Canada’s seal slaughter targets defenseless baby seals. Canadian government kill reports show that 97 percent of the seals killed in recent years have been less than three months old, while most have been just one month old or less at the time of slaughter. Veterinary experts argue that Canada’s commercial seal slaughter is inherently inhumane because of the extreme, uncontrolled environment in which the killing operates and the speed at which the killing must occur.
Global markets for seal products are closing. Canada’s two largest trading partners – the United States and the EU – have both prohibited trade in seal products. Mexico and Croatia have also ended their trade in seal products, and animal protection groups the world over are urging more nations to follow suit.
The Canadian sealing industry achieved record low economic returns in both 2009 and 2010. While the industry brought in roughly $1 million in each of these years, the Canadian government estimates the cost of enforcement at the slaughter to be up to $3.6 million annually. In addition, the Canadian government has invested millions of dollars in promoting the sealing industry internationally and working to block prohibitions on seal product trade.
A boycott of Canadian seafood, that will continue in the US and elsewhere until the seal slaughter ends for good, has already cost the Canadian economy many times the value of the sealing industry. More than 5,500 establishments and 650,000 people have pledged to avoid some or all Canadian seafood until the seal hunt ends for good. Recent polling conducted by Ipsos Reid shows that two-thirds of Newfoundland sealers holding an opinion are concerned about the impact of the boycott.