While the majority of seals are hunted with firearms, 10% are still slaughtered by means of bludgeoning them with a hakapik. This rudimentary device of Norwegian design consists of a heavy wooden club fitted with a hammer head (for crushing the seals skulls) and a hook (for dragging the seals corpses across the ice.) The use of a hakapik is preferred in certain circles as it causes less damage to the pelt and is cheaper than using bullets.
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Age of seals
In 1972, the US government implemented the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This Act outlaws the hunting and import of "white-coats" and "blue-backs" The reason for this is that these animals are still dependent on the teat. The EEC banned the import of "white-coats" in 1983 while Canada banned the commercial hunting of "white-coats" and "blue-backs" in December of 1987.
Despite this ban, illegal hunting continues. In 1996, Canadian authorities seized 22 800 "blueback" pelts that had been slaughtered during the commercial hunt. Contrary to popular belief, the hunting of "white-coats" is still permitted in Canada for personal use and is stipulated as such under section 27 of the Marine Mammals Regulations.
While we acknowledge that the hunting of "white-coats" has been outlawed under the commercial hunt, we refute claims made by both the Canadian government and the Canadian Sealers Association (a pro hunt lobby group set up to promote the hunt through misinformation) that baby seals are not being slaughtered.
Harp seals, which can live for 30-35 years and only reach sexual maturity between 4-6 years, are targeted by the sealers when they are between 3 weeks and 3 months of age. Many of these have not yet taken to the water or eaten their first solid meal. It should be quite evident to any thinking person that these animals are indeed still babies.