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Outrage at new mass slaughter of baby seals
Guardian ^ | 04/11/04 | Mark Townsend

Posted on 04/10/2004 6:53:21 PM PDT by Pikamax

Outrage at new mass slaughter of baby seals

Images of cull return to haunt world again

Mark Townsend Sunday April 11, 2004 The Observer

Soon after dawn breaks above Newfoundland tomorrow, the ice sheets will be suffused with crimson as an army of hunters embark on the largest single cull of baby seals in more than half a century. Up to 10,000 animals are scheduled to be killed every hour during daylight. By nightfall on Tuesday, at least 140,000 young harp seals will have been shot, beaten or clubbed to death on the huge ice floes found among the seas off Canada's far northern coast.

During that 36 hours, around 2,500 men clutching steel-tipped clubs will repeatedly fan out across the vast wilderness in search of their prey. Some seals will be be killed using hakapics - a primitive weapon with a metal spike on the end of a wooden pole. The remainder will be shot with high-velocity, long-distance rifles.

Witnesses to last week's initial smaller-scale culls in the nearby Gulf of St Lawrence described entire ice shelves sopping with blood. Elsewhere, red trails criss-crossed the ice where carcasses had been dragged by hooks to waiting fishing vessels. They also reported a number of young animals left convulsing after initial strikes failed to kill them instantly.

The Canadian government is determined to keep the eyes of the world's media away from the killing zone. Special permits must be obtained before the public can venture near the ice, a process critics claim is often a needlessly lengthy and frustrating exercise designed to thwart observers from witnessing the cull.

But The Observer has obtained exclusive pictures documenting the first hours of last week's preliminary culls - footage that offers an insight into the methods used. Activists for the animal rights group International Fund for Animal Welfare hope the images will provoke widespread outrage and lead to an international ban on seal products.

Any ban will come too late for this year's seals. A flotilla of 150 trawlers will gather at dawn tomorrow 100 miles north of Newfoundland to begin the most intensive phase of the cull. Animal rights protesters are stunned and frustrated, complaining that the cull will be conducted unobserved due to its remote location.

Katy Heath-Eves, who is monitoring the situation for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: 'The cull is back with a vengeance. Two days is all they need. It's going to be bloody out there.'

This week's hunt confirms a sharp escalation in the size of Canada's seal cull, which almost died out amid international outrage 20 years ago. Yet, quietly and away from the world's media, the hunt has been growing steadily in size over the past six years.

By the end of May, one in three of the region's seals will have been killed, many for their natural fur. The Canadian government has given its fishermen permission to kill 350,000 baby harp seals, an increase of 100,000 above the previous year. Over the next five weeks, fishermen using smaller boats will account for the rest of the quota. In addition, critics claim that many wounded animals who escape under the ice for safety, where they die, are not included in official kill counts.

The sudden growth of the cull has been aided by new markets in Russia and Poland alongside a sharp rise in the price of sealskin. Since 2001, the value of a top-grade harp sealskin has more than doubled to about £30, almost the price of the early 1970s. Seal genitals are often hacked off and sold to the Far East, where they are prized as an aphrodisiac and can fetch up to £200 each. Seal hunters will earn up to £600 a day this week before returning to theport of St John's, Newfoundland, on Wednesday.

Yet advocates of the hunt claim not only is it vital to the local economy, with thousands of jobs at stake, but that the growing seal population is contributing to a collapse in cod. An adult seal can eat an estimated ton of sea life annually. Local media call seals 'huge fish-gobblers'. However, this is contradicted by the findings of independent scientists, who blame the dramatic collapse of the Newfoundland fishery, once one of the richest in the world but now a watery wasteland, on intensive overfishing.

Whatever the truth, this week's large-scale resumption of the cull is a far cry from when the practice appeared virtually finished. On the US banning the import of seal products in 1972 and the European Union outlawing imports of the white pelts of the youngest pups in 1983, the cull fell to as low as 15,000 harp seals two years later.

