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Canada Attempts (and Fails) to Improve Conditions for Seals

Written by PETA | December 29, 2008
britannica / CC
Seal hunt

Every year in Canada, over 330,000 harp seals are bludgeoned to death as the world looks on in horror. Recently, opposition to this cruel industry has been mounting and the international community is speaking out against this bloody massacre. Belgium and the Netherlands have passed laws banning the importation of seal fur, and the E.U. is turning its back on seal skin. Here in the U.S., the sale of seal fur has been banned since 1972.

In an attempt to save this industry, Canada has implemented new standards aimed at making the hunt more humane, including the following:

  1. The use of hakapiks (clubs with metal hooks on their ends) on seals more than 1 year old is now banned. Ironically, it is legal in Canada to kill seal pups when they are about 12 days old. During last year’s hunt, almost all the seals who were killed were 3 months old or younger.
  2. Sealers must now feel seals’ heads to confirm that they are dead.
  3. Sealers must wait 60 seconds before skinning the seals to ensure that they are dead.

Talk about setting the bar low.

I’m sorry, but impaling baby animals in the jaw with hooks, dragging them across the ice, and throwing them into a pile where they choke on their own blood before skinning them for the sake of fashion does not fit anyone’s definition of “humane.” These laws are a pathetic attempt to misguide shoppers, but the industry is not changing at all. Canada, if you really want to improve the lives of seals, won’t you please ban the seal hunt immediately?

Written by Liz Graffeo

Commenting is closed.
  • misty girl 17 says:

    I understand why so many people are upset about seal hunting and other animal hunting activities but have you thought about the fact that the basic animal hunting has brought food, warmth, homes, and the way of life to everyone for so many years. Yes, people have taken hunting new extremes that is not what god intended for us to use them for but some of the comments I read were talking like they thought no one should ever for so ever reason. I think that is taking i to the extreme maybe canadian government should put a limit on how many they can hunt per year and start hunting seasons like they do with hunting in america thats one of the few things the american gornment has done right. Just remember that if we dont hunt for our selves we will forget how to hunt and care for our selves when the shit hits the fan in todays time. My mom is always telling my siblings and I that if she cant teach anything else she knows that we can garden. hunt, skin, and clean, fish, cook, and keep our selves alive. I also read that rabbits should be left alone well i have news for you, apperently you have never been starving and not had the money to buy food, and i have my family raises rabbits, and goats to show and if we have no other choice and we need meat in the freezer we will kill,and butcher our rabbits, and goats think about that Pro-life Catholic

  • Clove says:

    I would like to be a Sealerer. That would be awesome and sweet payback!

  • Deborah Friedrich says:

    How horrible. This brought tears to my eyes. I will be letting anyone and everyone who will listen including avide travelers not to visit Canada until this slaughter is outlawed.

  • Joseph says:

    what about ur sea kittens?

  • Bobbi says:


  • A Proud Seal Saver! says:

    This is so beat! Seriously i live in Canada and i jus found out that we allow people to hunt baby seals and such just as long as they check the heads to make sure they are dead before the skin them! THIS IS SO CUREL! Seriously why cant we just let them be?! they are so cute and innocent they didnt do anything wrong! I think we should put a stop to this before it gets out of hand and there are NO more SEALS in the world because people are dumb! A Proud Seal Saver!

  • Patrick Ward says:

    I think that people who “hate” Canada are usually the ones who believe earnestly that many Canadians think seal “hunting” is OK when people with brains know that isn’t the case. It is a pity that no Canadian politician has the balls to end the seal hunt they showed no such qualms when they scrapped whaling. And everyone is better off for that. So pollies in Canada let’s do the right thing and QUIT seal hunting.

  • Kayla says:

    this makes me ashamed to be canadian …but you should not hate Canada I live in Calgary and I have never even met any one who killed a seal and I have never killed ANY THING mabey I stepped on a couple of bugs with out knowing but I try to watch my step so nobody has a right to hate Canada as a whole because most of us have never been involved in the killing of seals! instead of whining take some action! I for one am going to try to get my class to send letters to the government asking them to stop maby it would make them think twice if they got letters from concerned 12 and 13 year olds! so you cant blame me for this just because I live in Canada!!!

