For the last decade, The HSUS and Humane Society International staff has braved extreme weather conditions and hostile sealers to expose the commercial sealing industry's mass clubbing and shooting of baby seals in Atlantic Canada. We've encouraged journalists, scientists, members of the European Parliament, and other key players to come to the ice floes to see exactly what happens, and to help us tell the world about the inhumane killing and waste of marine life.
Our work, along with the footage and other documentation we've shared, has resulted in the closing of much of the global market for seal products. In fact, earlier this year, an appellate panel of the World Trade Organization established that animal welfare is a legitimate criterion for restricting trade, largely upholding the European Union's critical ban on trade in products of commercial seal hunts.
As a result of this global campaign, prices for seal skins in Canada have crashed, and it's only because of multi-pronged subsidies provided by the country's provincial and federal governments that some sealers continue to participate in the annual slaughter. Despite the government's efforts to prop up the hunt through subsidies, we've helped spare more than 1.8 million baby seals since 2009 alone. The government sets quotas and each year commercial sealers fall far short because there are so few remaining markets for seal products.