Seal or No Seal, Part II

Just moments after we posted about the controversy over seal hunting in Canada, the comments were flying. Some agreed with the activists who think the hunt is inhumane; others argued that the hunt is sustainable—and a vital source of income for hunters.

But as the battle raged on beneath our blog post, something else was happening up north. According to this Washington Post piece, seal pups have been dying in record numbers this year—but it’s not because of the hunt. The melting ice near Prince Edward Island has killed so many pups that the Canadian government has reduced the seal quotas for this year’s hunt by 20 percent.

From the article:

"We don't know if it's weather or climate. But we have seen a trend in the ice conditions in the last four or five years," said Phil Jenkins, a spokesman for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. "The pups can't swim for very long. They need stable ice. If the ice deteriorates underneath them, they drown."

Rebecca Aldworth, an activist for the Humane Society of the United States, flew over the area this week. "We should have seen vast ice fields, but we saw only a few floating ice pans," she said. "We should have seen thousands of seal pups, but we just saw a few.”

If the warming trend continues, then before anyone actually wins that debate over the hunt, it just might become irrelevant. 


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Rebecca has stated on her blog ( that in the nine years she's observed the seal hunt, she has never seen ice conditions this bad. She's flown over areas where there should be tens of thousands of seal pups, but has only spotted a few.

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