The bloodiest and most heartbreaking animal slaughter is carried out and subsidized by the Canadian Government.

Harp seals are the primary target of the commercial seal hunt, and to a much smaller extent, hooded seals are also killed. In 2006, 98 percent of the harp seals killed were pups under just three months of age.

The Canadian Marine Mammal Regulations, which govern the hunt, stipulate sealers may kill seals with wooden clubs, hakapiks (large ice-pick-like clubs) and guns. In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, clubs and hakapiks are the killing implement of choice, and in the Front, guns are more widely used.

It is important to note that each killing method is demonstrably cruel. Because sealers shoot at seals from moving boats, the pups are often only wounded. The main sealskin processing plant in Canada deducts $2 from the price they pay for the skins for each bullet hole they find—therefore sealers are loath to shoot seals more than once. As a result, wounded seals are often left to suffer in agony—many slip beneath the surface of the water where they die slowly and are never recovered.

Shockingly, veterinarians found that in 42 percent of the cases they studied, the seals had likely been skinned alive while conscious.

The commercial seal hunt is an activity that Canada's federal government could easily replace with economic alternatives, should it choose to do so.

According to reports from the Canadian Institute for Business and the Environment, more than $20 million in subsidies were provided to the sealing industry between 1995 and 2001. THIS IS DESPICABLE!

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