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Author: Mrs Alaca

Dear Prime Minister Paul Martin:

A Cute Baby Seal
I write to you as a supporter of Sea Shepherd and along with millions of supporters worldwide to call your immediate attention to Stop the Seal Hunt that is currently being conducted on the east coast of Canada primarily off the shores of Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

In this "seal cull", small baby harp and hood seals are hunted down in their nurseries on the ice floes then systematically slaughtered with clubs, hakapiks, rifles and shotguns. Sanctioned by the government of Canada, and permitted by provincial authorities, up to 350,000 defenseless baby seals are killed annually in this manner. In addition, tens of thousands of these beautiful mammals are killed and not accounted for as they are clubbed or shot and slip into the ice to their deaths by drowning.

I oppose this hunt on both welfare and conservation grounds. The unsustainable slaughter of these newborns will one day leave the coasts of Canada bereft of the beauty these animals bring to your people. It is unclear whether these migrating populations of harp and hood seals can survive the intensity of this hunt that is poorly regulated, unsustainable and breathtakingly cruel.

The killing floes where the slaughter occurs are a devastating trail of endless red as sealers slaughter babies in front of their nursing mothers. Whether they bleed to death from a hakapik, club, or are shot with rifles and shotguns, the seals suffer an agonizing and terrifying death through these methods.

Although the hunt occurs largely out of public sight on the ice floes, crewmembers of Sea Shepherd have witnessed first hand the inhumanity of the killing methods used in Canada on these sentient marine mammals.

As you will be aware, seal watching on the ice floes is growing in eastern Canada, where it is not only a popular activity for locals and tourists alike, but is also a financially viable alternative to butchering baby seals. No public relations campaign within Canada can hide what is occurring on the killing floes, even if the public rarely sees what happens.

The ‘Seal Hunt’ turns Canada’s pristine wilderness into a bloodbath, and as such, are a direct threat to a real and valuable seal watching industry that is growing worldwide, along with a growing respect and care for marine life.

This hunt is an archaic and traditional practice that has to be heavily subsidized by the federal Canadian government in order to be sustained. In some communities, the seal hunt is maintained merely to satisfy the needs of a few fishermen who supplement their incomes from this brutal practice.

Your Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) insists that the seals must die so that cod populations can increase. The DFO’s position is that the harp seal is a major predator of the cod, yet there is little scientific justification for this position.

When the first European explorers landed on the East coast of Canada there was no shortage of cod, and there were an estimated 30 million seals. Today, there are under 5 million and numbers continue to decline.

With cod populations at less than 1% of pre-Columbian levels, and with the collapse of the cod industry, the seal has become the scapegoat for the excesses of the Canadian and foreign drag trawler fleets that plundered the Grand Banks for decades, and left very little behind.

This bureaucratic ordered destruction of the seals has no place in the 21st Century.

We are calling for an end to the baby harp and hood seal hunt. The public outcry that occurs worldwide whenever the images from this slaughtering of seals are publicized will not go away.

The dedication of individuals committed to ending this barbaric practice will not go away.

Sea Shepherd is working to raise the awareness of the people of the world and in particular in Canada, most of whom do not realize that this hunt still takes place within their country. And, who are outraged when they learn their tax dollar is supporting this hunt.

I appreciate your immediate attention to my concerns.

Yours truly,

Mrs Alaca
Istanbul, Turkey

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