Several European governments are considering plans to ban all seal products. Britain has yet to decide its public stance, despite lobbying from animal welfare groups. Although the Canadian government claims seals are no longer skinned alive during the culls, recent eye-witness accounts claim otherwise, corroborating studies suggesting that more than four in 10 pups are still alive when hunters skin them.

However, Canada has won plaudits for how it reacted to international outrage over the culls. The government has banned the killing of 'whitecoats' - the youngest pups up to 12 days old. Now only seals who have shed their white coats at about three weeks old are killed for their black-spotted, silvery fur. Before this year's hunt, officials added an extra requirement that hunters examine the skull of the seal or touch the eyes to test for reflexes to ensure that a seal is brain dead before skinning.


TOPICS: Canada; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: animalrights; clubbingbabyseals; fur; hunting; newfoundland
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1 posted on 04/10/2004 6:53:21 PM PDT by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax

2 posted on 04/10/2004 6:59:44 PM PDT by annyokie (There are two sides to every argument, but I'm too busy to listen to yours.)
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To: Pikamax
The Canadian government has given its fishermen permission to kill 350,000 baby harp seals,

I thought the Canadians were supposed to be kinder than we are.

3 posted on 04/10/2004 7:08:35 PM PDT by syriacus (Never forget. The Daschle-Schumer Gang obstructed organization of GWB's Administration --->9/11)
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To: Pikamax
So this baby seal walks into a club...
4 posted on 04/10/2004 7:16:31 PM PDT by IncPen
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To: Pikamax
Question, observing an American or Foriegn supporter of our cause, getting their throat cut in Iraq, would it reset your priorities as to were to focus your attention?
5 posted on 04/10/2004 7:17:48 PM PDT by Musketeer
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To: Pikamax
The government has banned the killing of 'whitecoats' - the youngest pups up to 12 days old.

How civil.  </sarcasm>
6 posted on 04/10/2004 7:19:27 PM PDT by quantim (Victory is not relative, it is absolute.)
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To: Pikamax
Any outrage yet on the abortion oh small human beings?
7 posted on 04/10/2004 7:19:47 PM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Pikamax
Any outrage yet on the abortion of small human beings?
8 posted on 04/10/2004 7:20:01 PM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Pikamax
Kerry did it
9 posted on 04/10/2004 7:20:11 PM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Pikamax
If the seals were a vital food supply or necessary for survival of humans, I could see it. But, this is just crap.

Clubbing them to make coats, when there are numerous other sources for the prduction of coats and jackets, is an outrage. Such scum is superior only to the terrorist vermin in Iraq. No. The terrorist vermin in Iraq are probably a little better.
10 posted on 04/10/2004 7:20:45 PM PDT by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: nmh
Any outrage yet on the abortion of small human beings?

Uh. Yeah. On planet earth it is possible to be outraged by more than one thing at a time.

11 posted on 04/10/2004 7:22:45 PM PDT by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: Skooz
I'm outraged they banned killing the white coats.

Statist intervention. Pure and simple.
12 posted on 04/10/2004 7:25:23 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: annyokie
Any person who could look at one of those animals, and beat it to death with a club, is not someone who can ever be trusted around other humans.

In fact, it calls into serious question their own humanity.

13 posted on 04/10/2004 7:27:52 PM PDT by Long Cut
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To: Liberty Valance
Kerry did it

Only before he didn't.
14 posted on 04/10/2004 7:27:54 PM PDT by Gun142 (Where Will You Be When You Get Where You're Going? -- Jerry Clower)
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To: Skooz
Amazing, isn't it...I have never seen any thread which dealt with animal cruelty which did not have someone bring up abortion within ten posts.

That includes the one last week about the psychopath who drop-kicked a 2-pound, 17 year-old yorkshire terrier to death in front of its owner.

