Staff Editorial: Seal clubbing an immoral act

Canada has officially declared the start of its annual seal-hunting season. The government has even allocated the number of seals that can be killed – this year the quota is 280,000. Seal clubbing is the largest mass slaughter of a wild animal species today. Though Canada is the most popular country for seal hunting, it is also practiced in Norway, Greenland, Namibia and Russia.

If it weren’t for how barbaric the act of seal hunting is it probably wouldn’t spur such a large controversy around the world. Clubbing seals with a bat (crushing its skull) is considered to be the most cost-efficient method for these estranged seal-hunters, yet the Canadian government states that the seals are killed humanely, according to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The conservation group also says that in the last three years alone, more than one million seals have been killed.

Seal skin is used to make waterproof jackets and even boats, while their fur is used to make fur coats, and surprise, surprise – it’s considered to be high fashion to wear a seal-fur coat. Seal meat is eaten in many ethnic communities and is considered to be an important source of food. And finally, their blubber is used to make seal oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids and used to make vitamins, lamp fuel and cooking oil.

Many animal-rights groups have attacked Canada for allowing its hunters to kill hundreds of thousands of seal pups each year, and now Canada is saying it will implement new rules to see that the harp seals are killed more humanely, because apparently there is a humane way of killing. An independent panel of veterinarians implemented the "humane" process. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that seal hunters would have to follow the three steps recommended by the panel, which stipulate that after clubbing the seal, the hunter must check its eyes to ensure the seal is dead and its main arteries must be cut.

That Canada, a country that gives free health care to its citizens, allows this brutal and barbaric method of hunting shows the hypocrisy and lack of morality in government administrations. Sure, people hunt deer and ducks, pigs and birds; but do they beat these animals with bats to ensure the death of the animal? Obviously, it would be near impossible to run around trying to club a duck or a deer, but if it were possible, there would most likely be deer-clubbers just as there are seal-clubbers. Canada ought to ban the practice all together – this is the only humane solution.

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