Seal: the massacres, killings and hunting of seals in Canada
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WHEN WILL MAN BECOME A HUMAN BEING?
The massacres of the seal
“There are about 30 species of seals, which generally live on the coasts of the polar and sub-polar regions of the planet or, in some cases, in some temperate areas. About fifteen of these species are hunted, for a total of 15-16 million specimens. The seal hunt it is practiced all year round, but the hunting season varies according to the region and the species. Canada, Greenland and Namibia account for approximately 60% of the 900,000 seals hunted each year. Other countries concerned include Iceland, Norway, Russia and the United States and, within the European Union, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom. "
Most of the hunted seals belong to five species:
- Arctocephalus pusillus - Cape fur seal also known as South African fur seal and Australian fur seal (in Englishcape fur seals)
- Pusa hispida- ringed seal (in English ringed seals)
- Halichoerus grypus- alichero or gray seal (in English gray seals)
- Cystophora cristata - crested seal or cap seal (in Englishhooded seals)
- Phoca groenlandica - the greenland seal (in English harp seals)
(Cystophora cristata) - Note 1
It is mainly the species Phoca groenlandica - the greenland seal (in English harp seals) and the Cystophora cristata - crested seals or hooded seals to be hunted again pups.
The country that contributes the most to the seal slaughter is Canadawhich, for many years now, has been killing thousands of puppies. In 2007 the quota set by the Canadian government was 270,000 baby seals while for 2008 it was raised to 275,000 out of an estimated population (by the Canadian government) of about 5,500,000 seals, a quota considered "low" compared to the requests from the Canadian Sealers Association.
Commercial seal hunting in Canada was closed in 1984 but reopened in 1994 and continues to this day.
Since 2003, over 1.5 million baby seals have been killed and autopsies performed on many bodies have shown that many have been skinned alive.
Why is the seal killed? The reasons for the killing of baby seals are mainly for their furs and secondly for their genitals which are highly prized in Asian markets as they are considered aphrodisiacs. The rest of the animal is not used but left to rot on ice. Some make the seal oil sold as food but it is labeled "sea oil" so that consumers don't know what they are buying. Over 95% of seals killed are no more than three months old as their fur is more valuable.
About a third of the world trade in seal products either passes through or ends up in the European Union market and a good chunk ends up in Russia and China.
The Canadian government, in the face of countless protests over these massacres, said that the hunting technique has been improved, in order to make the kills more humane (!) that is to say: first give a blow to the head then check that the skull is smashed and then cut the arteries.
This "humane" technique was developed by a commission of independent veterinarians set up in 2005 to study the problem. Now, as seal hunting has become "responsible and sustainable", the protests and measures that have taken place make no sense. European Union intends to undertake in blocking the commercial traffic of seal derivatives!
At the G8 meeting in July 2008 the Canadian government has stated that Canada is unwilling to accept international restrictive measures relating to trade and trade in seal products.
Many environmental associations and many people of good will have and are working to try to block the trade to the destination countries of the skins and derivatives of seals in order to try to stop the slaughter of these animals. all unheard.
On 11 September 2008 the European Parliament with the favor of 424 deputies approved a written declaration in which a moratorium is made on the marketing of all products derived from seals (the typical Canadian Arctic seal and the Russian crested Cistophorus) which should soon become a European law ensuring, at the time same, that this measure has no effect on traditional hunting (eg that practiced by the Inuit for subsistence purposes). The European Commission has also asked the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) for a scientific opinion on the most appropriate way of killing to reduce unnecessary pain, distress and suffering. The group concluded, among other things, that seals are sentient mammals capable of feeling pain, distress, fear and other forms of suffering and that there is a need for monitoring of the seal hunt by a body independent of industrial and commercial interests. so that the hunt is open for inspection.
The Commission has therefore made the following proposal for a regulation: "prohibiting marketing within the European Union, importing into its territory or exporting products derived from seals. The proposal aims to ensure that products obtained from seals do not reach the European market from seals killed and skinned with cruelty, stress and suffering. The trade in these products can only be allowed if there are guarantees that the hunting techniques used respect high standards of animal welfare and that the animals do not suffer unnecessarily. "(full text )
Now, there is no doubt that this is a great step forward. However, it remains very uncertain whether this hunt can continue as the bill would allow for exceptions to killings if they are done with "human criteria".
