Each year, the Canadian government gives hunters the green light to bludgeon to death hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals. During the slaughter, baby seals are shot or repeatedly clubbed. Most of the harp seals killed are pups under three months of age. Sealers bludgeon the animals with clubs and “hakapiks” (metal-hook–tipped clubs) and drag the seals—who are often still conscious—across the ice floes with boat hooks. The primary purpose of the hunt is to collect seal pelts which are then sold to fashion houses.
Hunters toss dead and dying seals into heaps and leave their carcasses to rot on the ice floes because there is no market for seal meat. Veterinarians who have investigated the slaughter have found that hunters routinely fail to comply with Canada’s animal welfare standards.