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Fast Facts about Canada's Seal Hunt

It's a cruel slaughter.

      Fully 95% of the harp seals killed over the past five years have been under three months of age. At the time of slaughter, many of these defenseless pups had not yet eaten their first solid food or taken their first swimóthey literally had no escape from the "hunters."

      Video evidence clearly shows sealers routinely dragging conscious pups across the ice with boathooks, shooting seals and leaving them to suffer in agony, and even skinning seals alive.

      In 2001, an independent team of veterinary experts studied Canada's commercial seal hunt. Their report concluded that in 42% of the cases they examined, the seal did not show enough evidence of cranial injury to even guarantee unconsciousness at the time of skinning.

It's a reckless cull.

      Over the past three years, nearly a million seal pups have been slaughtered for their fur.

      The last time sealers killed this many sealsóin the 1950s and '60sóclose to two-thirds of the harp seal population was wiped out.

      Scientists around the world have condemned the Canadian government's management plan for harp seals as reckless, unsustainable, and irresponsible.

The seal hunt brings in very little money.

      Even in Newfoundland, where 90% of sealers live, income from sealing accounts for less than one-tenth of 1% of the province's economy.

      Sealers are fishermen who engage in several fisheries throughout the year, and sealing revenues account for only about one twentieth of their total incomes.

Killing seals may harm fish stocks.

      About 3% of a harp seal's diet consists of commercially fished cod. However, harp seals also consume many significant predators of cod, including squid. Removing harp seals may mean an increase in cod predators.

      The Canadian government clearly states there is no evidence that killing harp seals will help fish stocks recover, and scientists have expressed concerns that culling seals may in fact impede the recovery of ground fish stocks.

If you oppose the seal hunt, you're in good company.

      Polling shows 85% of Canadians believe seals under one year of age should be protected from hunting (Angus-Reid, 1997).

      In European Union countries where polling has been conductedóthe United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Netherlandsóclose to 80% of people who are aware of the Canadian seal hunt oppose it (MORI, 2002).

      Polling shows 79% of American voters oppose the Canadian seal hunt (Penn, Schoen & Berland, 2002).