Support a sealing buyout, not a hunt

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I write concerning “Taiwan, seal product bans and the truth,” a Jan. 28 letter to the editor from Robert Miller.

From seal populations to the findings of veterinary studies, Miller spouts misinformation in nearly every line of his piece.

Miller misrepresents reports from the 1980s that, contrary to his assertion, clearly identify unacceptable animal suffering at the commercial seal hunt.

Multiple recent studies have concluded that commercial sealing is inherently inhumane because of the environment in which sealing occurs and the speed at which it happens.

Every year, observers film conscious, wounded seal pups left to suffer in agony, gaffed onto vessels and cut open, and escaping into the water.

Miller then suggests the harp seal population is one million animals higher than the latest government estimate indicates, and fails to clarify that the harp seal population is in a recovery from a dangerous low a half century ago.

He also neglects to mention that climate change is causing a massive reduction in sea ice cover in the North Atlantic and harp seals face a grave threat to their long-term survival.

More than 30 nations have restricted their trade in seal products in response to animal welfare and conservation concerns.

Unlike Miller, these governments have studied commercial sealing thoroughly, and have heard extensive testimony from sealing industry lobbyists and the Canadian government.

Their decisions have been informed and we will likely see many more nations follow suit.

The sealing industry has been, by its own terms, economically nonviable for the past four years.

Between the closing global markets and climate change, there is simply no future in commercial sealing. Polling shows broad support for a sealing industry buyout within the sealing community and throughout Newfoundland.

If Miller actually cared about sealers, he would work with those promoting this constructive solution instead of disseminating emotional rhetoric that serves no one.

Nick Wright  

Humane Society International/Canada.

Geographic location: Taiwan, North Atlantic, Newfoundland Canada

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Recent comments

  • H JEFFORD
    February 22, 2013 - 19:24

    The seals are destroying the largest food source in the world, "The Northern Cod Stock" The seal heard is in the many Millions hunting the ocean and rivers like a pack of Wolves, The NTV News Should have a Film that they broadcasted on a NTV news, which showed a heard of seals driving a school of Cod fish upon the beach and people picking up COD FISH DRIVEN UPON THE BEACH LIKE CAPLIN, The fishermen said where they filmed this, in a small cove or bay, that the ocean floor was 5-6 feet deep with dead fish with their Belly torn out, They say the seals were only eating their livers.

  • H Jefford
    February 22, 2013 - 09:13

    The seal population is to large they are destroying the fish stock,as can be seen on a NTV film that was seen broadcast on the NTV news, It showed a group of seals hunting like a pack of wolves driving cod fish upon the beach, and people picking up live cod fish that were driven upon the beach by the seals, a fisherman that i spoke with told me that the ocean floor where this happened was 3-4 feet deep with dead fish with their belly torn out , he said the seals were after the fishes liver This film should be at the NTV archives . And it would show the destruction of the fish stock done by the massive seal herd

  • Robert Miller
    February 18, 2013 - 11:29

    Zero references, no surprises, same tricks. This letter refutes facts presented in my letter without any references. In contrast, my own letter includes several specific sources. Here are some quotes: "Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) Science Advisory Report 2011/050 estimates the 2010 population of northwest Atlantic harp seals at 8.61 million to 9.55 million" "DFO’s 'Fish Landings and Landed Values, for all vessels in 2011,' it reports quantities of seal products landed were: 35,902 skins, 16,205 flipper, and 127 metric tonnes of meat/fur." "...officials from the Canadian Audubon Society, Canadian Council on Animal Care, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, International Society for the Protection of Animals, Ontario Federation of Humane Societies, University of Guelph, University of Ottawa, etc., have concluded the hunt is humane." Mr. Wright, I do care about sealers and I do care about truths. Your letter serves neither.

  • Pay for it yourselves
    February 18, 2013 - 07:07

    If the humane society thinks sealers should be paid not to harvest, let the humane society and their like minded peers fund it. Simple.

  • maryann hussey
    February 17, 2013 - 12:00

    Just came back from doing a little grocery shopping & a local store here in Gander.Alady ahead of me had the most wonderful seal skin coat & wearing it with pride.I gave her a honorable mention because for the simple fact that she was wearing it in public to show everyone that because of the seal hunt she was where she is today because otherwise because of the seal hunt she survived in nl otherwise they wouldn't have any food @ all.Please just stop and think.

  • Petertwo
    February 17, 2013 - 07:34

    If Nick Wright wanted real humane societies he'd be working towards real people who are suffering far worse than the seals. Pam Frampton's article on the sufferings of females pretty well everywhere in varying degrees on 17th February makes his feeble bleats absolutely pathetic. He could not do worse than make a start in that direction and do something really worthwhile for a change.

  • Ford Elms
    February 17, 2013 - 07:33

    Humane Society International is a branch of the Humane Society of the United States. These are companies that have been found repeatedly to produce staged or otherwise heavily doctored footage claiming to show cruelty in sealing, farming, and pet breeding. In the US, Canada, and Europe, HSUS and its subsidiaries like HSI have been caught trying to frame innocent workers in this fashion. They do this to create a false and offensive impression of their victims that can then be exploited for profit. Furthermore, in the movie Phoque-Le Film, French filmmaker Raoul Jomphe documented employees of HSUS allowing a wounded seal to die in agony for over an hour while they waited for the angle of the light to be good for filming its agony. HSUS and HSI are fundamentally dishonest companies that routinely exploit innocent workers for profit. Their "facts" about things like sealing or farming are an elaborate construction of lies, half truths, and misrepresentation designed to create a false image of their victims that they can then exploit for their own gain. These companies are not the "defenders of animals" they say they are, quite the contrary, they are part of the 1%. How any supposedly reputable news agency could give a public voice to this kind of unjust exploitation of innocent workers is beyond me. We have nearly forty years of documentation of the dishonesty and exploitativeness of animal rights companies like HSUS, yet the media still gives credence to what they say, as do large swaths of the public. Why?

