Wednesday, September 05, 2007

SEAL SLAUGHTER TAKES ITS TOLL

Author: Robert Strong

The idea of a glorious seal slaughter is what fuels several agencies to vigorously campaign against the exploitation that is already synonymous to tragic stories. And now, talks of baby pups being killed during the hunt are taking its toll according to some reports. It has clearly escalated from bad to worse.

And why do hunters just can't stop killing seals? Answer: For meat and fur.

The desire to earn profit just leads this industry to go towards the direction of greed. Sealing, based on stories, was an extremely powerful but dangerous business throughout history and many seal hunters apparently lost their lives while pursuing their sealing livelihood.

History accounts that seal hunt dates back 4,000 years ago. And it was the Spanish Basques, Portuguese, French, British and Acadians who began to exploit seals off present day Atlantic Canada. The French, however, were known to hunt harp seals in the St. Lawrence during the winter using rifles and nets. Since then, many developments transpired and one of the most unforgettable took place in 1723 when seal hunt was recorded an annual event. Also in the 18th century, large-scale commercial seal fishery began and became second in importance to cod fishery, reaching one-third of Newfoundland's total exports.

Today, with quotas and marine mammal regulations to discourage sealers to take advantage of their license to kill, the market has become more notorious. Hot issues are posted on the net everyday mostly claiming reports on over-killing and inhumane seal entrapments. And if there are protestors, there are also supporters; with no clear intentions that's for sure. Only one visible factor can be attached to this business, and that is sadly financial gain. Looking back, one could say that history without a doubt just keeps on repeating itself.

Not to be too pessimistic about this whole distressing occurrence, it can be mentioned that solutions may not be totally out of the question or far behind if there are simply open dialogues for all parties. The public has the right to know the figures and exact conditions about the seals. Just the fact that 40% of the seals are actually skinned alive is shocking enough to rouse debates. If possible, not unless all the accusations are true (that seal hunting is done for the purpose of greed and vanity), the Canadian government must be two, or more steps ahead of the others when it comes to resolutions, otherwise, the issues just won't stop revolving.

About the author: Robert Strong is an active environmentailist living in North Vancouver BC.

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