In the face of this unimaginable suffering, there is hope. As our evidence of the seals' suffering reaches compassionate people around the globe year after year, governments are taking action. To date, more than 35 nations - including the United States, Russia and the European Union - have banned their trade in some or all products of commercial seal hunts.
With markets for seal products closing fast, prices for seal fur in Canada have crashed. No longer able to turn a profit, most sealers have chosen not to participate in the slaughter in recent years. As a result, more than 1.8 million baby seals have been spared a horrible fate.
This year, in light of the closed markets, many hoped that the commercial seal hunt might not happen. But days ago, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced a massive taxpayer-funded bailout for seal processors: $2 million in public financing to purchase the skins of tens of thousands of baby seals.
The hardest thing I do is bear witness to the suffering of dying baby seals. To know they will meet such a gruesome end - only so that their skins can be used for fashion or just collect dust in a warehouse - is unbearable. My only comfort is the knowledge that every year, we move a bit closer to our goal of stopping the slaughter for good. I know the day will come when the stunning wildlife spectacle of the harp seal nursery is no longer seen as a resource to exploit, but rather a national treasure to protect.