Canada’s annual seal hunt began last week, much to the dismay of, among others, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Chefs for Seals—the organization’s anti-sealing campaign—has, for eight years, promoted a boycott against all Canadian fish and seafood products as a means of pressuring Ottawa to impose a ban on commercial sealing.
The campaign’s Facebook page states that, “More than 6,000 restaurants and grocery stores (in addition to 800,000 individuals) have joined the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood. They are making it clear that the Canadian annual commercial seal hunt is an unacceptable business practice undertaken by Canada’s fishing industry.
The ethicality of seal hunting, however, compares with (if not exceeds) other methods of animal slaughter. Unlike cows and pigs, for instance, seals are free-range animals liberated from the vices of factory farming. Furthermore, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the World Wildlife Fund consider the hakapik—a club used by seal hunters (with the exception of the Inuit, who use harpoons)—to be a humane method of slaughter. Not to mention that it is illegal to slaughter newborn seals, despite the stubborn use of imagery suggesting otherwise.