Norway is one of the few countries still engaged in seal hunting, despite the EU and several other countries condemning the hunt. NOAH works hard to end the suffering of seal pups clubbed to death. Please help us!
In Norway, the seal hunt is nearly fully state-subsidized. A majority of Norwegian citizens strongly disagree with subsidizing the hunt, but are still unwillingy financing the hunt via their taxes. The killing methods are condemned worldwide: The sealers arrive while the seal pups are still too young to enter the water, and are left on the ice by their mothers. The regulations in Norway allow seal pups to be killed by firearms shot from the moving boat and by the use of a club called «hakapik«.
Norway’s commercial seal hunt occurs mainly on the ice floes of the Greenland Sea, in an area called the West Ice. These are the breeding grounds for thousands of Harp Seals. Adult seals are shot from the ships, and then clubbed to shatter their skulls. Seal pups can be clubbed to death on the ice, without being shot beforehand. Seal pups are also shot many at the time from the boat, and are not checked for unconsciousness and death until later. Both methods, the shooting of seals, and the clubbing, are inhumane and cruel. When seals are shot the hunters are shooting moving targets, on ice that is in constant motion, from ships in constant motion. This involves a high ammount of seals in risk of being wounded and suffering.
With the methods used in Norway, veterinary reports have documented a high percentage of animals suffering, and animals likely to have been skinned while still alive. The documentation is based on filming from the air during hunt, and from examinations of the seals skulls. They conclude that «the capture results in significant and unacceptable suffering».
Sealers convicted of cruelty towards animals
In 2009 an animal welfare inspector documented seals being «hooked» and pulled onto the ships, while still being alive. Through video and photos she documented the sealers shooting seals and intentionally wounding them to get them to lay still on the ice, and seals being shot and wounded while swimming in the water. These sealers were convicted of animal abuse in 2010, and received one of the largest fines for animal abuse in Norway. During the trials the whole seal industry supported those on trial and claimed that what they did should not be illegal, and this was how seals where hunted most efficiently.
Working to end the seal hunt
NOAH has been a strong protester against seal hunting for over 30 years, and among other things has contributed to the EU’s ban on the import and sale seal products. Since 1989 time, NOAH has worked with public opinion in Norway, and now 68 % of Norwegians are against the subsidies to the hunt (15 % in favour), whereas 56% are against the hunt itself (27% in favour). NOAH has worked to end state subsidies for the hunt, and for a ban on seal hunting.
From March 2020 the Norwegian government decided to change the regulations on seal hunting in regards to the outbreak of COVID-19. Both the hunt in 2020 and 2021 were allowed to go on without animal welfare inspectors on board, and without the previously mandatory training of the crew members. NOAH initiated a large protest where thousands of Norwegians joined in on a online protest to stop the hunt. Now we are in need of international help to make the Norwegian government put a final end to the cruel seal hunt, and the use of taxpayers money to conduct the hunt. We are asking people all over the world to join us, and to please consider donating to our work! Please also sign NOAHs petition against the seal hunt!
Veterinary Report: Canadian Commercial Seal Hunt Prince Edwards Island, IFAW (2001).
REGULATION (EC) No 1007/2009 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on trade in seal products, Official Journal of the European Union (2009).