15 posted on 04/10/2004 7:30:40 PM PDT by Long Cut
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To: Long Cut
Yup.
16 posted on 04/10/2004 7:31:29 PM PDT by annyokie (There are two sides to every argument, but I'm too busy to listen to yours.)
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To: Skooz
Not to those folks. One issue voters see the shadow of their issue in any topic.
17 posted on 04/10/2004 7:33:16 PM PDT by annyokie (There are two sides to every argument, but I'm too busy to listen to yours.)
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To: Pikamax
Why can't the Democrats substitute themselves in the name of compassion?? ;-)
18 posted on 04/10/2004 7:34:04 PM PDT by F16Fighter
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To: F16Fighter
Can you imagine anybody wanting to wear a dem fur coat?

Also you'd need an awfull lot of pelts for just one coat. You'd never find matching colors.
19 posted on 04/10/2004 7:36:57 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: annyokie
Yet an other white meat
20 posted on 04/10/2004 7:38:16 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: nkycincinnatikid
After housecats?
21 posted on 04/10/2004 7:40:28 PM PDT by annyokie (There are two sides to every argument, but I'm too busy to listen to yours.)
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To: nkycincinnatikid
Taste fishy. Kinda like dolpin.
22 posted on 04/10/2004 7:41:12 PM PDT by Dinsdale
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To: IncPen; Pikamax
A baby seal walks into a bar. Bartender says, "What can I get ya?" Seal says, "Anything but a Canadian Club".

23 posted on 04/10/2004 7:41:58 PM PDT by AnnaZ (I hate Times New Roman... and it's all Mel Gibson's fault!)
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To: Pikamax
This is a slaughter, not a hunt.

I guess I won't being going to Newfoundland for vacation.

Bunch of bloodthirsty killers living up there.
24 posted on 04/10/2004 8:00:10 PM PDT by ASTM366
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To: Pikamax
So these two baby harp seals walk up to the bar, and one says, "I'll have a Canadian Club on the Rocks"
25 posted on 04/10/2004 8:01:40 PM PDT by Piranha
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To: ASTM366
If they wern't meant to be made into coats they wouldn't have ever grown fur, at least desirable fur!

Time for a bigger club!
26 posted on 04/10/2004 8:09:01 PM PDT by dalereed (,)
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To: ASTM366
I agree.

Don't be put off by the "seeing animals in pain is the only way I can get wood" crowd. They tend to show up on all of these threads. They are as predictable as the "how can anyone be concerned about this when abortion ..... " posters.
27 posted on 04/10/2004 8:38:15 PM PDT by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: dalereed
yo, man--are you bald? i'm a gittin' my club ready.
28 posted on 04/10/2004 8:58:21 PM PDT by drhogan
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To: drhogan
i mean, if men weren't made to be clubbed and skinned, they wouldn't have grown hair. it's SO obvious.
29 posted on 04/10/2004 9:00:17 PM PDT by drhogan
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To: Pikamax
This morning, the New York TIMES featured -- front page, above the fold, the best position they have -- a photo of a jubilant Iraqi waving a pair of boots stripped from a dead GI. The symbolism here is almost eerie -- and nauseating. In the TIMES view, it's cause for celebration when you kill GIs and take their boots, and it's fine to kill babies up until they are being born, to harvest stem cells and organs. But don't you dare kill fur seals to harvest pelts.
30 posted on 04/10/2004 9:03:16 PM PDT by T'wit ("Now and then, an innocent man is elected to Congress" -- Will Rogers)
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To: annyokie
Sick and a evil. Shame on the pigs that heartlessly slaughter helpless defenseless infants.
31 posted on 04/10/2004 9:10:51 PM PDT by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: T'wit
it seems to me that killing unborn children, US soldiers, AND baby harp seals is bad. I can't believe that God would want his creatures slaughtered in such a cruel way.
it's not like the baby harp seals are killing unborn children. i don't even understand the logic here.
32 posted on 04/10/2004 9:13:05 PM PDT by drhogan
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To: drhogan
"are you bald? i'm a gittin' my club ready"

