It’s that time of year again! The flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and it’s time to go slaughter baby animals.
No, this isn’t a joke—it’s just business as usual in Canada. Each spring, the Canadian government gives commercial sealers the green light to shoot and bludgeon to death hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals. In 1987, Canada banned the killing of whitecoat seal pups, but they can still be killed after they lose their iconic white fur at just a few weeks of age. Most harp seals are killed when they are 3 weeks to 3 months old. The Canadian government recognizes that “young harp seals provide the most valuable pelts.”
In other words, sealers prefer to kill baby seals because their pelts fetch higher prices.
Young seals are not so different from the baby animals we often share our homes with, such as kittens and puppies. If you wouldn’t kill one, why kill the other?
© Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Baby seals even share a name with baby dogs: They’re called “pups.”
Harp seal pups are known for their big black eyes. Can you tell the difference between the harp seal pup and the young Chihuahua pictured below?
No? Neither can we. But it isn’t just dogs who are similar to these swimming mammals. Did you know that kittens and harp seals both use their whiskers for sensory purposes?
Cats’ whiskers help them detect objects in the dark, and seals’ whiskers help them stay safe in murky waters.
All these animals have soft coats:
But only one of these types of animals may be killed for their fur in Canada this spring:
Harp seal pups, kittens, and puppies are all mammals, and all form strong bonds with their mothers at birth.
But thanks to Canada’s commercial seal slaughter, many of these bonds may be broken.
Baby seals are helpless and have no way to escape from sealers’ guns and clubs.
We can’t believe this is still going on, either. But you can help stop it.
“Yellowjacket: Newborn pups with white fur tinted yellow from placental fluid are born weighing about 24 lbs. and measuring almost 3 feet long.
Whitecoat: After a few days, the yellowish tint disappears, and the pups have a fluffy white fur coat. They nurse on their mothers high-fat milk (containing about 45% fat) and triple their weight to over 75 lbs. in about 12 days. Mothers recognize their pups in the herd by their smell.
***referred to as pups in many articles about baby harp seals