Canada's annual seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on the planet. In 2010 the Canadian government allowed fishermen to club and shoot nearly 400,000 seals in the North Atlantic, almost all of them babies between one and three months old - just to earn a few extra bucks by selling seal skins. Veterinary reports indicate that many seals have been skinned while still conscious and able to feel pain.

The grisly details of the hunt and the ensuing international outrage have been enough to cause many countries - the US, the EU countries, Russia and Mexico - to ban seal pelt imports. The declining cost of pelts, and the fact that the pelt trade only accounts for less than 1% of Newfoundland’s economy make it hard to justify the ongoing recurrence of the hunt.

With continued pressure the Canadian government will have to reexamine supporting the seal hunt.

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