Addicted to novelty since 2001

Some Facts About Whacking Baby Seals

I just finished reading a good chunk of “An Enviro’s Case for Seal Hunt” (I didn’t finish the whole thing because, like most Tyee articles, it was way too long), in which Terry Glavin explains why the seal hunt isn’t as bad as Paul McCartney et al make it out to be:

The Newfoundland seal hunt is transparently and demonstrably sustainable and humane. There are roughly half a million people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and nearly six million harp seals, which is almost three times as many seals as when I was a kid.

I’ve always had pretty mixed feelings about the seal hunt, but this pushes me a little closer to the “oh, calm off” camp. I don’t think people should be wearing fur, but the seals are also used for a host of other products. They’re sustainably harvested, generally die instantly and in circumstances that, as Glavin puts it, are “as clean as anything you’re likely to find in an abattoir.”

From what I can gather, if you eat meat or wear leather, you’re being pretty hypocritical to disapprove of the seal hunt.

If you’ve got some emotional, volunteer or monetary capital to invest in an environmental cause, please don’t spend it on saving baby seals.

12 Responses to “Some Facts About Whacking Baby Seals”

  1. Chris

    As a Newfoundlander (and occasional meat-eater), I’ve gotta say +1 seal hunt.

  2. double-plus-ungood

    Good for you, Darren, and good for Terry too, who always has a sensible thing or two to say regarding this subject, especially so for such a long-time advocate of environmentalism.

    Not looking forward to the comments and emails that generally accompany such pronouncements though.

  3. David Lewis


    I guess this is one of the things that I always found odd. Someone preaching about “killing baby seals” in their leather coat or shoes, etc.

    I’m in a mixed household. Wife and daughters are vegetarians. I’m a chicken and fish guy. But, I don’t eat it at home. Only when out. My wife does all she can to avoid animal based purchases, but is realistic in that she can’t do it all the time. And she’s not a preachy vegetarian – you know, like ex-smokers can become preachy. I respect that. She “changed” because of coming home to her hunter house having bambi strung up in the garage gutted, and daffy duck plucked in the sink. ;)

    When I hear preachy folks talking about animal cruelty/rights (in the context of inhuman treatment) etc. my first thought is … well you better be a vegan then.

    Anyway, people do kinda need to step back and if they are staunch, anti-something, they better be clear and be all the way and not just token protesters.



  4. Dan

    Whether or nor you are morally opposed to the seal hunt, there are issues with how its being carried out that Glavin overlooks.

    Due to the quota they use, (aggregate not individual allocation) it becomes a race against other hunters to kill as many seals as possible as quickly as possible. This in essense negated many of the regulations for humane hunting. While there is supposed to be standards, the enforcement is spotty and there are laws against 3rd party monitoring. While the laws say hunters are supposed to bleed a seal to ensure its death is not prolonged, in the rush these rules are poorly followed.

    There are three sides to the seal hunt.
    And if it needs to go forward, do it humanely.

  5. Derek K. Miller

    The seal hunt has always been fractious because, well, baby seals are just about the Cutest Thangs EVAR. It’s easy to get upset about clubbing cute things and getting their red blood all over the white ice.

    Meanwhile lots of frogs and other amphibians are dying off, and we’re not sure why. We’ve killed way too many sharks, and overfished in myriad other ways too. Abalone were almost wiped out in B.C., while changing ocean temperatures and pH balances may make it impossible for some other invertebrates to grow shells at all at relatively shallow ocean depths — but frogs and sharks and fish and gastropods aren’t furry with big eyes.

    Anthropomorphism bites.

  6. Jose

    EXCUSE ME?!?!
    These are lives we are talking about. We can’t just simply sit down and watch while the seals die! That would be inhumane! Even if you approve of the seal whacking, PLEASE do not tell others to do the same.

  7. channie

    I think this is dumb. Why do we as men think that we can pick on any creature and be cruel to it. I think it’s childish and stupid. The only reason to kill a crature is self-defense or for food. Not for a “sport”. I dont even call this a sport I just call it stupidity.

  8. mercy

    you should be ashamed, bashing baby seals over the head is inhumane and cruel. Getting your kicks out of venting your pathetic problems on an innocent creature is not a sport. About the population being sustainable, well im certain it will last when pathetic morons like yourself are smashing them pointlessly…Do everyone a favour and rather than being a violent pig that is incapable of fighting another man but a baby seal and get yourself some help.

  9. Jorge

    i think its so very wrong to kill innocent baby seals for what reason again?…oh none….way to go. honestly what person in the right mind could do that. to do it you truly must have no conscious. if you kill them you have to just be jealous that more people like them then you and they are cuter….to all seal bashers…you suck.

  10. Geo

    Interesting. We fight for the cause of killing baby seals with a vengence like no other, yet there are men clobbering women and childen, murderers, rapers, pedophiles that most turn a blind eye to. Heck, it’s just the “news”, right? If the death penality (for humans) by humans still exists and to some is justifiable in some strange way, then unfortunately, the current fight/plea to stop the murdering of cute furry animals doesn’t really stand a chance. Looking for an environmental cause – try conservation. Looking for a social justice cause – try abuse.

  11. Serge

    It might be necessary to keep the seal population in check, but don’t make it an attraction. Don’t let tourists do it and do it humanely. But everything needs to be commercialized eventually it seems

Comments are closed.