  • Patrick Ward says:

    I don’t hate Canada either I think that’s a little silly Roxanne and you others who have posted such sentiments. This “hunt” is a “stain” on Canada’s reputation which needs instant removal. If we put more pressure on the politicians and that doesn’t work perhaps it should be put to a referendumplebiscite. Might be the ONLY thing that works.

  • Joanne says:

    This is the 21st century and humans have no right to kill any animal for their fur baby seals rabbits dogs cats fox mink … the list goes on and on. What gives any human the right to mistreat and kill an innocent animal. It we are going to hate Canada for allowing the hunting of baby seals we certainly need to add China to the list of countries we hate. In China dogs and cats are bred on fur farms and are tortured and slain for their furs often these poor animals are still alive as they are being skinned. In Australia kangaroos are shot and baby kangaroos are ripped from their mothers pouch and stomped to death just so the dead kangaroos can be killed for the skins. The people of the world need to wake up and ban together to stop all inhumane treatment of animals and fellow humans. “Bless the beasts and the children for in this world they have no voice they have no choice.”

  • sueann says:

    how do you think i feel ? im from canada and i hate what they are doing to those seals and other animals.your right we need to get off our sissy ass and do somehting and stop juste talking about it.and stop being so nicy nicy.

  • kathleen smith says:

    i dont hate Canada. I think the laws on the seal hunt are sadly inadequate and any one who can do that to a living breathing creature has something missing in their make up. The whole country is not responsible for what their government decides. Im English do people hate England just because of a minority of upper class thugs who like foxhunting? Do we hate France just because of fois gras? In every country there are enlightened people trying to do the best they can for the animals who live there. Lets remember that. Kathy.

  • Jaimie says:

    for all the people hating on the Canadians WOW like wtf?do us canadians say we hate america everytime that someting about the kentucky derby and such is brought up! like come on its not aGll of canadians that hunt sealsonly a select few do! like GOD how ignorant can you get!? oh and for people boycotting canadagood we dontwant you in our country anyway! EH?

  • jaimie says:

    STOP HATING ON CANADA!!!! god the states is no worse this message has been brought to you by a PROUD CANADIAN! go peta!

  • Renate Huebner says:

    I can not BELIEVE the Canadian government! This is so wrong in allowing this to continue. What is worse for a progressive Nation like yours to stand by shrugging your shoulders about this is totally unacceptable. NO MORE SEAL KILLINGS. You need to save face in the world and forbid this once and for all. I will NOT enter Canada as a tourist and spend money until you do!

  • roxanne says:

    i hate the killing of baby seals and I don’t ever want to visit Canada because of it. Also I meant i hate the Canada govt and not all Canadians.

  • roxanne says:

    Did I ever say that I hate Canada? i hate the killing of baby seals and I don’t ever want to visit Canada because of it.

  • kado says:

    i am Canadian i strongly support animal rights and am disgusted bye the people who are completly agianst it and i think you shouldn’t hate the whole whole country just some people have the bad idea and dont get the message

  • Zoie says:

    I wont hate Canada for the ignorance of a few but i will not encourage it. What i dont understand is how can a person look a BABY in the eyes then Kill it? An innocent baby. When did humans start acting like they were GOD? what gives them the right to do this? What happened to the pagan belief of loving the Earth and everything she gives you? Why do people feel obliged to kill everything that is beautiful in this world? This is what I dont understand. That animal was an innocent being. How can people live knowing that they kill INNOCENTS for a living? I cant even kill a bug so it’s baffeling to see such an unusual violence. It makes me think what did that creature do to deserve such a death? When a logical answer arises then and only then is killing an innocent justified. Also when I mean LOGICAL answer this discludes the responce “Because they have pretty skin”. if you’re so attracted to it take a picture and stare at it!

  • NT says:

    Like I said if you decide to boycott Canada don’t do it silently please take a few minutes to let the government know why! Just as fishermen pressure the government to continue the hunt the tourism industry in the maritime provinces can pressure the government to end it if it hurts their pockets. Here are some contacts Newfoundland tourism board Prime Minister Stephen Harper

  • Christina says:

    I live only an hour from the Canadian border in Michigan and do NOT plan on visiting Canada or spending ONE penny in their country until the seal slaughter is abolished…

  • WolfGirl21 says:

    Canada sickens me. It’s horrible that they think those rules make it all better. When I first found out about this whole thing with Canada I have since hated Canada and will never go there. It is just wrong! They need to get a clue that what they are doing to innocent seals is extrememly inhumane. To Rex’s Mom I totally agree with you on the Palin thing. I’ll never go to Alaska now because of her cruelty to those wonderful animals. It’s sickening what she does in Alaska.

