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Grey seals spared by thick sea ice

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80,924 Harp Seal Pups Were Killed by Off-Season Fishermen in Atlantic Canada

Sealer clubbing harp seal - IFAW
Sealer clubbing harp seal pup. Photo: IFAW

Off-season fishermen in Canada club and shoot harp seal pups each year in Canada in their nurseries on the ice floes. Almost all of the harp seals killed are pups between 3 weeks and 3 months of age. This slaughter is not only approved by Canada's government, the government promotes, subsidizes, and facilitates this slaughter.

Seal clubbing - photo HSUS - Brian Skerry
Sealer clubbing beater seal pup. Photo: HSUS / Brian Skerry

Wondering why these seals are killed?

Read about the Canadian seal 'hunt'.

What role do politics and propaganda play in the persistence of this atrocity?

Canada's government has a long history of funding and promoting the commercial seal 'hunt'. Read more about the government's role in sealing.

Are Inuit involved in the seal 'hunt'?

The commercial seal 'hunt' of Atlantic Canada is distinct from Inuit sealing. Inuit set out to kill seals from Nunavut and are not subject to the regulations (time frames, quotas) to which the off-season fishermen of Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands are subject. Most Inuit sealers target adult seals, consuming their flesh and using or selling their skins.

Some people refer to Inuit sealing as 'subsistence' sealing. This is debatable. Nevertheless, Inuit have an exemption from the EU ban on seal imports if the seal skins are obtained from their traditional killing; not if they target seal pups just for their fur, like the off-season Atlantic Canadian fishermen do. Read more about Inuit sealing.

Help stop the slaughter.

There are many ways to help, from simply making donations that allow us to educate people in Canada and around the world about what is happening, to organizing outreach and protest events in your town. Learn how you can help.



Cape fur seal pups are bludgeoned to death in Namibia

Cape fur seal pups - Francois Hugo
Cape fur seal pups rescued by Francois Hugo, who runs a rehabilitation center in South Africa

A small group of Namibian men separate a group of nursing Cape fur seal pups from their mothers each day in their coastal rookeries, from July 1 to mid-November. The seal pups are then corralled some distance from the herd and beaten and stabbed to death.

The daily massacre in the crowded seal reserves causes panic and chronic stress for the seals.

Cape fur seal clubbing
Clubbers killing Cape fur seals. Photo: AP

Cape fur seals have also suffered mass die-offs due to the poor availability of prey in many years.

Want to learn more about the Cape fur seal massacre?

Read more here.

Want to help stop the massacre?

Find out how here and at furseals.org.











Why is Canada's harp seal slaughter ecologically reckless?

Harp seal pup and mother on poor ice floes -DFO
Harp seal pup and mother on small ice floe in Gulf of St. Lawrence. Photo: Canada DFO

Harp seals are affected by climate change. Mother seals look for large sturdy ice floes on which to give birth to their pups, since the pups can't swim for weeks after being born. Climate change is making good ice floes hard to find.

Learn more here.


Are other species of seals in jeopardy in Canada?

Grey seal - photo Pierre Yves-Daoust
Grey seal. Photo:Dr. Pierre Yves-Daoust

Grey seals are also killed in Canada, but not in as great numbers as harp seals. Some grey seals are killed to sell their pelts or other body parts. Fishermen also seek to slaughter grey seals because they believe that these seals are reducing populations of fish they wish to catch.

Learn more about grey seal kills here.

Has anything changed over the years?

European Union

The seal 'hunt' has changed over the years, and several events have helped to reduce the level of killing.

The year 2009 was a major turning point. This is when the European Union banned imports of seal fur and other products made from seals.

After this announcement, markets for seal products plummeted and the killing declined.

Learn more about how bans on seal product imports have helped seals.


How can you help end this atrocity?

photo by Eric Baccega
Harp seal pup. Photo by Eric Baccega

Please join us in boycotting Canadian and Namibian seafood and tourism and spreading the word about the cruel slaughter.

We depend on your donations to spread the word, with outreach at fairs, billboards, tv commercials (like the one below), and printing and distributing leaflets.

Use our automated emails to contact Canada's leaders, Namibia's leaders, and others who can help stop the slaughter.

Read about more ways to help here.


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