Ban seal hunters from using clubs: Canada premiers
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA (Reuters) - High-profile protests against Canada's annual seal hunt would be less effective if hunters were banned from clubbing the animals to death, say two leading Canadian provincial politicians.
Ottawa will allow hunters to kill 275,000 young seals on ice floes off the eastern coast this year.
Although most animals are shot, some are killed by blows from large spiked hakapik clubs. Animal rights groups often use graphic pictures of the clubbing as part of their campaign to ban the hunt altogether.
Danny Williams, premier of the Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador, called for the hakapik to be banned. He said this might persuade the European Union to ignore pressure to ban the import of seal products.
Hunters and rights activists both said on Wednesday that they were opposed to the idea.
Williams acted after a delegation from Newfoundland and the Arctic territory of Nunavut -- where seals are also hunted -- visited several EU countries.
"Within each (European) country the use of the hakapik was a dominant issue and continues to be viewed in an extremely negative manner," he said in a statement issued jointly with Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik.
"(We were) told repeatedly that a ban of this tool may prove to dispel some of the negative opinions regarding the Canadian seal harvest ... This is an opportunity to disarm (decision makers) of something that is used negatively against our sealers." Continued...