This is a time of year when a great sadness builds inside of me and – as much as I try to just carry on happily – I can’t avoid it.
The sadness comes from thousands of miles away on the opposite coast from where I live. Every year between November and May, harp seals are slaughtered for their pelts in vast numbers. Hundreds of thousands of these beautiful creatures are killed for the fashion industry and the entire season is supported by the Canadian government. Most of the world condems it. Thousands – often millions – of people rise up against the seal hunt. Dozens of NGOs around the world are dedicated to ending the hunt (bless you all). Yet it continues for no good reason.
I am Canadian, and the annual sealing season makes me furious at my own country. Why do we do this?
It isn’t to sustain the sealers – they make only 5% of their annual income of the seals.
It isn’t out of neccessity – the pelts supply a needless fashion industry overseas.
Nor do the seals present a real threat to the fishing idustry as some claim. Their is no overpopulation of seals. They were nearly wiped out by overhunting in the ’50s and ’60s and any gain in population is merely a return to something near normal numbers.
This is a big, ugly issue but it really isn’t that complicated. The Canadian government needs to help east coast residents find a more humane, sustainable income to rely on so they don’t have to resort to this cruel slaughter every winter. And that income is obvious: eco-tourism. The east coast is stunningly beautiful. I’ve paid to visit there and will again. So would millions of others if only the government would promote the natural beauty of the land instead of exploiting nature in such a horrible way.
What can you do? Pick up Building an Ark and read Solution 84. We’ve listed all kinds of contacts and resources in there for being a lobbyist for the anti-sealing movement.
Or log onto one of the anti-sealing NGOs listed below and find out what you can do to help.
Whatever you choose to do for the harp seals, I thank you sincerely.