  • lynda downie says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Mike QGinaand others who recognize these ‘improved’ regulations for what they arePR spin to continue business as usual. I’m Canadian too but I don’t blame anyone for hating us all with a broad stroke. I’d rather people boycotted Canada like Morrissey did than being careful to not hurt our ‘polite Canadian’ sensibilities. The only innocent nations in the world are Animal Nations.

  • Susan T says:

    I agreeHATEis simply not appropriate in a broad brush fashion on the good people of Canada Japan and other parts of the world. This hunt is a disgrace. It is a “black eye” on an otherwise progressive and civilized country. I just don’t understand why the government continues to pour milions into keeping it. Can’t these fishermen “learn” another skillperhaps something that they can actually be proud of doing? Imagine being married to one of these cretins. What in the world would you ask when he came through the door and said he “Honey I’m home!” she How’d your day go sweetheart?” he I bloodied up and skinned about twohundred seals! she Uh eh wow! How much are we gettin’? How do they do it? What kind of blackness resides in a man’s heart that could be so callous brutal and without feeling as to bash in the skulls of innocent creatures over and over again drag their stilltwitching bloodoozing bodies over the ice and rip the skin from their warm bodies? Man is truly the most detestable species on the planet. No other creature “kills’ and actually enjoys it and finds all kinds of reasons to justify it. Animals kill and eat each other but that is nature. Slaughtering these seals by the hundreds of thousands so ignorant esteemchallenged people can wear their skins and hoodwink themselves into believing they look good seems so out of place in 2009! Continue to write and DO boycott Canada every chance you get! I hope every one of these soulless cretins must come back and relive his life as the animal he tortured and killed. There would be no greater punishment

  • Amber Falobas says:

    God Canada is really getting on my nerves. They can’t get up off their sissy asses and have some compassion? Heres an idea PETA have Pamela Anderson go talk to them up there if they don’t listen tell her to kick their ass. I’d pay to see that

  • jackie Spence says:

    My heart breaks for these poor innocent baby seals I am forced to tears everytime i see a picture or watch a video. I am Canadian and i do what i can to stop this bloody massacre from writing letters and donating money. Please do not hate the Canadian people for this most Canadians are warm kind people and are also disgusted by this. Please… we need your help to stop this horrible indecency please help us by educating the Canadian people and the REST OF THE WORLD. If there was not a demand for it this product the industry would never survive. This is a global injustice NOT just a Canadian tragedy.

  • NT says:

    “HATE” is a strong word. As a Canadian I am very disappointed at those who choose to hate a whole country because of the cruel acts of a few ignorant sealers. Canada has millions of animal lovers just as the US does. Just because wolves are shot in Alaska for example I don’t choose to hate all Americans! Come on people be reasonable.

  • Lorraine Melville says:

    Oh how brave of you big men running after defenseless seals and baby seals and beating them to death for what? NOTHING. No one needs this product. How do you sleep at night look at your children live with yourself? I wish we could turn the tables and have the seal chase the hunters and blugeon you to death… you sick bastards.

  • Jenn says:

    I have absolutely no love for the seal hunt wouldn’t want to participate in it would like to see it ended and human cultures evolve…but can’t jump on the wagon of “I hate CanadaJapanWhoever” because of the practices of a few of it’s citizens. One never knows if the generalized hating might turn off a fencesitter reading this blog and convince them that “all those” animal rights people are nut jobsbarbaricsicketc. and boycott us. Anyway I think Andrea said it best. Cheers and Happy New Years.

  • Andrà says:

    First I feel it is important to say that I am Canadian lactovegetarian and I do NOT support animal hide animal testing or any other animal derived product other than milk. It is my New Years resolution to stop supporting dairy and ultimately the veal market. Having informed myself regarding dairy thanks PETA excellent source for information! I dont think quitting dairy is going to be very difficult its gross. Now that you have an idea of who I am I want to say that I am appalled at this article. It is grotesque that such a thing is happening in my own Country. HOWEVER I am saddened by the only comment posted to this article to hate such an amazing Country for the beliefs and practice of few? Do Canadians post on every other article about how the hate the USA for factory farms and animal testing? I have yet to see it. Instead of ‘bashing’ one another why don’t we get together and have our voices heard. I’ve personally advocated for animals in several countries via emails and letters. Let’s make this a team effort and leave the political BS regarding race or location out of it. EVERY country has its shames. This happens to be one of Canada’s one that many like me have been trying to stop for some time. Cheers to my brothers and sisters out there who are working together for animal rights in EVERY Country.