  • Anonymous
    February 16, 2013 - 15:33

    So your brilliant plan is to use tax dollars to pay off fisherman to not participate in a hunt that is older than modern civilization. Give it a rest hippy. Go eat a burger.

  • da bejer
    February 16, 2013 - 15:27

    If Nick Wright knew anything about the seal hunt, he would know that its illegal to hunt "seal pups" and that only adult seals are hunted. Its estimated that theres at least 9 million seals of the coast of NL. And to coin an old phrase "they're not eating hamburgers". The hunt is regulated by the federal dept. of fisheries. And its as humane as any hunt in North America. If Wright was really interested in saving a threatened species; he would come up here to Alberta and try to save the remaining 700 grizzly bears that are left in the wild whose population is dwindling. Guess this species isnt as lucrative for the Humane Society bank account as blubbering on about the seal hunt

  • Percy
    February 16, 2013 - 12:06

    So, Mr. Wright, you think you have all the answers.`The voice of authoritarianism has spoken. You and your kind we don't need to hear from. You have one agenda, and that is to raise dollars for your organization. Just like the rest of the groups that are trying to fool us in believing that you have a just cause. If you had to hunt, fish for a living you would have a different song to sing. I guess you are a total vegetarian. You wear nothing with leather, that comes from the hides of animals. I have to laugh out loud at you folks. Why don't you go to China and make a few remarks about the cats and dogs that they kill, and consume. Then you will realize you are not living in a free democracy like the country of CANADA. They wouldn't tolerate what we tolerate from groups such as yours and the like. And, go to other countries that kill animals, and yet they look at CANADA as a slaughter house.. There are many countries that hunt different animals, and then they have the audacity to complain about us, and make us look like fools. Because all you think about and see is the little baby white coat seals, and hug them, like Paul McCartney and his partner did a few years ago. Baby white coats are not killed. He was in Prince Edward Island, and thinking he was in Newfoundland. Why don't you visit the companies that kill chicken and beef. We don't need nonfactual propaganda, that animal rights groups are trying to brainwash/manipulate our minds with. When a person cannot think for her/him self, then that is going on a slippery slope. Remember this... GOD gave us animals and fish for us to eat. You are entitled to your views, and so am I. That is what democracy is all about. I think about the old, but true saying...My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts. You folks have closed minds when it comes to the seal hunt. I rest my case.

  • david
    February 16, 2013 - 11:33

    Why is it that everything here has to come to an end through a "buyout"? It's an automatic response, as if it is simply the only way, no thought required whatseover....."if you want me to stop doing this pointless, timewasting thing I do, you need to pay me". And the bickering goes on for years and years, back and forth. with even more of people's lives simply wasted and lost. What is so wrong with being responsdible for your own life, making decisions and moving on, both professionallly and perhaps physically? What is it about Newfoundland that is so G.D. special or important that this concept siimply does not make the perfectly rational sense it does everywhere else in the world? A handout culture is simply fatal, and it is killing this place and people more than any ruined industry ever did.

  • Percy
    February 16, 2013 - 11:12

    So, Mr. Wright, you think you have all the answers.`The voice of authoritarianism has spoken. You and your kind we don't need to hear from. You have one agenda, and that is to raise dollars for your organization. Just like the rest of the groups that are trying to fool us in believing that you have a just cause. If you had to hunt, fish for a living you would have a different song to sing. I guess you are a total vegetarian. You wear nothing with leather, that comes from the hides of animals. I have to laugh out loud at you folks. Why don't you go to China and make a few remarks about the cats and dogs that they kill, and consume. Then you will realize you are not living in a free democracy like the country of CANADA. They wouldn't tolerate what we tolerate from groups such as yours and the like. And, go to other countries that kill animals, and yet they look at CANADA as a slaughter house.. There are many countries that hunt different animals, and then they have the audacity to complain about us, and make us look like fools. Because all you think about and see is the little baby white coat seals, and hug them, like Paul McCartney and his partner did a few years ago. Baby white coats are not killed. He was in Prince Edward Island, and thinking he was in Newfoundland. Why don't you visit the companies that kill chicken and beef. We don't need nonfactual propaganda, that animal rights groups are trying to brainwash/manipulate our minds with. When a person cannot think for her/him self, then that is going on a slippery slope. Remember this... GOD gave us animals and fish for us to eat. You are entitled to your views, and so am I. That is what democracy is all about. I think about the old, but true saying...My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts. You folks have closed minds when it comes to the seal hunt. I rest my case.

    • Mr.E
      February 17, 2013 - 19:53

      God!! how did get into this? I just want a horseburger with extra pig drippings please.

    • Mr.E
      February 17, 2013 - 19:53

      God!! how did get into this? I just want a horseburger with extra pig drippings please.