They Shoot Babies, Don’t They? The Canadian Seal Hunt    Part 2
 
They Shoot Babies, Don’t They? The Canadian Seal Hunt  Part 2
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The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

The sealers go out onto the ice-floes. And at the time the seal pups are born and they’re helpless; they can’t swim, they can’t get away. And they simply club them over the head and skin them. And sometimes they’ve skinned them alive. We’ve seen that.

This is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television where today we present part one of a two-part series about the merciless brutality of the Canadian seal hunt. Two experts will share with us their personal experiences of witnessing the mass murder of baby seals in their nurseries.

Ian Robichaud, the founder of Harpseals.org, is dedicated to putting a permanent end to seal hunts. Using mass media and grassroots activism, Harpseals.org seeks to raise awareness about the atrocities committed by the seal industry. Since 2006, Supreme Master Ching Hai has provided the courageous group with donations totaling US$30,000 to further its mission.

Captain Paul Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace International, and the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as well as the recipient of the prestigious Shining World Hero Award from Supreme Master Ching Hai has devoted the past 30 years to protecting and defending marine life, including seals.

Over 90% of the seal hunt occurs off the coastline of Newfoundland in Canada. And then there is another small area called the Magdalen Islands, and they’re in Quebec (Canada). So this is all around the Gulf of St. Lawrence in eastern Canada. But the majority of it happens on the outer coast of Newfoundland every year in the springtime.

So where are the harp seals born?

The harp seals are actually born on the ice. They’re one of the few species of animals that literally needs sea ice to be born on for their nursery. So they literally give birth on the ice. And the ice can be, depending on the weather conditions, either sometimes very close to the shorelines of, say, Prince Edward Island or some of these islands that are in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence or the shorelines of Newfoundland, or it can be literally a hundred miles offshore. So the seals go to wherever the ice is, and the sealers follow them.

The seals are only tiny babies, as young as two to three weeks old when the sealers head out in their boats to begin the massacre. When the time is right, when the white fur of these baby seals starts to molt off, which occurs after about two weeks, that’s when the Coast Guard sends the big Coast Guard cutters and the sealers literally, like little ducks following a big mother duck, they follow him right to the places where they can literally jump off their boats onto the ice, and then they just run up. They have cleated ice boots that give them traction, and they run up and club them. They also shoot the seals as well.

We’ve heard that one of the tools used is something called a hakapik, is that correct?

It’s a really brutal, grisly thing. It’s more or less a baseball bat with a hook on one side. And what the hook is for, they whack the seal on the head. They club them, okay, with this, basically again, it’s a long wooden stick, and it’s got a piece of metal on the end of it. Some of them do they have a little chunk of metal on it, but then on the other side, there is like a pick, so once the seal is whacked on the head and skinned, they’re usually skinned pretty much right there.

But then they use that pick part for dragging the seal carcass to the boat. They actually skin the seals pretty much right there where they club them and then they take that hakapik, it’s really a dragging tool, so they don’t actually club the seals with the pointed part, but it’s basically a club. It’s a very vicious, horrible instrument, and, and they use it quite pronouncedly.

In what other way are the seals killed?

Well, the other way is by gun. They use rifles. Whether they use a gun or a hakapik depends on the conditions or whether their boats are able to maneuver between the leads in the cracks in the ice. Some years, the ice is so compact that the boats are lucky to get pretty close to the seal herds, and then basically the sealers jump off, and they can literally walk by foot.

They can run around within a quarter mile from their boat in all directions, and they club them with the hakapiks. When they can’t get them with the hakapiks, they’ll shoot them, and again it depends on how closely those boats can maneuver. Because some years, like I said, that ice chunk, they’re literally little chunks of ice floating around, and it would be very dangerous for a sealer to try to jump on a little chunk of ice because he’d have to basically be jumping over open leads of ice.

