5 Reasons Why I Support the Canadian Seal Hunt

seal skin, fur, seal hunt, canadian fashion

Two weeks ago I went to NAFFEM, a large fur tradeshow in Montreal. I was invited as a blogger, to check out the beautiful pieces and choose some of my favourites items for sale at the show. I am a huge supporter of the Canadian fur industry (read about my reasons here) but I’ve been less vocal about the seal hunt, primarily because I didn’t have enough information to make an informed opinion about it. Well, now I do, and I would like to share it with you because I think it is important.

seal skin, fur, seal hunt, canadian fashion

Seal skin dyes really well, I love this pink pelt.

1. Seals are a sustainable resource and are in abundance. We live in a world where resources have become an issue, and many of us are choosing to consume products that come from renewable resources. Seal is a great example of this – there are tons of them in Canada and they are not at all at threat of becoming endangered. Speaking of sustainability, seals are part of the reason why fish stocks are very low (although overfishing is also a big issue) and the seal hunt not only provides jobs and resources for the hunters, but also allows the fish populations to regenerate (a bit.) All major conservation groups will agree that a responsible use of resources (like hunting seals for food and clothing) is a good thing, and is often the central principle of modern conservation.

2. Seals are local. The green topic is a big one right now, and part of the green movement focuses on buying local. Canada has a lot of great resources, but when it comes to fashion, few are 100% Canadian. Nearly all of our fashion products are in some way sourced from overseas (where it be raw materials or construction) but seal skin and wild fur are 100% free range, local products.

seal skin, fur, seal hunt, canadian fashion

The seal skin mittens I bought for my son.

3. The seal hunt supports Canadian communities. There are two major seal hunts in Canada, one in the Arctic sea (seals hunted by Inuit people) and one on the East Coast (a commercial seal hunt.) Both provide jobs and resources for those people. The meat is eaten, the fat is used for a variety of products, and the skin is sold so that these people can support themselves. Food, as you may know, is extremely expensive in the Arctic, and there are limited jobs in that area, or in the Maritimes. The seal hunt is a very important Canadian industry for the people who depend on it.

4. The seal hunt is not inhumane. The animal rights activists will have you believe that the seal hunt is inhumane, but this is not the case. First of all, most seals are killed with rifles (not clubbed to death.) Secondly, there have been numerous studies done on the seal hunt, and biologists and veterinarians have all agreed that the seal hunt is no less humane than any other hunt.

seal skin, fur, seal hunt, canadian fashion

Seal skin slippers for babies and toddlers.

5. The media paints an unfair picture. My question, after having learnt all the above, was why does the seal hunt have such a bad reputation? There are two answers to this. First of all, seals are cute, and people are more likely to be protective of cute animals. If we were all truly concerned about cruelty and sustainability, why aren’t we doing more to save fish? Many species of fish are far more at risk than seals, yet their not-so-cute appearance doesn’t exactly inspire people to campaign for them. (Notice how we care more that our tuna is “dolphin safe” but so much if that particular tuna is endangered.) Secondly, the seal hunt is a much more visible than other hunts, and the access to it allows for more imagery. The seal hunt happens in certain places at very specific times, and so it is very easy for activists to turn up and take photos of blood on the ice. Those same activists aren’t invited into abattoirs, and therefore we don’t have the same images in our head of cows or sheep. The fact that seals are cute, and that we have access to photos of them being killed, means the seal hunt has been very unfairly portrayed by the media and activist groups.

Many of us are so far removed from nature, farming, and hunting, and it is so easy to forget that our food comes from the land. While I will admit I don’t like seeing photos of any dead animals, I do appreciate the process and am under no illusions about the realities of eating meat and wearing animal products. For those of us who do choose to consume animals, the best we can do is consume sustainable resources that are treated humanely – and the seal hunt is just that.

Here’s a video of me at the fur trade show. Just to remind all my readers… I am totally open to comments from people who disagree with me – but please don’t be rude!

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  • Jekka

    I’m a fan of leather, I think Fur is just fine, just like you said, Renewability and efficiency.
    I’m still looking for fur clothing for men though.

  • Harp

    if the $100 million donation is for protecting the seal, why would they build animal shelter? O, you mean animal shelter for the seal? how do you do that?

  • Diana

    Disgusting. again killing animals for money. You are as guilty as the ones killing. Get a freakin life or get a real job.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Killing animals for money so that people can buy food and shelter – I wouldn’t call that disgusting.

  • Joe Bloggs

    “They just use them in order to avoid getting real jobs and pretending that they are working to protect the world or they are fallen stars that need something to keep their names in the media.”


  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    No source needed. It’s fact. The anti-sealing groups are a waste of space.

  • Joe Bloggs

    Ok, it’s a fact. Could you please provide proof for this please?

  • arnaud

    Please ! overfishing is the main and biggest reason why fisk stocks are in huge decline : millions of people eating suchis everyday : doest it ring a bell to anyone ? seals like all animals are not (only) natural resources but sensitive creatures. It is aknowledged by scientist and veterinarians that mamals feel pain and stress like us.
    For the rest of your arguments, i totally understand the inuit lifestyle as a subsistence lifestyle but certainly not as a global trade. what is the limit ? For more integrity you should have recalled that 85% of the fur produced today comes from factory farming : places where animals are caged their entire lives for the most frivolous thing : fashion. But this is not what fashion is about. fashion should stay fun, positive and light, the opposite of the fur trade. I totally support faux fur for people who really want to have that look.

  • Garvie

    Have you read the whole article? There are plenty of people in the seal hunt that eat the meat. Have you ever had to pay $17.00 dollars for milk? No I don’t think so. So people that live up in the north what are they to eat? SNOW?? Vegetable from Mexico? Tofu? Flashed dried chemically preserved vegan food? Ok so now how do they pay for it? Selling ice? At least they use ever part of the seal.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    People who are against the seal hunt don’t bother to try and understand why it happens and who the hunt provides for. There’s no point even attempting to convince them. Let’s just drop them into the Arctic instead.