Seal clubbing isn’t an Olympic event, is it?

An unusual campaign by PETA attempts to link the 2010 Games to the seal hunt


The brightly coloured inukshuk that serves as the symbol of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics is, according to the official bumpf, “an eternal expression of the hospitality of a nation that warmly welcomes the people of the world with open arms every day.” It even has a name—Ilanaaq—the Inuktitut word for friend.

seal_hunt_olympicsBut People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the U.S.-based animal rights organization, has come up with a decidedly less wholesome version of the 2010 Games’ most visible trademark: The iconic stone man clubbing a baby seal to death as blood drips from the Olympic rings.

The parody is prominently featured on the group’s website and is serving as the centerpiece of a year-long anti-Games campaign, meant to pressure Canadian politicians to bring an end to the East Coast seal hunt. “This is a time when the whole world is looking at Canada, and it’s a perfect occasion for the country to remove a bloody stain from its international reputation,” says Colleen Higgins, the Atlanta-based organizer of the campaign. “It’s perfect time for the government to step up.”

PETA happily acknowledges the absence of any direct—or even indirect—connection between next year’s international sporting event on the West Coast, and the long-controversial part of the Atlantic fishery, but makes no apologies for hijacking the Games to grab headlines. “What we’re known for is eye-catching demos,” says Higgins. (In recent years, the organization’s greatest media exposure has come through anti-fur ad campaigns featuring semi-naked celebrities.) On Thursday, they fired their most recent salvo: spreading fake blood on the ice of Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. “It represents the hundreds of thousands of seals who lose their lives on the floes off the East Coast every year,” says Higgins. More protests are planned for later this month in Toronto, and at Canadian embassies and consulates around the globe.

So far, VANOC, the Games organizing committee, is taking a low-key approach to the appropriation of Ilanaaq. Although the Olympic movement is legendarily litigious when it comes to protecting its trademarks from unauthorized commercial use, it tends to let parody, satires and artistic representations slide by. VANOC reps declined to comment on-the-record about the PETA campaign, and clearly have little interest in adding fuel to the fire with legal action.

However, the animal rights group, a long-time opponent of the seal hunt, believes its stunts are working, particularly overseas. A recent viral campaign in Germany—which saw the creation of a fake heavy metal band called The Canadians, with a signature tune “Kill, kill,” is up for an advertising award next month. The spoof, created by the Hamburg office of Springer and Jacoby, spread fake tour posters with Iron Maiden style graphics around the country. A Myspace page and Youtube video offered links to PETA, and on-line petitions. Sonia Dicke, a firm representative says the campaign generated 300,000 clicks a week at its height last summer, and that to date, more than 4,500 of the “bands” T-shirts have been sold. And the musicians who performed the anti-sealing dirge—a real heavy metal act called Blackened White—will perform a one-off gig as The Canadians next month at the Art Director’s award ceremonies in Berlin. “It’s a very serious evening,” says Dicke. “Last year, Karl Lagerfeld was there.”

Filed under:

Seal clubbing isn’t an Olympic event, is it?

  1. Sealers are destroying Canada. The seal trade has been banned for decades in US and is about to banned in Europe. Its the largest and most barbaric and cruel wildlife massacre in the world. Most Canadians are getting fed up with the few criminals who rip off the taxpayers and cost Canada hundreds of millions in boycotts. It is basically a mafia operation run by corrupt government officials and is used as an excuse for their destruction of the fishing industry. Even in Newfoundland, where 90% of sealers live, income from sealing accounts for less than one-tenth of 1% of the province’s economy. Seal killers work in several fisheries throughout the year, and off season seal killing only accounts for one twentieth of their total incomes. The total revenue from this horrific off season massacre brought in a pitiful $6 million last year after expenses, while costing Canadian taxpayers over $30 million in subsidies for government offices, overseas pr junkets, coast guard ships, etc. The government also had to step in to buy up tons of rotting flesh that couldn’t be sold. Another indirect subsidy for the taxpayers is that many of the opportunists who perpetrate this collect welfare checks the rest of the year instead of working the available seasonal income. Sealers even destroy the jobs of fishermen; boycotts of Canadian fish products totalled half a billion dollars, including snow crab, the mainstay of Newfoundland fisheries.

    This is a savage justification for a savage act. Canada has no morality and has a record of making a number of species on the east coast extinct, decimating the fish populations and now wreaking havoc on the marine mammals. This is truly a crime, not only against Canada, but against the entire world. Canada’s commercial seal hunt is cruel, unnecessary and unsustainable.

