Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

EU Scientists Say Seal Hunters Need Training

It's good to see scientists stepping in to the debate over Canadian seal hunts. It's not just those crazy animal rights activists that have concerns.

A committee of European scientists is recommending that Canadian seal hunters be trained to kill the mammals in a more humane way.

The panel has told the European Food Safety Agency there's little peer-reviewed scientific evidence on the hunting and skinning of seals. However, the panel said in a news release Wednesday that available evidence on killing techniques shows there are "obvious areas of concern for seal welfare."

The panel said if a single bullet or clubbing doesn't kill the animals, then hunters should shoot or club them again before they're dragged to a vessel.

The panel also said some methods of killing seals, such as trapping them underwater or herding them before a slaughter, are inhumane.

In addition to calling for more training of hunters, the panel called for independent monitoring of the hunts in Greenland, Namibia and Canada.

In response to the findings, here's a statement by Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has released a scientific study on the animal welfare aspects of global seal hunts. We are supportive of EFSA's recommendations since they uphold the legitimacy and humaneness of hunting practices and techniques that are used, regulated and enforced in Canada's annual commercial seal hunt.

Independent and peer-reviewed studies have shown - time and again - that the vast majority of seals in Canada are taken in a humane manner. We believe that Canada's current practices are consistent with EFSA's general recommendations and we are already taking measures to address some of the issues raised in the study....

Photo by divedi.

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