Canadian Seal Hunt Opens
The 2013 Canadian seal hunt opened this week off Newfoundland. Three-week-old seals are being hooked through the face while alive and conscious, then clubbed to death. The Canadian government continues to support commercial sealing even though it is not an economically viable industry In 2012, the landed value of the commercial seal hunt was C$1.6 million, and to proceed, the hunt needed a C$2 million government loan. Another C$3.6 million bailout was announced for 2013. Since 1995, more than C$34 million has been spent trying to keep Canada’s commercial seal hunt alive.
To date, 34 countries have banned trade in seal products, and the income generated by the hunt is near an all-time low. Sealer participation is dropping; 400-700 sealers are actively involved, despite the government’s claims that 14,000 sealers rely on the hunt. Prices of seal pelt have also fallen to $20-$25, and for many sealers the hunt just isn’t worth it.
So why continue to support an economically unviable industry with a dismal future? It is politics; political parties that fail to support the sealing industry believe it would cost them votes in the Atlantic Provinces for being “anti-Newfoundland”.
It is time for the Canadian government to admit that their financial investment in the sealing industry hasn’t paid off, and it is inappropriate to continue wasting the tax dollars of Canadian citizens to prolong the death of a despised industry.