    It’s the largest marine mammal hunt in the world with three million seals killed in the past four years, all pups between two weeks and three months of age. The slaughter is to provide luxury fur items for fashion markets in Europe and elsewhere. The Canadian government freely admits it is commercial and has nothing to do with culling or fish stocks. The scale of the Canadian seal massacres are now bigger than any time in the last 50 years and ice loss due to global warming is affecting seal nurseries. At least half the nurseries disappeared last year. Even the DFO admits that, and it does not have a clue how many are left, it admits that there is no way it can get an accurate count, and “estimates” between 4.5 and 5+million. Based on outside surveys, the real count is close to three million and plummeting. Seals have been threatened once before when Canada went on an orgy of greedy killing, and it is happening again. Not to mention the unspeakable acts of cruelty, which were documented and filmed and presented to the European commission. Acts such as skinning alive and the taking of whitecoasts are commonplace. There is no excuse for this global crime. The commercial killing of seals must be stopped by worldwide boycotts and bans. And the Vancouver Olympics must be represented to the world and boycotted as an event soaked in blood from a renegade and barbaric nation.

    • How about at least one reference to support your diatribe, preferably from an non-partial source.

      • references – yikes! open your eyes!

    • AGREED!

    • Mark, what people are really getting fed up with is your pathetic, two-faced, money grubbing organization. You guys remind me of the old PTL club where a bunch of peons who are manipulated by rhetoric and flashy displays keep pumping cash into a huge financially motivated billion dollar enterprise. One can only imagine the lifestyles of the top folks whom you continue to send your hard earned dollars to.

      Hmmm, PTL, PETA could there be a connection? In any case, in both instances the P should stand for Pathetic.

      • This is crazy! We need to stop this!. it is soo cruel and is giveing canada a bad rep!

  2. The media is complicit in spreading lies about the seal harvest.
    Your headline said “clubbing” when anyone who is informed knows that clubbing rarely occurs. 99% of the seals are killed with rifles. Not that clubbing is inhumane in itself. A sealer can dispatch a seal as humanely as any animal killed in an abattoir.
    Who don’t incarcerate a whole community when one murderer commits a crime so blame all sealer when one is not careful in his method of harvesting.

    Animal rights groups, of course, are not concerned about the animals. Nor are they are concerned about those who make a living from harvesting them. What they are concerned about is raising money and they found this issue a lucrative one. It would be interesting to compare the lifestyle of the executives of those groups with that of the sealer.
    They do not engage in campaigns re the killing of cows or pigs or chicken, fish, shrimp or crab. Many of those are not treated as humanely. They never campaign about plunging a live lobster into boiling water. I guess lobsters are ugly and don’t generate large cash returns. (to animal rights people)
    Cattle on large free range lands are part wild. Wild horses are slaughtered., no less humanely than seals.
    Anti seal harvesting people would not dare take their fight to those who are very willing to fight back.
    They are only concerned with what brings them the greater financial return and with the least resistance.
    And to hell with poor harvesters who wish to supplement their already incomes and are able to pay for music lessons or a pair of skates for their kids or a more appropriate present for their spouse; something that PETA, IFAW and members of other so-called animal rights groups never have concern themselves with.
    The media keeps helping them spread their vicious lies to the gullible uninformed. What a vile unscrupulous way to make a living.

    • Here’s an idea! Why don’t you get your facts straight. Even better, why don’t you go out their and witness the slaughter. I guess some people like yourself figure “down with everything” and don’t give a hoot but find it entertaining to push your way around. You are exactly like the sealers; ignorant, self-centered and righteous – with no value to add to anything. Here’s a novel idea: why don’t you think about what comes out of your mouth and put use your energy in positive ways. Don’t go on about what you know nothing about. The facts about the seal hunt are out there and you are part of a majority that couldn’t give a damn about anything… so why don’t you just keep your misery to yourself. Give people who are trying to make the world a better place for animals that cannot speak for themselves a break. Find a hole to crawl into. I hope people like you die in the same way that these poor creatures do.

  3. The Canadian confederation is nothing short of A Tragedy of the commons (minority prov/colonies) at the hands of our Tyranny of the majority (national PROXY parties of the Upper/Lower Canada majority) in there never ending quest for power!

  4. “PETA happily acknowledges the absence of any direct—or even indirect—connection between next year’s international sporting event on the West Coast, and the long-controversial part of the Atlantic fishery, but makes no apologies for hijacking the Games to grab headlines.