So what they do in that case is they shoot them. But they prefer to hakapik them, and the reason why is because it keeps the pelt price at a higher value. A bullet hole in the wrong spot of a seal pelt will cause it to have a reduced value. And sometimes they’re shooting these seals from a hundred yards, 75 yards.

You can’t get a clean shot, so a lot of the seals have holes in their backs and the sides of their heads. The shot itself doesn’t even kill the seal, and the seal will actually slither off, and go into an open lead of the ice and literally slip under the ice and die.

Can the baby seals escape?

When they’re super young, when they’re first born, they don’t have enough layer of blubber yet. They’ll actually feed profusely on their moms’ milk for about the first two weeks. If they do happen to slip into the water, they’ll get hyperthermia. Most of the seals killed are literally between two weeks and about three months. Most of these guys are so young, they don’t know what’s coming at them. There is no natural predator that still exists, (Right.) except for human beings out there.

So what happens is these hunters walk right up to them, and I don’t even call them hunters by the way; I would like to retract that word; they’re killers. Because they walk, literally walk right up to an innocent baby seal, and the little seal raises up its little head, like he doesn’t know what’s going to happen, and the guy just whacks him right on the head. It’s a brutal thing; I’ve seen it close-up.

And the sealers show absolutely no mercy; it’s vicious and unbelievable. I can’t describe it; it’s horrible. If you’ve seen the pictures, you know it’s really, really horrific, but no mercy is shown.

Is the mother around during this and what is her reaction?

Yes. The killing of the seals is in the nursery, so the mothers are there present when the babies are killed! It’s one of the most heartless hunts if you can call it a ‘hunt’, anywhere in the world.

Well, the mother is around. All the seals don’t give birth exactly at the same time. They give birth over the course of about a month and a half to two months even. Most of them happen all within about a month, So, there’s some mother seals that will be nursing their baby “whitecoat,” whereas another mother seal might have given birth, say, two weeks earlier, where her baby has now molted and become legally “clubbable.”

They actually molt that beautiful white, famous fur into it’s called a “beater” stage, but where they literally look like little baby silver leopards; they’re really, really beautiful. And that is when the Canadian government legally classifies them as adult seals, even though they’re a month old, three weeks old, and that is when they’re “clubbable”

They don’t actually club the seals for their white fur anymore; they used to. But there’s been a ban on the white coats since 1983. But as soon as that fur starts to molt, they kill them. They are in fact being killed in front of mothers that are very, very nearby. So, it might be that the mother doesn’t know that her baby is being killed, but another mother 20 feet away, (Is watching.) will be able to see this.

They call it a ‘hunt’, but really it’s just a slaughter, a massacre of these animals. And fortunately, on the Canadian seal hunt side of it, we’ve gotten the European Parliament to ban seal pelts and that’s significantly lowered the number of seals that are being killed. But you know, this is the 21st century, there’s no reason for clubbing these animals over their head for their pelts. Whales, seals, fish are more valuable in the oceans than they are, being used by us.

What they do is maintain the integrity of oceanic ecosystems and the message that we’re trying to get across is that if the oceans die, then we die. My name’s Captain Paul Watson with The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
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Many thanks Ian Robichaud and Captain Paul Watson and the members of your respective organizations for passionately working to end the seal slaughter. Bloodshed and violence has absolutely no place in our world and you are both model examples of love and kindness to animals. To halt sealing and other forms of animal exploitation, may we always say “NO” to all animal products.

For more information on these seal protection organizations, please visit the following websites: Harpseals.org - www.Harpseals.org
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - www.SeaShepherd.org

Please join us next Tuesday on Stop Animal Cruelty for the conclusion of our program on the Canadian seal hunt. Thank you for your presence on today’s show. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May we forever live in peaceful harmony with all animals.
The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

This is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television presenting the conclusion of a two-part episode about the merciless brutality of the Canadian seal hunt.

If you ever wondered if hell exists, just go into those massacre houses or the boats that kill the whales and go to the seal-massacring areas. Go there to find hell, then you’ll believe that hell will exist. It’s horrible.

