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  Seal pups in Canada being culled
Updated 06 April 2004, 17.22
Seal  pup
The biggest slaughter of baby seals in 50 years is taking place in Canada.

Seal hunters are thought to have already clubbed 70,000 harp seal pups, and thousands more will be killed this year for their fur and meat.

The hunters say they are just trying to make a living, and at the moment the numbers of seals in the area are so high they are threatening fish stocks.

But animal welfare groups say sealers are breaking the rules by slaughtering the animals in a cruel way.

Seal pups aren't allowed to be killed before they are 12-days-old, but as their skins are whitest and softest when they're young, hunters mainly target pups who are under a month old.

And because harp seals are not endangered, the Canadian Government has allowed seal hunting to increase.

This means that over the next three years sealers will be allowed to kill 975,000 of the marine animals.


In the 1970s and 80s there was worldwide protesting against this treatment of seals.

Both America and Europe banned bringing seal products into their countries, and the trade in Canada dropped off.

But now demand for fur - including seal skins - is back, with countries like Russia and Poland wanting them to make hats and clothes.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) wants Canada to put an end to the killing.

"The Canadian Government has given the go ahead for up to one million seals to be killed over the next three years.

"This is a cruel and barbaric hunt and we want to see an end to it today," Stella Green, marine campaigner for Ifaw told CBBC Newsround Online.

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
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