An argument that defies reason …

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I write concerning the news story “Crossroads on the ice floes,” April 12.

Rebecca Aldworth, director of Canadian wildlife issues for the Humane Society of the United States, continues to defy reason.

She says it’s not possible for sealers to check to see if seals are unconscious before they gaff them, because the sealers can’t get off their boat to check.

Yet Aldworth, who was in a helicopter, said that it seemed to her that some seals weren’t unconscious when they were pierced with a metal gaff and hauled onboard a boat.

So sealers on a nearby boat couldn’t see if the seals were unconscious or not. But Aldworth, in an overhead helicopter, could. Amazing.

Aldworth has a history of defying reason. She has long claimed that seals are often skinned alive. Yet the claim makes no sense whatsoever.

A seal being skinned alive would put up a struggle. Aldworth herself made that point in a letter to the editor published in the National Post in 2005. She said that in six years of observing seals being killed, she had “rarely seen one lie still as its skin is ripped off. The defenseless pups thrash, struggle, move their flippers, raise their heads and more.”

If seals were doing all that while being skinned, chances are their pelts would be ruined. Would a sealer risk ruining the pelts — and lowering his income — when it would be so easy to make sure the seals were dead?

Not only would the pelts likely be ruined, skinning struggling seals — that could weigh up  to 300 pounds or more — would also be very time-consuming.  Sealers are usually in a hurry — as Aldworth herself has pointed out. She once told a Memorial University student: “Sealers are paid per seal they kill, so they slaughter as many of them as possible, as quickly as possible.”

Yet, according to Aldworth, the sealer, who is trying to kill as many seals as possible, as quickly as possible, would choose to kill fewer seals — the result of taking far more time to skin them as they thrash, struggle, move their flippers, raise their heads and more.

And the Humane Society of the United States presumably pays Aldworth for all this!

Joan Forsey


Organizations: Humane Society of the United States, National Post

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Recent comments

  • Skeptical Cynic
    April 28, 2013 - 16:03

    You can try to rationalize it all you want Joan, the seal slaughter is still a hideous activity motivated primarily by the grusome vanities of the fur fashion industry. It should have gone the way of the chariot race long ago. Fortunately the markets will effectively resolve the issue of this antiquated, dying industry.