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Seals and Sea Lions: Scoundrels or Scapegoats? Film Released



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Harpseals.org is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Charity Working to End the Slaughter of Harp Seals in Canada


Sealers killed over 31,764 harp seal pups in Canada, most in just a week and a half. That figure is the "landed value." Some are wounded and slip away, only to die later after prolonged suffering.

This is despite the poor sea ice this year, that probably caused many pups to drown before they could swim.

Last year, Canadian fishermen killed over 39,922 harp seal pups.

Harp seal pup survivor looks out at slaughtered seal pup carcasses. Photo: Stewart Cook, IFAW.


Please contact Canadian officials to demand that they call off the seal "hunt" due to the high likelihood that many pups will drown this year, before they even learn to swim.


The DFO reported that 39,922 seals were "landed" last year. That means more were killed. Some are not recovered by sealers but die later.

This year, the ice was almost non-existent throughout the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the pupping season. In 2022, there was also poor sea ice in the Gulf, and the DFO in the Magdalen Islands, the usual focal point of sealing in the Gulf, would not disclose the number of seal pups killed in the Gulf. This means few seal pups were killed in this phase. However, many may have died from drowning. More and more, seal mothers are pupping further to the north due to the lack of sea ice; but those who venture into their usual pupping areas and give birth may not be able to find sea ice sturdy enough to withstand windy weather conditions and higher than normal temperatures.

In 2021, the ice for pupping in the Gulf was better than in many recent years. A large mass of ice floes on the northwest side of the Magdalen Islands in March could have supported many harp seal pups. It also could have made for easy access to the pups for Magdalen Islands sealers. Thankfully, the ice shifted, leaving sealers empty-handed. Read more here.

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.


When are harp seals killed?

Canada's harp seal 'hunt' takes place over several weeks, usually starting in late March or April and ending in May. Most seals are killed in the first two weeks though. The pace of killing is fast. If sealers find a thick pan of ice, they will club or shoot every seal on it as fast as they can. Learn more about the Canadian seal 'hunt' here.

Are harp seals affected by climate change?

In many years, thousands to tens of thousands of harp seal pups drown before they are able to swim, due to a lack of sturdy sea ice. In 2021, the sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a major pupping area, was at record low levels during the pupping time in February. This means that most of the seal pups who were born on the ice in that area probably drowned.


Canadian fishermen are pushing for more sealing - in fact, for culling seals

On both the west and east coasts of Canada, commercial fishermen are calling for culls or increased "harvests" of seals and sea lions because they say these animals are overpopulated and are eating too many fish. They claim the pinnipeds are causing declines in fish populations or preventing depleted stocks from recovering and are interfering with their fishing activities.

Please visit our website and click on the link there to watch our new film, "Seals and Sea Lions: Scoundrels or Scapegoats?"



This slaughter is not only approved by Canada's government, the government promotes, subsidizes, and facilitates this slaughter. 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'. The government agency responsible for managing the seal 'hunt', the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, has a history of using seals as scapegoats when they failed to manage fisheries well. Read more about the government's role in sealing.



Wondering why these seals are killed?

Atlantic Canadian off-season fishermen choose to go off seasonal unemployment insurance early to kill harp seal pups for their fur. But there's more to it than this. Politics and scapegoating seals are factors, too. Read more about the Canadian seal 'hunt' here.

Are sealers Inuit / First Nations?

Those who kill the seal pups are off-season commercial fishermen in Atlantic Canada. This is distinct from Inuit sealing and occurs in different regions. The commercial fishermen club and shoot harp seal pups each year in their nurseries on the ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. Almost all of the harp seals killed are pups between 3 weeks and 3 months of age.


Watch these videos and learn about pinnipeds, what is happening to them, and how you can help.

Our short film "Seals and Sea Lions: Scoundrels or Scapegoats?

A TV commercial that we aired in Canada in 2018

whitecoat harp seal pup - Shutterstock image

A TV commercial that we aired in the U.S. previously





Cape fur seal pups are bludgeoned to death in Namibia from July 1 to mid-November

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

Namibia's Cape fur seal massacre is brutal and environmentally reckless

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.

Clubbers killing Cape fur seals. Photo: Earthrace Conservation

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.


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