Petition to Stop the BC Seal Cull Before it Starts

Numerous readers of this blog have asked us what they can do to help voice their concern about the seal cull before it starts.

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We have discovered – and signed – this petition directed at Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries for the DFO Canada. If you’d like to do the same, here’s the link.

It's an easy thing to do. So easy, some ask if there’s any value to signing petitions. To which we respond: “Of course there is!” is the world’s largest e-petitioning website. Under its “victories” page, the organization lists many successful campaigns (including abolishment of the tampon tax to ending the sale of eggs from caged hens in UK supermarkets).

This particular petition, penned by the Animal Alliance of Canada, states the facts as follows:

“An annual quota to kill thousands of pinnipeds, seals and sea lions, is being proposed by a group of commercial and sport fishers called the Pacific Balance Pinniped Society (PBPS).  They initially want to cut the current population in half by killing 50,000 pinnipeds in a derby style cull with rifles, clubs, and crossbows. We are trying to stop this inhumane, unscientific, and profit driven mass killing before it starts.

Why is this happening?

PBPS has been trying to convince the public and the government that there is an overpopulation of pinnipeds in the Salish Sea which are compromising the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) population. They argue that the pinnipeds are eating too many juvenile chinook salmon which the SRKWs eat once they have matured.

However, the true reason for their proposal is that they want to create a market for seal and sea lion meat and skin on the west coast of Canada. There is evidence they are sending samples from 30 seals, killed by First Nations, to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to test and see if it is safe for human and animal consumption. 


Is there evidence to support a need for a cull?

No. This is a classic bait and switch by the fishing industry to try and blame other wildlife for the decline of the SRKW population, when it is the fishing industry itself who has contributed significantly to the decline. 

Seals were hunted relentlessly by the fishing industry, who see them as competition, in decades past until their numbers were down to only about 10,000. At that point the government stepped in to protect them. Their population has recovered and has been stable for 20 years. There is no evidence to support overpopulation in this context. 

Furthermore, transient killer whale populations eat seals and reducing their numbers significantly could have adverse effects on this population. Also, only about 4% of a seals diet is salmon with the rest being primarily hake and herring. Hake are a major salmon smolt predator, so killing seals could increase the population of hake and further decrease the salmon population. 

No matter how you cut it, killing seals to save salmon is just bad science. 


The bottom line

Killing one group of animals to protect another that are suffering due to anthropogenic causes is unethical, bad public policy, and could have significant negative consequences on other species and their ecosystem. 

However, there is substantial evidence to support that we need to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whale population by decreasing commercial and recreational marine traffic in their environment, place a moratorium on chinook salmon fisheries, and create protected areas for them to live without human interference. 

We cannot allow profit-driven industry dictate irresponsible wildlife management policy to our federal government. That is why we are calling on the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Jonathan Wilkinson, to stop this seal slaughter before it starts — do not endorse the killing of seals and sea lions.”

Jordan Reichert

Animal Alliance of Canada

The Animal Alliance of Canada (AAC) is a federally incorporated non-profit organization committed to the protection of all animals and to the promotion of a harmonious relationship among humans, non-humans and the environment. As a non-profit, they use electoral politics and lobbying as strategies to make the legislators pass sound animal and environmental protection laws.

AAC was founded in August of 1990. They have supporters across Canada and are funded entirely by private donations. If you would like to donate, click here.