Not bald but there isn't a hair oin my head that is over 3/8" long so it wont' make you a coat that will keep you warm!
33 posted on 04/10/2004 9:16:58 PM PDT by dalereed (,)
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To: Pikamax
This is sickening. These babies don't have a chance to get away - this is not a hunt it's a mass slaughter. Those poor little baby seals just lay there and get slaughtered.
34 posted on 04/12/2004 8:54:10 AM PDT by areafiftyone (Democrats = the hamster is dead but the wheel is still spinning)
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To: annyokie

35 posted on 04/12/2004 8:55:48 AM PDT by areafiftyone (Democrats = the hamster is dead but the wheel is still spinning)
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To: areafiftyone
I agree. It is repulsive and disgusting.
36 posted on 04/12/2004 8:56:17 AM PDT by Skooz (My Biography: Psalm 40:1-3)
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To: dalereed
Like to try it anyhow just to see
37 posted on 04/12/2004 9:02:17 AM PDT by paul51
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To: drhogan
it seems to me that killing unborn children, US soldiers, AND baby harp seals is bad.

Me too. The only difference is by degree. There is no honor in either three killings. What sort of man considers his income to be dependant on bashing in the skull of a seal? What sort of man considers his reduced chances for liberty and a just state by killing a US soldier? What sort of person justifies the easy killing of the innocent? The answer is that they don't consider at all.

38 posted on 04/12/2004 9:11:08 AM PDT by elbucko
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To: elbucko
i really liked your post. you said it well.
all unnecessary killing raises serious moral issues about the perpetrator and his cheering squad, whether they are liberals, islamic terrorists, or freepers.
just because some types of kiling are worse (e.g., killing babies or soldiers) doesn't mean that other killing, if it is not necessary, is morally defensible. God said we are "stewards" of the creatures on earth, NOT slaughterers.
39 posted on 04/14/2004 12:01:04 PM PDT by drhogan
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To: dalereed
well, maybe if you go out and hunt the baby seals, a polar bear will get you. polar bears don't discriminate against people with short hair. this way you could be doing something positive for nature.
40 posted on 04/14/2004 12:03:06 PM PDT by drhogan
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To: dalereed
by the way, i don't really wish you any real arm. i am just upset about the seal slaughter.
41 posted on 04/14/2004 12:04:05 PM PDT by drhogan
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To: elbucko
What sort of man considers his income to be dependant on bashing in the skull of a seal?

It's an animal, not a human. Animals have been slaughtered by the billions since humans figured out how to get more leverage with a piece of wood.

How is this any different than fishing ?

42 posted on 04/14/2004 12:05:51 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (Resolve to perform what you must; perform without fail that what you resolve.)
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To: drhogan
do you ever actually engage in the slaughter of defenseless creatures, or do you just like to get the animal lovers crazy? i'm beginning to suspect the latter.
43 posted on 04/14/2004 12:06:18 PM PDT by drhogan
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To: Pikamax
"The sudden growth of the cull has been aided by new markets in Russia and Poland alongside a sharp rise in the price of sealskin."

So, this is why it's suddenly 'OK' to kill these innocents seals.....

(But those tortured Iraqis under Sadam's regime.....fuggetaboutit......)

44 posted on 04/14/2004 12:10:21 PM PDT by BossLady (Your biography becomes your biology.......)
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To: Centurion2000
It's no different from the production of lamb chops.

Don't be put off by the "whining about the poor, fuzzy, cute widdle animals" crowd. Their irrationality, viciousness, and incapacity for independant thought on these threads is completely predictable. They remind me of democrat voters. In fact, there's a huge overlap between the two groups.
45 posted on 04/14/2004 12:16:03 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Chief Engineer, Tomas de Torquemada Gentlemens' Club)
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To: Centurion2000
It's an animal, not a human. Animals have been slaughtered by the billions since humans figured out how to get more leverage with a piece of wood.
How is this any different than fishing ?

