On Saturday Canada issued new regulations for its annual seal slaughter, banning the skinning of live seals and forbidding the use of the spiked weapon called a hakapik on seals over one-year-old. Unfortunately, most seals killed in the hunt are under a year old so the law will not alter the cruel deaths many seals face each year.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has confronted and interfered with the seal hunters the past several years, issued a statement condemning the Canadian efforts as merely a reaction to the European Union’s threat to ban all inhumanely slaughtered seal products.
The hunters themselves fear the ban because they say using firearms to kill seals will result in more blood and thus more negative press and gory photos. The sealers will be required to crush the skulls and bleed out the animals for a minute before skinning them.
Canada has also announced that it will be enforcing the regulations with helicopter-mounted cameras and officials watching from the ground. However, Captain Paul Watson believes these officials will exist more to prevent the harassment of the sealers by activist groups like Sea Shepherd.
A spokesperson for the International Fund for Animal Welfare also criticized the rule change because it will still allow seals to be shot while in the water, where the hunters cannot guarantee a quick death.Photo Courtesy of Sea Shepherd