Tag Archives: animal torture

Yes, baby seals are still being slaughtered in Canada

By Paula Moore

As you read this, baby seals are being shot to death — or their soft skulls are being crushed with hakapiks, which are hooked clubs with piercing metals tips — on the ice floes off the coast of Canada. Sealers will be allowed to kill up to 400,000 harp seals during this year’s commercial slaughter, all for something that no one even wants: their fur. The seals’ skin will be torn off, and their bodies will be dumped in the sea or left to rot on the ice.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Canada’s cruel commercial seal slaughter had ended years ago. Indeed, as far back as 2005, Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham reported that because of limited media coverage, 60 percent of Canadians were “blissfully unaware that the seal hunt still exists.” But this is one instance in which ignorance is not bliss. Baby seals are helpless and have no way to escape from the sealers’ clubs and guns, so it is up to us to speak out and stop this barbaric slaughter.
And let’s get one thing straight: Although sealers object to calling these animals “babies,” that’s exactly what they are. Many of the young seals are slaughtered before they have even eaten their first solid meal or learned how to swim. While sealers are not allowed to kill “whitecoats,” seals can be killed as soon as they lose their iconic white natal fur at just a few weeks of age. Most are killed when they are between 3 weeks and 3 months old.

And the commercial slaughter is as wasteful as it is cruel. Ten years ago, sealers killed about 350,000 seals, but in 2015, that number dropped to 35,000 – the lowest in two decades. Fewer than 1,000 sealers have participated in the slaughter in recent years because of a lack of markets for seal-derived products. Seal fur processors admit that they are stockpiling pelts because they can’t sell them.

That’s because compassionate people around the world want nothing to do with this bloody business. Russia — which at one time had been importing 95 percent of Canadian seal pelts — has banned seal fur and other seal-derived products, as have the United States, the European Union, Mexico and Taiwan. And despite years of marketing efforts in China to create a demand for seal skins and meat there, it has not shown much interest in buying these cruelly obtained products, either.

So if seal fur isn’t allowed in fashion capitals like New York and Paris, and public sentiment around the world is firmly against the slaughter, why is it still going on?

The sealing industry survives only because of government bailouts. The Canadian government pours millions of tax dollars into propping up this dying industry, which has long cost Canada more money to support than it brings in, primarily for the shameful reason that the major federal parties want to control parliamentary swing seats in Newfoundland and Labrador.

That money could be better spent promoting Canadian businesses with brighter futures and helping sealers make the transition into other types of work. Letting the sealing industry limp along is not fair to either the seals or the sealers.

Please take a moment to urge Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is known for his progressive views on social justice issues, to usher in a new era of fiscal responsibility and compassion by ending federal subsidies of the commercial seal slaughter. (Visit PETA.org to find out how.) Then use your Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts to help spread the word and get more people involved. The commercial seal slaughter is a relic of a less enlightened past, and it needs to end.

The Worcester City Council and Ringling Bros. Circus


By Rosalie Tirella

The above photo says it all, doesn’t it? Underscores the cruelty/absurdity of wild animal acts in circuses. Wild, undomesticated, man-eating big cats weighing hundreds of pounds, standing on their tippy toes – for its trainer, for you, for your kids – for YOUR entertainment. Tigers living in India or Africa, where they roam hundreds of miles to hunt, eat, mate, raise their young ones brought to cities like Worcester on trains, baking in the summer in their box cars, freezing in the winter in their boxcars. Tigers and other large predators keep ecosystems in check … . They are gorgeous … . They are wild creatures that belong in the wild. But we keep them in tiny cages and make idiots of them … literally make them mad/insane.

Why does America do this to beautiful wild things? (Circuses showcasing wild animals are banned in the European Union.) Why does America continue to do what we have been doing since the white man enslaved black men, women and children and killed all the Indians? Why do we hold onto this last bit of American brutality? Why do we enslave? Why do we refuse to see the truth: that these animals do not belong anywhere near Worcester or humans – forced/tortured to do stupid tricks. Hate to admit this, but there is poetic justice every time one of the performing tigers or lions or elephants, at wit’s end, mauls/kills his/her trainer. “Turns on them” – as if the animals were ever on our side.  Of course, then, we acknowledge the lion’s/tiger’s wildness and kill it immediately.