How is this any different than beating your pet cat or dog to death and selling their fur for my living?!

As a youth and for Summer recreation, I sometimes work for cattle ranches. I know about "slaughter", I've seen it. Having spent summers as a kid, protecting cattle from all sorts of dangers, I have watched them loaded into a truck that I know is headed to a feed lot, and after that, to a slaughter house. The contradiction is not lost on my reason or conscience. I know a quite a few cowboys that would not send their cattle to slaughter if they won a small lottery or inheritance. Enough to pay their bills and send their kids to school. But these cattle go to feed those that raised them, or to those willing to pay for the meat they eat. Cattle are not raised for vanity.

The seals that are bludgeoned to death, so as not to flaw the fur with a bullet hole, are not necessary to the physical survival of others. Economic survival, yes, but in a smarmy and parasitic manner made acceptable by the goods being sold in fine department stores. A butcher shop gives no pretext to the process of how it obtains its wares. The seals pelt is totally for vanity, the club for increased profit. Once the seals are gone, who shall they club next? Maybe your skin would make a fine lampshade (with apologies to the Holocaust). After all, the difference is only by degree? Why would you object? It won't hurt. You won't know what hit you.

Winston Churchill once remarked at a dinner, while pondering a chicken breast, "that someday, chicken breasts will be able to be produced without having to make the whole chicken". I look forward to that day, as well as the day that beef can be safely produced without having to grow the whole steer.

BTW, Yes, I do hunt. Deer, Elk and birds. And no, if you got within 10ft. of my horse with a club in your hand, you (or anyone else) would not walk away. Do I make myself clear?!

46 posted on 04/14/2004 1:17:47 PM PDT by elbucko (I'm not a real SOB, but I play one on Free Republic.)
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To: syriacus
I suppose they could allow them to overpopulate and starve en masse.
47 posted on 04/14/2004 1:21:33 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (Nothing, no matter how improbable, which exists, is impossible.)
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To: Long Cut
100% agree. I had an all white kitten with blue eyes who looked just like a seal pup. We named her 'Pup'. Deaf as a doornail, but one of the coolest cats I ever had.

Anyone who can beat a defenseless animal- one not even 12 days old, is void of a soul, IMHO.

48 posted on 04/14/2004 1:24:34 PM PDT by rintense (Now I know why liberals hate guns... they keep shooting themselves in the foot!)
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To: elbucko
How is this any different than beating your pet cat or dog to death and selling their fur for my living?!

The difference is that if someone goes after MY property and I will kill the perp on the spot. I live in Texas, thank God.

The seals aren't yours; if you want to save them ... go collect and raise them. Kudos if you do, but until then other people are making a living off animal products. Deal with it.

49 posted on 04/14/2004 1:55:39 PM PDT by Centurion2000 (Resolve to perform what you must; perform without fail that what you resolve.)
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To: elbucko; rintense
"There is no honor in either three killings. What sort of man considers his income to be dependant on bashing in the skull of a seal?"

You have hit upon an important truth, here. It's the "honor" part.

Killing baby seals by clubbing them to death is, quite simply, not a fit occupation for any MAN worth the name. There is NO honor, NO dignity, and NO decency to it at all. Individuals who make a living doing it are not fit to be called "MEN".

I was once struck in the head with a heavy baseball bat, by someone who wished to kill me. By sheer good luck to me, and VERY bad luck to him, I survived. I later took my revenge. Those excusing this barbarity (and that is what it is, I've also seen the films of it)might think differently had they had the experience firsthand.

These animals posed no threat to humans; and they provide no survival needs. They are not bred to be harvested. Their cruel slaughter is entirely pointless; indeed, it does not even provide sport.

If an act contains neither honor nor dignity nor decency, it is an act that Men should condemn.

50 posted on 04/14/2004 5:22:42 PM PDT by Long Cut
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