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Guides: Culling Animals

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06 2004 16:28 GMT

Why are seals culled in Canada?

Seals on a ice flow in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
Where are the seals killed?
The biggest seal hunt takes place east of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada.

But seals are also killed in Norway, Russia and Greenland.

Why are there so many baby seals in that area of Canada?
Each year, harp and hooded seals perform their annual migration to the east coast of Canada to give birth to their pups.

Is anyone allowed to kill the seals?
No. Hunters must have a special license or certificate from the government to kill the seals.

How are the seals killed?
Early in the season seals are killed using a club or a large ice-pick. Later, hunters use guns.

How many seals are killed?
In 2003 286,238 seals were reported to have been killed.

The Canadian Government have also said the number of seals allowed to be killed will be raised to 975,000 over the next three years.

What products are made from the seals?
They're killed for their skins, oil and meat.

Are the seals killed to keep down numbers or to make money?
Sealing is an industry that has been going on in several parts of the world for many years.

The Canadian Government and fishing industry say the numbers of seals in the North Atlantic is rising so they should be culled because they eat too many fish, including cod which is under threat.

But animal campaigners say the problem isn't seals, and the government should protect fish numbers by only allowing fishermen to catch a limited number of fish.

Why are animal welfare organisations worried?
They're worried because demand for seal products such as fur have increased, meaning seals could be under threat again.

They're also concerned that the Canadian Government has given permission to increase the numbers allowed to be killed to meet this demand.

Another big worry for campaigners is that hunters are not following the rules set down to try and make sure the seals suffer as little pain as possible.

What can I do if I'm worried?
Animal welfare organisation IFAW say if you're worried about the situation you should send a letter to the Canadian embassy in London.

Guide to Culling Animals

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