30 March 2005

Epic protests mark the start of seal cull

The world's largest cull of seals began on Tuesday in the Gulf of St Lawrence in Canada, targeting 325 000 seal pups.

Dozens of animal rights activists also arrived at the ice floes to demonstrate against the controversial hunt, arguing that many of the pups are clubbed to death and often skinned while still alive.

The activists also demanded a worldwide ban on seal products, following a recent similar such ban in the United States.

According to the government, the annual hunt supports fishermen in the Province of Newfoundland, which has little income from industry. The government also maintains that the number of seals has increased to a point that they were affecting cod levels in the North Atlantic.

Ottawa has allowed more than a record one million seals to be killed in the hunt in the past three years.

The furs, which are harvested just as the pups' colour changes from white to grey, have increased tenfold in price over the past five years and are currently traded at between $70 and $100. The hunters also sell the oil which is produced from the animals.

Most of the pelts and seal products are sold to China and Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway, which have not protested against the controversial hunting methods used in the annual event in the past.

Rebecca Aldworth, the head of the organisation Canada Wildlife, pointed out on Monday that 95 percent of the seals are killed before they reach three months of age.

A number of animal rights organisation have called for a boycott of all Canadian marine products, including fish and crabs.


Post a Comment

<< Home