It’s absolutely horrible how we behave as humans. It’s unimaginable. The more we do research into all this animal treatment, the more we cannot imagine how we, as a human race, are behaving in such a way. My God! Oh, my God! We must change, we must change fast. We can’t live like this, we can’t. We just can’t go on like this. It’s just killing our heart.

The yearly seal hunt season for Harp and Hooded seals begins November 15 and ends May 15. The majority of the seal murdering occurs between March and April. In March the focus is the Gulf of St. Lawrence around the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edward Island. A month later, the carnage shifts to the waters northeast of the province of Newfoundland.

Today Ian Robichaud, the founder Harpseals.org, will continue to discuss the violent slaughter of baby seals, many of whom are a mere three weeks old when they die.

Harpseals.org seeks to raise awareness about the atrocities committed by the seal industry. Since 2006, Supreme Master Ching Hai has provided the courageous group with donations totaling US$30,000 to further its mission. We asked Mr. Robichaud about the skinning process for pelts.

So once the seal has been murdered, do they move them to where they’re skinned? Or do they skin them right there? Or do they move them to the boat? How does it happen?

They ideally want to skin them right there. If they get out of their boat or if they find a little pod, a little nest of seals, they might find a little grouping of 20 or 30 of the baby seals. And these babies have reactions. Some of them run. Some of them will actually come toward a sealer, and they can’t do anything. Some of them will just hide there. Well, they don’t run, but they crawl away on the ice.

So, what the sealers do is, sometimes, and this is really brutal, they’ll go in with that hakapik (club) and because they don’t want the seals to go over the edges and maybe into little places where they won’t be able to find them, they’ll just whack them over the head, as many as they can, to stun them. So they’ll whack them over the head, one or two whacks, 20 or 30 seals at one time; it’s one of the most horrific things you could possibly see.

Two sealers sometimes come into a pack of 40 seals and they’ll just smash them on the head to make sure nothing is moving; and then a lot of these seals, of course, they’re not dead after one or two whacks. And then they come back and they’ll skin them. But if there’s just one seal, they’re going to whack them and skin them right there, right then and there.

So the baby might not even be dead when they skin it?

A good portion of the time they’re actually not dead. The sealers themselves are required by ridiculous animal welfare laws, humanity laws if you will, they’re supposed to make sure that the seals are actually dead. They’re supposed to do this ridiculous thing called an “eye blink” test, where they’re supposed to be able to put their finger on the eye of the seal, and if it doesn’t blink, that means it’s dead. But, in fact, more than 40% of these seals are, in fact, alive when they’re skinned.

There was a study conducted by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). These scientists went into the piles of dead seals after the sealers had been there. In other words, they just leave those seals right on the ice. And what they did was, they looked at the craniums, the skulls of these seals and they looked for fracture marks. And they determined, 43% hadn’t even shown any cranial fractures. So therefore, they basically were, in fact, skinned alive.

Not only that, but there have been many, many videos clearly showing seals being skinned while they’re still moving around. It’s something that the sealers almost seem to enjoy; it’s a bizarre spectacle of violence. And it’s hard to imagine; it really, really is hard for anybody to imagine. A pet dog your family cat being skinned literally right there, and someone sort of smiling and laughing as they’re doing it.

So they no longer feel any compassion for the animal?

They’re so desensitized by this stuff; they are so desensitized. There have been a few books written by people about the sealers and about what makes them get into it. A lot of these sealers get into it because their family did it, because their daddy was a sealer, their brother was a sealer before them.

But what I had heard from the book that I read, it was written by a sealer, it was called “Over the Side, Mickey.” He was actually describing the very first time that he killed a seal. He found it horrible; it was horrible to do. How do people kill animals in slaughterhouses? It’s the same thing. It’s a desensitized brain thing. I don’t get it. I could never do it; I don’t understand it, but they literally do not feel any empathy or sympathy whatsoever for the seals.

How is the baby seal skinned?

