It won’t give you a realistic experience of what it’s like to be on the Front, but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is hoping a new app will encourage people to save seals in the real world.
© — Submitted photo
A screen image of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’ new game, “Seals Hero.”
The app is called “Seal Hero.” In it, an animated character walks through a frozen environment looking for seals. When he finds one, he paints it green and the seal disappears, presumably saved from hunters.
The act of painting the seals green is reminiscent of a Greenpeace demonstration where the same thing was done by protesters. They sprayed the coats of seal pups green to make them unsellable and save the pups from the harvest.
“Once players feel the accomplishment of saving seals virtually, they can hop on to peta.org and learn how to help seals in the real world,” PETA’s Emily Lavender said.
Exactly how much reality is used in the game is questionable. The animated seals look remarkably like whitecoats, which aren’t hunted anymore. Information given in the game about the hunt says that, “Every year, hunters bludgeon to death hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals. Many seals who are killed are three months old or younger.”
Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association, says that information is false.
“They don’t know any more about the seal harvest than they knows about going to the moon,” he said.
Almost 100 per cent of seals killed in this province are shot, Pinhorn said. A hakapik is used only to finish an animal off if it’s semiconscious. It’s also for safety when walking over the ice.
Lavender feels differently about how humanely the hunt is carried out.
“Often they’re shot and the bullet will rip through their face and it won’t kill them, so they’re left to suffer, choking on their own blood until a sealer is able to come and bludgeon them to death,” she said.
She added this a very, very common and painful way for seals to die.
PETA’s website says the game “allows users to save seals killed in Canada’s annual slaughter, highlighting how young generations look at seals as wonders of nature rather than living piñatas they can beat to death with a stick.”
In 2010, Apple blocked an app that let players kill virtual seals.