Baby seals have got to be some of the cutest creatures ever put on this earth and although I normally put pictures of celebrities on the site, today they are the celebrity. Please help to save them. Nigel Barker of America's Next Top Model and the Humane Society of the United States are working hard to help stop the Canadian commercial seal hunt and you can too.
- Canada's commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on earth, with hundreds of thousands of seals killed annually.
- In Canada, more than 95 percent of the seals killed each year are less than 3 months old. At the time of slaughter, many have yet to eat their first solid meal or take their first swim, and they are utterly defenseless against the hunters.
- The seals are killed for their fur, which is sold in fashion markets in Asia, Europe and Russia.
- In Canada, sealers are commercial fishermen, who earn only a small fraction of their annual incomes from killing seals.
- A 2007 study by a panel of veterinary and zoology experts who studied the Canadian commercial seal hunt found a widespread disregard for the Marine Mammal Regulations by sealers, a failure to monitor the hunt by authorities, high wounding rates in seals that were shot or clubbed, wounded seals left to suffer for protracted periods of time and sealers failing to ensure animals were dead in 66 percent of cases. The report concluded that both clubbing and shooting of seals should be considered unacceptable.
- A recent scientific opinion by the Panel on Animal Health and Welfare requested by the European Commission concluded, "When seals are hit or shot, but are not dead, they may have to be hit or shot again or may be moved or skinned whilst conscious, resulting in avoidable pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering" and "seals should be protected from acts that cause them avoidable pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering."
- Nations around the world have taken action to end their trade in seal products or announced their intention to do so, including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, Slovenia and the United States.
Since Canada banned commercial whale hunting in the 1970's, the whale-watching industry has thrived and is now worth more than the commercial seal hunt.
"Years ago, the Canadian government successfully turned its commercial whale hunt into a multi million-dollar whale-watching industry, and there is absolutely no reason the government cannot do the same with seals," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "By continuing this appalling and inhumane hunt, the government is turning what should be an economic asset — the world's largest migration of these highly charismatic marine mammals — into a liability. The new economies of the major nations of the world will be built around sustainable and humane practices, not the reckless exploitation of wildlife and natural resources."
Barker said, "Witnessing hundreds of thousands of harp seals with their beautiful white coat pups in this awe-inspiring frozen landscape is enough to take even the most seasoned photojournalist's breath away. Of course, the thought of the impending slaughter with the use of clubs, sharp spikes and guns in only a few weeks' time shatters what should be a celebration of life and promise and instead fills you with dread and remorse for the inhumane way we treat our fellow animals."
"I hope to raise awareness in the youth of today with graphic images of both the joy and desperation from the largest mammalian birthing site and consequent killing fields on Earth. This sort of behavior cannot and will not be tolerated by the youth of today and I intend to do something about it," Barker continued.
HSUS is calling upon the Canadian government to immediately implement a fair buyout of the sealing industry. In recent years, the Canadian government has successfully implemented many license buy-back programs, also known as license retirement plans, in the wake of fisheries closures. In these programs, the government compensates license holders for lost revenue resulting from fishery closures.
A sealing license buy-back program would fairly compensate fishermen (who hunt seals in the off season) affected by the permanent closure of the commercial seal hunt. This program, combined with the additional new sources of income from tourism, would only improve the already strong economy of Canada, the environment, the lives of the fishermen and of course, the welfare of the seals.
Seal hunting is an off-season activity conducted by Canadian fishermen. Since 2005, The HSUS has urged U.S. companies to avoid selling and serving Canadian seafood in order to convince that country's fishing industry to stop participating in and supporting the commercial seal hunt.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.