With a sharp knife. And they do it with a few cuts and it takes about 30 seconds to skin a harp seal. What’s so brutal is that a lot of times, again, they’ll stun the seal, then they make some very crucial cuts around the flippers, and they literally tear that skin right off. And a lot of times the body is still twitching. I mean it’s brutal.

I’m not trying to gross you (Right.) out by saying (that). But literally the body is twitching. It’s just literally had its skin ripped right off before it’s dead. Some of them are dead again; (it) depends on how many times they whack them.

Less than three percent of the meat, annually, is taken. And on some years, it’s probably even less than that, because literally, yes, once they skin it, they don’t care.

With some of the meat, it gets used in the pet food industry.

The male harp seals are killed as well and there’s a market for their genitals?

There is a market; it’s a black market. While the sealers are out there, if they happen to encounter a pod of males, the males all gather in one spot. They’re not usually mixed in with the females and the babies. They’re usually hanging out separately.

But if a sealer encounters a male or a pod of males, they’re not shy about killing them. There’s no one to regulate this stuff. And of course there’s no mark. They just take that. A seal penis bone is like a bone, and then that’s actually used for an aphrodisiac. It’s similar to the tiger bone or rhinoceros. It’s used in Asian medicines.

Surely if people could see this massacre happening, the public would react. Is this not being filmed and shown to people? Are there restrictions on filming?

Well absolutely and this is really the biggest obstacle that all anti-seal hunt organizations like ours face. And this is what this whole fight is really all about, because the sealers want to keep it out of sight, out of mind. There are major, major obstacles to filming. There are laws that make it illegal for people to film the seal hunt. You can only shoot a camera within a quarter mile from the seals.

Then a couple of years ago, it was within 30 meters. I’ve actually been assaulted by sealers who were walking toward me on the ice, coming at me saying, “You’re within 30 meters. You’re breaking our laws,” while I had a camera rolling on them while they were doing their thing. But it’s illegal. And I actually have been arrested on the ice for having a camera.

We know that celebrities such as Paul McCartney have been taken to the seal hunt and shown this. What effect has this had on people’s awareness?

Celebrities are huge. We absolutely love celebrities. And looking into the camera, I can tell you right now, if you’re a celebrity out there, we want you. We need you. Paul McCartney was awesome. The Humane Society of the United States had the opportunity to bring Paul up there, and they went on CNN Larry King that night. That was absolutely huge.

So even if you are not as big of a celebrity as Paul McCartney, we want you to please help us. Let us make you famous for helping the seals. You don’t have to even volunteer for Harpseals.org, you could do it for Sea Shepherd, you could do it for HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), I don’t care. But get your celebrity name out there for the seals because you will do a lot to actually stop the sealing.

What can the average individual do?

The average person can boycott Canadian seafood. How does that work? Why are we boycotting Canadian seafood? The reason that works is because all the sealers are actually fishermen 95% of the year, and 95% of their income (Right.) is by fishing. (Yes.) A small fraction of the year they go out and they kill these seals.

So what we are doing is we’re pressuring the entire Canadian seafood industry to stop the seal hunt. And so we’ll tell people, boycott Canadian seafood, that way you are directly affecting the pocketbook of the actual guys who are going out there killing (Right.) the seals and eventually, those people are going to say, “Enough is enough.”

Our deep gratitude Ian Robichaud, Harpseals.org, and other similar groups for standing up for the Canadian seals by reporting to the world how they are being sickeningly killed. We call on everyone across the planet to shun all animal products, including those from seals like seal fur garments, seal meat and seal oil, so the vicious seal industry, and other industries that savagely exploit animals, are shut down forever.

Hi there, my name is Ian Robichaud. I’m the founder of HarpSeals.org. You’re watching Supreme Master Television.
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For more details on Harpseals.org, please visit www.Harpseals.org

Thank you for joining us for today’s Stop Animal Cruelty program. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May the precious seals and all other animals enjoy long and peaceful lives.
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