How does Worcester fit into all this?

A few years ago a friend and I went to visit then Mayor Joe O’Brien. I liked Joe being mayor of Worcester, thought he was incredibly sensitive to people and animals. I believed if Worcester were to follow in the steps of other Mass citites like Northampton, Cambridge and heck, even Revere, and BAN wild animal acts from our fair city, now would be the time to strike. So many people in Worcester love and care for abused animals or adopt homeless dogs from animal shelters or feed feral cat colonies! (I have done all of this and maintained two feral cat colonies for TEN YEARS!)

Any ways, my friend and I went to Joe O’Brien and told him how we – and lots of local folks – felt about circuses that showcase wild animal acts. Joe being Joe, didn’t need any educating or convincing. He told us he was on the animals’ side and that he would be behind a new proposed ordinance in Worcester: NO WILD ANIMAL acts in Worcester.

YES to clowns and Cirque de Soleil and acrobats and all magicians and huge marionettes and Bread and Circus! NO to tigers and lions and elephants and all the companies that parade them in front of  us humans! Joe O’Brien (now a Worcester city councilor) felt the cirucs was no way to expose kids – especially working class kids – to nature/Africa/wild animals/ecosystems. He told us Ringling Bros Circus had called his office – the mayor’s office – to do a kind of public relations stunt/photo op: The Mayor of Worcester hangs out on CITY HALL Common and feeds the circus elephants! The mayor (and thus, all of Worcester!) welcomes the wonderful circus to our city! Joe’s office said NO THANKS.  No one was rude to Ringling, no one pontificated. The mayor simply let the circus know that he, representing the city, wanted no part of this travesty.

Wow! My friend and I were encouraged! O’Brien told us to talk with the other city councilors to see if we could get a passing vote. We called/visited the other 10 Worcester City Councilors and made this progress:

* Former District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller was on board! YES from Barb!  Hooray! An owner of a few rescued pit bulls from the surrounding Main South ‘hood in which she lived, Barb was clued into animal suffering and pain. She said she would vote for the ban.

* Past and PRESENT City Councilor Mike Germain also wanted to vote YES! Germain really impressed me! He told me of all the animals he owns and loves and that when he and his girlfriend and her little kid went into a kind of circus tent downtown to see the animals that they were showing the public, he was so appalled by their cramped/inhumane cages/living quarters that he and his girlfriend and her kid turned right around and WALKED OUT! Thank you, Councilor Germain!

* City Councilor Konstantina Lukes was, I believe, on board.  I counted Konnie as a YES because she is a sensitive person, and a cool person and cares about animals and people and our city. She listened to the points I made to her when I visited her. She came outside (walked me to my car) and gave my big old retriever mix Bailey (Bailey, like my Husky dog Jett, always rode with me in my car) a pat. She told me she thought my dog was beautiful! He was! (He had nasal cancer at that point, my Bailey Boy did. He died within the year.)

So with O’Brien, Lukes,  Haller and Germain on board, I was optimistic! Hopeful!

Then the Worcester municipal election came and went, and a different city council – one less progressive/sensitive, I believe – is now “leading” our city. So, of course, City Manager Mike O’Brien has given his blessing to all the animal torture! Of course, the elephants, tired and sad looking, were paraded through our city streets! Last year Ringling Bros. circus even managed to ingratiate themselves with the great people at the Worcester Historical Museum and added their elephants to the city’s World Smiley Day celebration, defiling an otherwise sweet Worcester celebration.

Let’s get back on track, Worcester! Let’s educate ourselves! Let’s educate our city council and city leaders AND BAN THIS HORROR SHOW from our cool, cool city – a city filled with good, smart, down to earth people who know how to care for each other … and the wild animals of the planet.