubbed To
Death by Michelle Theriault, The Huffington Post, July