Markham, Ontario, Canada
i don't support or protest against the seal hunt but i have a few questions. can you answer them?


is it true that seals are skinned alive? if not, how did this "skinning alive" rumour start? around how much do sealers get paid? do you think it is worth it? do you think the government should just send the sealers to get an education for another job?

thanks again :)
Hi Unknown,

No, seals are not and never have been skinned alive.....Well let me rephrase that as I hate to use the term never. If such a thing ever happened I can say with relative certainty that it was unknowingly done. The only plausible circumstance I could see it happen would be if a seal was unconscious but not clinically dead, this is the only way I can see such a thing happening. The fact of the matter is that there are no good reasons why a sealer would do such a thing but a number of reasons why they would not want to do so, it makes no sense. The skinning alive myth started when in 1969 a Montreal film company, Artek Film Company, made what they presented as a documentary, Les Phoques de la Banquise. In it they manipulated sounds and events to the point of hiring their guide, a non-sealer, to skin a seal alive so they could film it. This was all disclosed during House of Commons hearings which finally ruled the film to be a fraud. Of course, by this time the damage had been done and Brian Davies, the head of the IFAW at the time, saw how much traction the idea received and ran with it. He even went on to present the same fraudulent video to the US congress when they decided to ban seal products in 1972.

It's impossible to say exactly what a sealer gets paid. Obviously the processors would be able to tell you on a yearly basis but the money garnered from sealing fluctuates from year to year depending on how much the sealer participates, how far he has to travel, how long he stays out hunting, what the price is for pelts/blubber/meat that season, etc. It has been stated that sealing makes up anywhere from 5%-35% of their annual income.

Before you talk about re-education of sealers etc you first have to understand that a sealer is a professional fisherman first and participates in sealing during their off season, the meagre part of the year in relation to income. Sealing is not a primary occupation but in many cases the income garnered from the activity is greatly needed.

As an aside, instead of asking ourselves whether sealing is worth it, is it economically feasible? Do they make enough to make it worthwhile? And all these other questions relating to sealers, I think we need to ask ourselves, is it right for organizations to target an industry/business/activity and use lies to slander it to the point where people start talking about whether it is worth it or not especially when that activity is deemed to be legal and appropriate. We have a situation here where anti-sealing groups who make millions off the seal hunt have used a small portion of that money to run misleading campaigns to distort the image of the seal hunt around the world. Then we have countries such as the US and many European countries banning seal products even though they kill the same percentage of seals in their countries. Only difference is Canada tries to use as much of the seal as possible while most of the others don't use anything as the animal is being killed as a pest species. So I leave you with this, is it acceptable that we question the worth of something based on economics when it's economic feasibility has been distorted by a lie wielding hate campaign fostered by multi-national organizations who have annual operating budgets in the hundreds of millions? Food for thought.

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