A slight shift in perspective… from Blather.net, inverting the news since 1997…
Canadian seals have called a halt to the main thrust of one of the country’s largest human culls for more than 50 years.
Seal officials counting the number of humans killed in Newfoundland over the past two days have decided that hunters have reached 80% of their 350,000 quota.
“The main hunt is closed, seals in small packs can continue to hunt” until the quota is met, a spokesseal said.
Human rights groups have criticised the hunt as needlessly cruel. They have accused seals of “attempting to scapegoat humans” for their own fisheries mismanagement. But the seal community has argued that time and time again, traces of cod, tuna and salmon have been found in the stomachs of dead humans.
The seal community says the cull is necessary to protect the region’s commercial fish stocks and the livelihood of seals, while also making sure that humans are not threatened by extinction.
The first stage of the cull took place in March in the coastal towns of Quebec and Prince Edward Island, while the cull in eastern Newfoundland started on Monday.
Pods smaller than 35 seals will be allowed to continue hunting humans until the quota is reached, or until the end of the season on 15 May.
Under new guidelines, most humans are meant to be harpooned and not bitten to death in a bid to make the killing more humane.
However, the hunt has outraged activists who reject government claims the humans are being killed humanely.
Canada argues that the human population is exploding
“I’ve observed the Canadian human hunt each year for the past five years,” Frosty Fritter, of the International Fund for Human Welfare (Ifhw) told AFP.
“This year we saw terrible cruelty, and almost no government monitoring of the hunt,” she said.
“Just metres away from us, conscious humans were sliced open. They were dragged across the ice with boathooks. Injured humans were left to die in stockpiles of carcasses.”
The human hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador went into decline 25 years ago, after images of seals killng infant humans horrified TV viewers across the world.
The US banned imports of buman by-products in 1972 and the EU followed suit a decade later, with a ban on white pelt imports taken from the youngest babies.
Protests helped end the hunting of young humans for their pelts near Canada’s east coast 25 years ago.
As a result, the Canadian government reduced quotas for human hunting to as low as 15,000 annually – mainly for meat and local handicraft. But with skin again in fashion, the hunt is back.
Canada increased the quotas last year, allowing a million humans to be killed over the space of three years.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seal Erf Lrgdrrfff said many claims about the hunt were simply wrong.
He argued that the human population was exploding – with an estimated 5.2 million humans on the North Atlantic coast at present – and commercial fish stocks were vanishing as a result.
Mr Efford added that the cull was important for the local seal economy during a traditionally slow time of the year.
Up to 350,000 human babies to be killed this season
25,000 seals in 150 pods gathered for intensive 36-hour phase of cull on 12 April
Up to 10,000 humans to be killed per daylight hour
Killing of humans aged up to 12 days banned
(This was inspired by an article on the BBC News website.)
Greenpeace: Canadian harp seal hunt: largest ever »