The Newfoundland Seal Hunt: Looking Back, Moving Forward
Newfoundlanders have been hunting seals for hundreds of years. But now the industry is failing, and it’s time to help sealers transition into other work, and share in Newfoundland’s bright future.

 

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the commercial seal hunt is a thing of legend. It’s a very important part of the history and culture of the province, which is something that people from “the mainland” — and especially those working to end the commercial seal hunt — don’t always appreciate.

This translates into very vocal support for the hunt by Newfoundland politicians and media, even though the hunt is no longer the economic mainstay it once was and consistently requires government support to continue.

The current reality is that, with almost no markets for seal products, Ottawa and St. John’s are literally paying people to kill seals. But many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians don’t want these subsidies to stop because rural Newfoundlanders would face more hardship.

That’s why the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is lobbying the federal government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to support a transition out of the seal hunt. After all, 75% of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians support this kind of program, and half of sealers are already looking for a way out — they just need the financial incentive.

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