Robbie Marsland, British director IFaw (International Fund for Animal Welfare) in an interview with The Parliament.com, among other things, he states first and foremost that no one depends on the hunting shutdown system to earn a living. Hunting for baby seals is only 0.5% of GDP in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, where about 90% of hunting takes place. The number of seal populations are declining due to the melting of the ice due to global warming. He further argues that the IFAW is not opposed to subsistence seal hunting as is the case among Inuit populations who hunt a very small number of seals that are almost exclusively Pusa hispida instead Phoca groenlandica is Cystophora cristata and that use the whole animal. Therefore, there is a significant difference between Inuit hunting and commercial hunting which is indirectly subsidized by the Canadian government by providing icebreakers and subsidizing delegation trips to Europe in the face of growing opposition to this hunt and the aired closing hypothesis. European markets for the sale of seal derivatives.
However, the proposed ban allows for exemptions from hunting that meet certain criteria for killing seals. The IFAW reads' We are very concerned about this shortcoming, 'Mr Marsland said.' Only a total ban can prevent these large-scale and inherently cruel products from entering European markets. (..) The conditions make it impossible to correctly control or apply the so-called methods of human killing ».
As a result of this measure, the prices of seal furs have already fallen on the international market by 60%: good news.
Countries that have already taken action against seal hunting I'm Belgium, Netherlands is Croatia which already provide for a total ban on the import of products derived from seals. There Germany and the Czech Republic legislative procedures have begun to ban seal products. The United States has banned its import since 1972. In Italy on 28 January 2010 the Italian Senate approved the Amendments to the law of 20 July 2004, n. 189, in application of regulation (EC) no. 1007/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 16 September 2009, which establishes the prohibition for Italy to trade seal products. A small step forward.
In Canada it is not possible to protest against this state of affairs, in fact, if you do not have special permits, it is not possible to speak or show images on what happens under penalty of imprisonment and very high fines.
I point this out to you video made by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for which there are no words. supports their work and invites everyone to support them for having dedicated their lives to the defense of animals.
I close this article with this image because it is too full of blood, with a hope: that men will finally become human beings.
Dr. M.G. Davoli
Online bibliographic sources:
- (en) Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (from which the photos were also taken - unless otherwise indicated)
- (en) OIPA (International organization for the protection of animals)
- (en) Canadian seal hunt
- (en) IFaw (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
- (en) EFSA (European Food Safety Authority)
- (en - it) European Commission (EU European Commission)
- Original photograph courtesy Marine Mammal Stranding Center
- Original photograph courtesy Woods Hole Science Aquarium, NOAA Fisheries
Seals, an announced massacre
105,000 seals killed in Canada since the beginning of the year. Here are the reasons for a hunt that arouses perplexity and dismay.
Every year the "massacre" is repeated. The updated tally of seals killed in Canada in 2005 alone is over 105,000. The final budget for 2004 amounted to 353,000 individuals. And to stop this massacre, the IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), is conducting a pressing information campaign. Here are some data to get an idea of what is happening.
The Canadian government (Department of Fisheries and Ocean) authorized the culling of 975,000 Greenland seals (Phoca groenlandica) in the three-year period 2003-2005: the greatest massacre of these pinnipeds. And so the pack, the immense icy expanse that until the beginning of March was dotted with white wads, the newborn seals, is now dotted with trails of blood and abandoned carcasses. The kill rate established for 2005 is set at 319,500 specimens.
Why this massacre? According to the Canadian government, the surplus seals damage the fishing, “stealing” too many more cod, hunting constitutes an important source of livelihood for local populations.
Numerous researches disprove both claims. Cods make up 3% of the diet of seals, which also feed on predatory cod fish. Overexploitation of fishing is, on the other hand, a well-known fact. It is estimated that the hunters employed in this activity on the island of Newfoundland, where 93% of hunting takes place, are less than 4,000 out of 500,000 inhabitants and that the proceeds from this activity constitute less than 0.1% of the domestic product. gross of the island.
Money on the skin of others. Substantial profits are instead ensured to the companies that transform the hides. A more profitable alternative could be the development of a tourism where seals are an asset to be admired, the SealWatch. It is the same path that Iceland is trying to take with whales: replacing hunting with whale watching, according to some economic studies, more profitable.
The complaints of the observers also concern the violence and cruelty of the killing methods: a "traditional" harpoon, the hakapik, is struck on the head of the seal firearms are rarely used. Although the rules in force require to ascertain the death of the individual, before moving on to the next one, or worse, before skinning him, often this does not happen: hunters, if they want to earn, must be very fast.
