In London on Monday (20 February), the Premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, Frank Moores, launched the first of a series of European news conference to defend the annual killing of baby seals off the Newfoundland coast.
In London on Monday (20 February), the Premier of the Canadian province of Newfoundland, Frank Moores, launched the first of a series of European news conference to defend the annual killing of baby seals off the Newfoundland coast. The news conferences are part of an effort by the Newfoundland government to counter allegations by animal welfare groups that the seals are being killed barbarically and that they are in danger of being wiped out. In London the news conference was attended by conservationists who argued with the main speakers.
SYNOPSIS: Seals have been hunted off the coast of Newfoundland for hundreds of years. Before the Europeans it was the Indians.
Many ways have been used to kill the helpless animals, including guns and chemicals. But the usual way now is with a club-like instrument called a "hakapik".
The seal pup has a extremely thin skull and,according to the Newfoundland authorities, a blow either kills it outright or puts it into a state of deep and irreversible unconsciousness in which there is no pain, fear, or psychological distress.
But animal welfare groups say that almost half the skins that are taken from these seals are removed while the animals are still alive. They also say that if the killing continues, various species of seals in the area will become extinct. This is disputed by Newfoundland's Premier, Mr. Moores.
He says that although gruesome, the hunt is strictly controlled to ensure a valuable economic resource does not run out.