AR-News: FW: 'The cruellest in the world'

jim robertson wolfcrest at
Tue Dec 2 17:03:07 EST 2003

This article was published on December 1st in the Guardian (U.K.)
>'The cruellest in the world'
>Despite protests from animal rights activists, there is no sign that
>Canada's annual seal hunt will come to an end, says Anne McIlroy
>Monday December 1, 2003
>Animal rights activists describe Canada's annual seal hunt as the largest,
>and possibly cruellest, marine mammal hunt in the world. Each year,
>thousands of baby harp seals are clubbed or shot, usually for their pelts.
>Sealers on the country's east coast - especially in the province of
>Newfoundland - say that the hunt is an important and environmentally
>sustainable tradition helping 12,000 families to make ends meet in what is
>onne of Canada's poorest regions.
>For now, the hunt does not appear to be in any danger of abolition, despite
>anti-sealing campaigns in Canada, the US, the UK and throughout Europe.
>The Canadian government, which regulates the hunt, has increased the number
>of animals that can be hunted. It argues that the seal population, which
>last year stood at more than 5,000,000, is healthy.
>The new quota allows for 975,000 harp seals to be killed over three years.
>By May this year, around 270,000 harp seals had been hunted.
>But Rebecca Aldworth, seals campaigner for the International Fund for 
>Welfare, is doing her best to change that. She says most Canadians are
>unaware that sealers are still clubbing and shooting baby seals.
>In the 80s, protests involving celebrities such as actor Brigitte Bardot 
>to the protection of newborn harp seals with their pristine white fur.
>However, the creatures moult within two to three weeks of birth, and then
>become fair game. The federal fisheries department says that, by then, they
>have been weaned and are independent.
>Ms Aldworth says that not only are 95% of the animals killed under three
>months old, but that up to 42% of them are skinned alive and many carcasses
>are left to rot in the ice or water.
>She is convinced that, if Canadians understood what was happening, they
>would put pressure on the government to outlaw the cull. Part of the
>problem, she argues, is that footage of seals being killed is so gruesome
>few television networks will run it.
>However, stories about wounded animals left to die on the ice, and other
>cruelties, usually make the news at least once year, making it clear how
>difficult it is for the federal government to enforce rules on humane
>This leaves the seal hunters on the defensive, even though a royal
>commission following the protests of the 80s ruled that clubbing seals with
>a tool known as a hakapick was a humane way to kill them.
>The Canadian Sealers Association says that it is committed to a
>"responsible, respectful and renewable" industry, according to its 
>director, Tina Fagan. She says it is like any other industry that uses
>animals in consumer products.
>Most of the pelts are exported to Scandanavia, Russia and western Europe.
>The association's web site posts pictures of Newfoundland families that
>depend on the money they make from seals.
>"I am a sealer and my family has gone sealing for generation," says Wilfred
>Alyward. "Ever since the first settlers came to Newfoundland, sealing has
>been an important part of our history and our economy."
>But Ms Aldworth and other animal rights activists are also hoping that
>international pressure will save the seals. In November, they were boosted
>when a US senator introduced a bipartisan resolution urging the Canadian
>government to end the hunt.
>The resolution cited a 2001 study by a team of veterinarians, which found
>that the hunt failed to comply with animal welfare standards, and that
>regulations on humane killing were neither respected nor enforced.
>The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is presently preparing our ship the
>Farley Mowat for a campaign to intervene against the seal hunt in March and
>April of 2004.
>Captain Paul Watson
>Founder and President
>Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
>Director - Instituto Sea Shepherd Brasil
>National Director - Sierra Club
>Director - Farley Mowat Institute
>paulwatson at


Mandatory review, special permit for Makah hunt upheld


A federal appeals court has refused to reconsider its ruling that gray whale 
hunts by the Makah Tribe must be subject to a full environmental impact 
statement and a special permit for the whalers.

The tribe and the U.S. government had asked the full court to reconsider the 
ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We're quite happy with the ruling," attorney Eric Glitzenstein said 
yesterday in Washington, D.C. Glitzenstein represents the Fund for Animals, 
the Humane Society of the United States and other plaintiffs in the case.

"They did win, but it's not the end," said tribal attorney Jon Arum in 
Seattle, noting the court said it would accept further petitions for 
reconsideration. The court made its latest ruling last week.

"It's likely we'll file a second petition for a rehearing, and we'll see 
what the full court does with it," he said.

The government has not decided on its next step, said Brian Gorman, 
spokesman for the Seattle office of the National Marine Fisheries Service. 
That agency did a less extensive environmental assessment of the hunt. The 
court told the agency to do a more thorough study.

The defendants have 90 days to seek another review.

The appeals court panel ruled in December 2002 that fisheries service and 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, its parent agency in 
the Commerce Department, failed to comply with the National Environmental 
Policy Act when their assessment determined there would be no significant 
impact from the hunt.

The court found "substantial questions remaining as to whether the tribe's 
whaling plans will have a significant effect on the environment." It said a 
whale hunt would violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act and that the tribe 
needs a federal permit for it.

The panel also said it was concerned about the hunt's effect on Washington 
whale population and what precedent would be set -- especially for global 
commercial whaling -- if the hunt resumes.

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