  • natasha says:

    stop killing them sick low life scum bags

  • Lauren Bourke says:

    These “standards” are a complete joke. It is a huge shame on Canada that the seal slaughter continues to take place at all. I would certainly never even consider visiting Canada while such a vile practice is allowed.

  • Joshua Basquez says:

    I’m definitely against beating to death a seal with essentially a baseball bat. I understand hunting but this seems psychotic… lets go beat a defenseless animal to death with a bat.

  • imavegan says:

    i totally agree the need to stop

  • Allan says:

    First i thought Canada was great bcuz they had faux chicken at KFC and now i look at Canada in such a diff. way

  • Jaimie says:

    okay so i know thats it “wrong” to kill seals and though i am against it its also a big industry in canada and you cant just put an end to it that easily. im happy with the laws that canada has made i think its great progress! to roxanne I AM A PROUD CANADIAN!

  • Rex's mom says:

    I hate both Canada and Japan. Canada for the brutal terrorization and cruelty bashing the skulls of seals and Japan for their brutality killing whales and dolphins. I have vacationed in Canada in the past but never visited Japan. I will never go to Canada again and will never go to Japan. I will also never visit Alaska in this country because of the vicious Sarah Palin and her ongoing slaughter of moose caribou bear and her love of having beautiful wolves murdered by ruthless blood thirsty hunters from airplanes!

  • NT says:

    As a Canadian I am ashamed and appalled at the seal hunt and the stupid attempts to make it look “humane”. As a taxpayer I am even more outraged that instead of stopping the whole massacre and help people train for other more viable jobs we are now spending more tax dollars trying to make the hunt “look” humane and paying for helicopters that will do nothing but protect sealers from protesters. No Canadian politician has the balls to stop the hunt so I say BOYCOTT CANADA everyone! and let the government know why!

  • Aneliese says:

    Un oh roxannes comment is hating on me I’m Canadian so if you hate the country you must hate the people in it right? Reminds me of that website PETA Germany did or something like that. I too am very upset by the new “standards” that are in place now I’ll be writing to Stephen Harper shortly. Again.

  • Gina says:

    The picture included here says it all I have such intense hatred of despicable ‘seal hunters’. They are the worst of what we are. Anyone who could look these adorable defenseless animals in the eyes then club them to death should be eradicated. Any subhuman cabable of bludeoning an animal in such a horrific way makes me hate people. If I had to make a choice between the animals or people in my life it’d be my rescue pets. They bring more joy to me because of their uncomplicated innocence love loyalty than any screwedup person in my life has. Yes I have the love of family friends but it comes with a price. Many times tinged with jealousy back stabbing mood swings etc. Animals are just the opposite give them a little love they literally jump for joy give all their affection playfullness love. What you see is what you get. Though seals aren’t pets they are also voiceless victims unable to defend themselves against these monsters with clubs. They have have a desire to live to mate raise their cubs. To live a life free of human’s brutal profiteering. How could Canada allow this primitive atrocity to continue year after year? I too hate Canada believe the Prime Minister has the power to stop the seal massacre right now if he was a real leader. Instead he’s either a coward bowing down to pressure or just another cold hearted animal exploiter motivated by $$$.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    The usual Canadian government donothing spin and BS. Since the only seals that lie defenceless on the ice are baby seals anyway 97 of harp seals killed are 3 months or younger banning the hakapik on seals more than 1 year old is no ban at all. “Sealers must now feel seals’ heads to confirm that they are dead.”? Since 2003 by Canadian law sealers were always required to confirm a seal’s death before rushing off to bludgeon another one “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 shall manually check the skull or administer a blinking reflex test to confirm that the seal is dead before proceeding to strike another seal.” How many sealers perform the blinking reflex test? Very few if any. What a load of codswallop. Europe don’t get suckered in by this Canadian nothingnew con job.

  • roxanne says:

    how about stop killing them???? that will help the seals a lot. i hate Canada now and will never visit it again.