Anthony Armentano, Global Animal
On Tuesday, the Elmer Fudds of the world finally came out of their icy hovels, in order to partake in Canada’s now infamous seal hunt. Although the commercial hunt is widely panned by the majority of Canadian citizens and increasingly obsolete, it has refused to fade away completely. The Canadian Government is no doubt the biggest enabler of this barbaric practice, over funding at great lengths to sustain a needless industry, with the use of taxpayers’ money.
There is only one seal processing company remaining in Newfoundland, the province that currently acts as host to the hunt. Despite receiving a $2 million CAD loan from the government in 2012, the seal hunt only garnered $1.6 million in revenues. Even after a loss the previous year, the hunt reportedly received an estimated $3.6 million subsidy for 2013. Not to mention, it costs the Department of Fisheries and Oceans around $1 million a year just to oversee the hunt.
It’s a wonder how any government could justify continually funding an industry that fails to return a profit. Many countries have banned the sale of seal products, including the United States, Mexico, and the European Union. This begs the question: does a profitable market for seal products even exist?
Seal campaign director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Sheryl Fink, claims, “If the funds currently being used in a futile attempt to keep this dying industry alive were redirected to provide financial alternatives to help sealers to get out of the sealing business, it would be a far better use of taxpayers’ dollars.” Year after year, Canadian taxpayers refuse to support the government sanctioned seal hunt, yet it continues to put their tax dollars at work.
Within the past five years, Canada’s commercial seal hunt has killed nearly one million seals—98 percent of which were younger than three months of age due to the desire to obtain their pelts while they’re still white.
In an effort to focus on the politicians who sanction the event, IFAW will not be present during the seal hunt for the first time in nearly 20 years. Fink believes, “Just by being out there and being on the ice we sort of keep this thing alive.” Bringing unwanted attention to the event is a major concern of IFAW, and their physical absence from the hunting waters, resides in their hope that the practice will ultimately proceed to dwindle into its inevitable extinction.
A number of media figures are speaking out against the seal hunt, including comedian Bill Maher, who urged Twitter users to donate to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help combat the unnecessary slaughter. Below is a video created by the HSUS asking viewers to be mindful of the seal hunt.