Seal Clubbing Season Starts Amid Controversy
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
(SNN)Canada, long seen as the kinder, gentler America, has given the go ahead for the largest seal hunt in decades. This has angered many animal rights activists, but has pleased the few but enthusiastic seal clubbing devotees.
The hunt would hope to cull some 320,000 seals.
Tuesday, a government spokesman in Ottawa announced that the seal hunt would last two months. The seal population is reaching record levels as commercial fish stocks are vanishing, the authorities say. The hunt would hope to cull some 320,000 seals.
To discourage the Canadian government, animal rights activists have planned a boycott of Canadian seafood. "I think that they [the Canadian government] are feeling the heat... they can see the really serious implication of going ahead with the hunt this year," said Pat Ragan of the Humane Society of the United States.
The harp seal herd is currently sitting at five million, the largest it has ever been
However, Mark Tracey of the Seal Clubbing Association of Toronto, SCAT, believes the ecological balance is not always clear cut. Tracey summed up the philosophy of his organization in one simple phrase: “We just like to hit the seals with big sticks, eh?”
The harp seal herd is currently sitting at five million, the largest it has ever been and large scale hunts are likely to be a regular occurrence until the population drops to four million. Many have pointed out to activists that this is the least cruel method to decrease the population size. If the herd continues to grow at its current rate, there will not be enough fish available for feeding. Cold and hungry, the seals will have to turn to cannibalism.
One official told us: "We have to do our job responsibly. We are looking at the middle ground, taking into account conservation and the need to give a baby seal really good clubbing."