Cruel hunting. Although the season remains open from November 15th to May 15th, it is especially from March that hunting is particularly intense: in this period there are puppies and the climatic conditions are more favorable. Eyewitnesses tell of seals left to agonize on ice, and veterinary research found that 42% of the bodies examined had little or no fractures - most likely these seals were conscious when skinned.
Puppies are the most sought after: their fur is softer and they are easier to catch. At birth they have a pure white coat and feed on their mother's high-fat milk. At 12 days of age, when the hair begins to change and take on gray-silver tones, they are abandoned by their mother who goes in search of a mate to mate. The little ones are not yet able to swim or feed, but the fat accumulated during breastfeeding allows them to grow. At this age they can be hunted: for the Canadian government they are now adults. More than 95% of the seals killed are pups aged between 12 days and 3 months. The parts used are the fat and the skin, the meat is not good and has no value, so the bodies are left on the pack.
Risk of extinction? The alarm raised by the associations also concerns the dangers deriving from such a drastic reduction of the population, and the possibility of bringing it to the risk of extinction. Research would be needed to have a proper abatement plan and scientific studies on the ecological impact of such an intervention.
Italy is one of the largest transformers in the world of seal products (furs, leather goods, clothing), in Europe we are second only to the Danes. In the last 3 years, the import of seal products has been 8.4 million euros, with an export of around 16.2 million euros. LAV (Lega Antiviviszione) is collecting signatures, currently 250,000, to ask the Italian government to ban the import, processing and sale of seal products in our country. As has already happened in the United States, where the ban has been in force since 1972 with the Marine Mammal Act, designed to protect all marine mammals. Currently Mexico, Holland and Belgium are moving in the same direction.
(News updated on 2 May 2005)
Because the slaughter of baby seals does not stop.
Greenland, Canada, Scandinavia, Labrador and Russia, in the North Seas, in Iceland, in the Faer Oer Islands (Danish possession), in the Shetland (British), the hunt for baby seals continues. 600 thousand specimens killed every year throughout the Arctic Circle.
Officially, only the governments of Canada and Norway admit to
authorize the killing of hundreds of thousands of
seals. But there will always be a large gap between
official figures and killings practiced.
In Canada, the killings plan planned by the Canadian government
it was 275,000 seals in 2000. Now it's over 320,000.
Increasing, year after year.
Of the more than 320,000 seals, three out of four are under a year old
of age. Baby seals. Easier to kill:
they are practically "bags of fur" that move
awkward. You just need to find them and "pick them up" with the ice ax
among the snows. Ready and ready. The only drawback is that the
mother (adult seals can reach two meters of
length) could be around, and attack, throwing
desperate screams, the human hunter. Which risks a few bites. There
they are photographic evidence.
Hunting necessary for the survival of populations
indigenous? It is not so. Of the more than 320,000 seals
killed in Canada every year, those hunted by the populations
2,000 premises for "survival purposes".
An attempt was made to officially justify these massacres
under the guise of scientific research. The "tests" would be aimed at
experiment which killing method is most effective
and "human", the blows to the head, pickaxe, harpoon, and
According to a Resolution of the European Parliament (B4-0053 / 96),
literally, "hunters use killing methods
particularly cruel ”, and are guilty of“ skinning the puppies
of seals often while they are still alive ”.
Governments retort: “Seal hunting is necessary
steady decrease in fish stocks“.
But it is the massive hyper-fishing in
cause resource depletion
fish in the northern seas! If the attention doesn't
will focus on overfishing, the problem is not
it will never solve, indeed it will be more and more serious.
More and more hypocritically,
there being less fish, it will be necessary
kill more and more seals. More and more puppies.
Seals, WTO: yes to the European ban on trade in seal products
Important victory for the seals: the WTO yesterday concluded the dispute initiated by the two main countries involved in the commercial hunting of seals, Canada and Norway, with the historic decision of the Appeal body of the WTO, which confirms "the European Union has the right to ban trade in seal products on the basis of Europeans' legitimate moral concerns regarding animal welfare ”.
The European ban on trade in products resulting from the commercial hunting of these animals it will therefore remain in force. A historic decision that puts an end to a long and complex dispute and that can lead the way for other sectors of economic exploitation of animals.
Last November the World Trade Organization had already ruled the right of the European Union to protect the concerns of its community in relation to well-being animal, and in the specific case of ill-treatment and violent killings practiced against millions of seals and theirs puppies protection translated with Regulation (EC) 1007/2009 in the closure of the European market.
After 5 years of litigation, courtrooms, production of documentation and evidence to condemn the barbarism committed towards seals (it should be remembered that in addition to the WTO proceedings, there were also two appeals to the European Court of Justice and also concluded in favor of seals), today the word "end" is finally written.
