Canada's seal hunt is in full swing -- and hunters are killing a mind-bogglingly high number of seals, mostly to support the fur trade. As of this week, about 50,000 seals -- most of them just a little older than two weeks -- have been clubbed or shot off Canada's east coast.
While the Canadian government allows these hunts to continue, a quota of 400,000 seals has been set in recent years, making it the largest marine mammal hunt in the world. And even worse -- most of the seals are babies or juveniles, barely able to move on the ice.
"They're these little fat puffballs, living off their blubber," said Sheryl Fink, Wildlife Campaigns Director, for the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Canada. "They're killing animals just as they are weaned from their mothers."
Under the law, baby seals that still have white hair, called "whitecoats," are illegal to kill. But at about two weeks old, this hair starts to molt. According to Fink, who has been observing the commercial seal hunt for 11 years, 90 to 98 percent of the seals killed during the hunt are under 3 months old.