- Canadian Parliament.
Hunters are set to defy protests and slaughter more than a quarter of a million seals to supply an international trade in furs and health supplements that will soon target Britain's shops.
Sealers are set to defy international protests by clubbing shooting more animals than they have for decades, leaving the Atlantic sea ice off Newfoundland stained red.
The Canadian government has issued licences to shoot or club to death 275,000 harp seals, almost all pups only two weeks old.
The massacre has returned with a vengeance in the past four years following 20 years of strict controls imposed after protests. The two-week-old pups are prized for their soft white fur.
The hunters have vowed to proceed despite the fact that the seal population has already been devastated by global warming, which has melted the ice floes on which the mammals give birth. The lack of ice means that the seals have been forced to give birth in the water, where their pups drown.
Worldwide horror at the hunt led to a boycott of seal fur by most fashion houses and the European Union imposed a ban on certain seal products. To appease animal welfare actitivists, the sealers now try to kill the animals first by shooting them with high-powered rifles, but always carry a club to smash the skulls of any seals that are still alive. However, one group of international vets found that four out of five sealers do not check whether seals are dead before skinning them.
After years of being taboo, seal fur is making a comeback. Last year the Louis Vuitton collection shown in Paris featured coats,tunics and pinafore dresses made from sealskin. Donatella Versace recently featured sealskin in her first collection.
The number of seals being killed has quadrupled in the past four years, and Canadian government scientists estimate the population is declining again by about 1 per cent a year. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans' own documents assert that these forms of commercial trade encourage illegal sealing.
Seal hunting is clearly an industry from another century, and should have been relegated to the history books.
I oppose the killing of seal pups that are just a few weeks old. I am very troubled that many seals are killed solely so their penises may be sold to the aphrodisiac market. I find the marketing of seal oil as a "cure-all" natural health product to be completely objectionable.
I believe Canada should end the commercial hunt for seals altogether.