Revival of seal pup killing is sickening

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD
Thursday, April 8, 2004

Fashion is reviving Canada's brutal hunting of baby seals. The craze for seal fur deserves a quick death.

Although the United States bans the import of seal fur and the European Union prohibits fur from the youngest seals, the world market for seal products has grown substantially. Sealskin hats are big in Russia, Ukraine and Poland, according to a report by The New
York Times.

That's a pity. In the '70s and '80s, the United States and European countries acted for good reasons. The stark cruelty of the hunt revolted public opinion on both continents and seal populations appeared to be at risk.

As most people recall, hunters shoot or club baby harp seals to death on the ice, then skin them, often on the spot. Although world reaction forced Canada to reduce the hunts, growing markets, higher prices and larger populations have led to a revival. This year's
hunt has been set at a record 350,000 killings.

Canada has improved its regulations and enforcement. This year, for instance, hunters must check more carefully to see if the pups are dead before skinning them.

But the hunt remains barbaric and unnecessary. Helpless pups are clubbed to death in front of one another. They can be as young as 12 days old. As many as one-third of all the infants are killed.

Wearing their skin shouldn't be a symbol of cool, anywhere in the world.