In recent years, the EU ban has already saved over 2 million seals and led to the collapse of the market for the products deriving from these animals (especially furs, but also meat, fat). And Italy had an important active role, in fact it was one of the countries that had introduced a stop (in the form of a moratorium) on the introduction of seal, whose position together with that of other countries, such as Belgium and the Netherlands, has actually led to EU legislation.
We are proud to have been on the front line against the greatest massacre of marine mammals never made by the human being. We participated in expeditions to Canada to document the massacres in progress, organized national mobilizations with hundreds of our activists engaged in Italian squares, demonstrated in front of the European Commission, participated in the complex work of an international network in collaboration with the advocacy of the EU Commission and today we can say that we have achieved a truly extraordinary result!
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Canada: seal hunt closed, Italy involved
The seal hunt in Canada (Gulf of San Lorenzo) ended a few days in advance: the three-year quota set by the Canadian government in 975,000 baby seals to be killed in 2003-2005 has been largely reached with the last 330,000 (approximately) puppies killed a few days ago. LAV, witness on the glaciers of Canada, together with IFAW, of the umpteenth massacre of seals, denounces the cruelty of this activity with international economic implications, through the unpublished images of the latest hunting expeditions: skinned seals still alive, puppies slaughtered by blows repeated hakapik, well organized hunters with numerous and equipped ships and snowmobiles.
Also this year there is no trace of the Inuit indigenous people who - according to the Canadian government - would practice hunting for sustenance. In fact, in Canada the number of seals killed by indigenous peoples is an insignificant fraction of the total killings practiced for the international trade in skins, oil and seal fat. In 2004, for example, the total amount of Canadian indigenous catches was 5803 seals which corresponds to 1.6% of the annual catch and Canadian quotas of seals that can be killed do not include the catches made by the populations. indigenous.
To understand the extent of the devastating human impact on the Northwest Atlantic seal population, it is necessary to go beyond the statistics provided by Canada and Greenland, which indicate 2,387,618 seals hunted on dry land in the decade 1995-2004. . In order to estimate the total number of seals killed each year, we must also take into consideration the injured animals that are dispersed under the ice and in the water and the seals that are trapped in fishermen's nets. In conclusion, the total number of seals killed is probably a few hundred thousand higher than the official figures.
"To stem this massacre, it is important that the Italian government do its part by deciding to ban all trade in raw and finished seal products, thus avoiding continuing to have an economic weight in the new three-year plan for seals to kill, which the Canadian government is preparing to establish - declares Roberto Bennati, LAV manager of the European campaigns and witness of the seal hunt in Canada - Italy is in fact the second largest European country involved in the trade of seal products after Denmark and legally trades skins raw and tanned, articles and accessories of clothing, oil and seal fat. In 2003 our country imported 15,659 skins and exported 7,688 also exported articles and clothing accessories for a value of 4.3 million euro. LAV is preparing to deliver to the Italian Government more than 250,000 signatures of citizens who ask to ban imports and exports of these products, accepted through a petition that can be signed by 30 June on the LAV web site www.infolav.org ".
Italy is the second largest European country involved in the trade of seal products after Denmark: the LAV denounces this which, with a popular petition, has collected about 100,000 signatures to ask the Italian government to prohibit any form of trade in skins, furs and seal derivatives. The current legislation in Italy and in Europe allows, in fact, the trade of leather products, garments and items of clothing and seal oil of all species present in Canada, with the exception of those with "white coat" or "mantle gray blue ". And just yesterday the hunt for seals resumed in Canada, the largest and most cruel massacre of marine mammals in the world, with particular violence and intensity: about 320,000 cubs of just two weeks old will be exterminated. The States that so far have officially taken a position against the trade in products derived from these animals are the United States (they have prohibited, with the "Marine Mammal Act", the import, export, sale and possession of any product derived from marine mammals) Belgium (has decided to establish a ban on the import and sale of sealskins) Great Britain which has expressed a formal condemnation.
The Foreign Affairs Commission of the Italian Parliament has already approved two Resolutions that commit our Government to enact rules prohibiting the trade in seal products. "In the past, Italy has already sided in favor of animals by issuing an Ordinance, transformed into law in 2004, which banned the import and marketing of cat and dog skins. We hope that now the Italian government will follow the choice of civilization already undertaken in terms of pet fur, and follow the example of friendly countries like the United States or Belgium, putting an end to this unjustified and reprehensible trade "- concludes Sonny Richichi, president of LAV. [GB]