    As an aside, I wonder, does VANOC happily acknowledges the absence of any direct—or even indirect—connection between the Inukshuk and Olympic sports, or Vancouver, or the aboriginal culture and history of the area?

    In fact, there is a closer connection between the Inukshuk and sealing since the Inuit stil hunt seal.

  5. What a goofy protest!

    Mark: I can’t find a single number from a reliable source that can back up your claims! In fact, snow crab sales have been steadily increasing over the last ten years. Your argument has no merit. Seals are a natural resource that can be harvested in a sustainable way. The conservation status of the harbour seal is set at “least concern”.

    Canada is a renegade and barbaric nation? That is a little inflamatory.

    • Excellent point Steve,

      Seals are hunted in the same fashion as moose, deer etc. As mentioned above the vast majority are killed via a riffle with a fraction being clubbed.

      How can they say it’s not humane? Regardless if it’s a riffle or a club, the baby seals die instantly.

      What about chickens? They are stunned with electricity. Does that seem more humane then a club? Preconceived notions of clubs is what’s fueling this debate.

      They’re a resource, they can be hunted, they have been for thousands of years, and the individuals who are making these claims are receiving a skewed form of the truth.

  6. The Inuit have been hunting seal in a sustainable manner for generations. They should be allowed to continue!

  7. If you have never eaten BBQ seal meat, your opinions do not count. We could have a whole new meat product in restaurants and dinner tables and at BBQ’s all over Canada. I vote that Seal Klubbing becomes a new Olympic sport! I can’t believe there are still people who waste their time trying to stop this minimalist hunt. Go protest something worthy like child trafficiking.

    • This comment was deleted.

  8. These acts against baby seals are not only a bloody smear on Canada but also an abomination of innosence and purity,all babies either they be human or baby seals are born pure no sin no tainting but purity in all its forms they are hunting and doing horrible deeds to the source itsself and it must cease and desist A.S.A.P period and yes i am Canadian born and bred here i plan on a two to three week hunger strike to end the slaughter on a mass scale of the innocence.For who and what resides in the source but God himself.This war that is raging on nature from man must end for if nature strikes back humankind don’t stand a chance just as the baby seals don’t stand a chance during their slaughters.
    God bless to all the supporters at stopping this

    • Great, and after your hunger strike (presumably) leads to the end of the seal hunt, will you then launch another to protest the deaths of baby cows, and another to protest the deaths of baby chickens and yet another to protest the untimely deaths of unusually small fish? After all, if the death of baby seals, in all of their “innocence and purity,” is such a tragedy, surely it is the same for all members of the animal kingdom?

      • …or is it just that baby seals are cute and fuzzy and therefore more deserving of being rescued from “slaughter?”

    • Windtalker, keep us posted on the hunger strike, unless of course it is just the wind talking.

  9. As a concerned family, we strongly urge you, an unbiased reporter “of the people”, to voice our disapproval of the Canadian seal hunt and be instrumental in our call for its immediate demise.

    The Canadian seal hunt is simply wrong. Killing baby seals for fur, oil and/or meat is fundamentally unethical, barbaric and truly un-Canadian in today’s views. The rest of the world has realized this, along with the majority of Canadian citizens –why hasn’t our Government?

    We, the people, demand that the seal hunt is legislatively banned forever. We are not interested in debating new and improved technical killing measures. We are not tolerant to financially funding the slaughter through tax dollars. We are unsympathic to the hunts purpose and history. We, the majority of Canadians, are however, sincerely determined in supporting the end to the seal hunt along with the United States and now the European Union. We most urgently, profoundly and steadfastly expose the Canadian Government for its undemocratic and unjust support for the seal hunt and demand for its end.

    Canadians will no longer keep the silence. Canadians will no longer bury their heads in shame. Although we are well known in the International community as peacekeepers, the peace will no longer be kept. Our reputation is now stained. Until the hunt is ended, our family and others are committed to boycotting Canadian seafood and avoiding Newfoundland and Labrador for travel. We are dedicated to spreading this word and campaigning at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, if required.

    Action is now required. The seal hunt must be banned immediately. Legislation must be changed forever. New skills, trades and jobs must be created for this lost industry (Green technologies, travel tourism/seal watching). Will you please be instrumental in this change? In bringing back peace and pride to Canadians by aiding the end of the seal hunt today? Please let readers know of the majority support for the Senator Mac Harb seal bill and ask all to take action now.


    Yvette Fox-DellaVedova Rodney DellaVedova

    • Rather presumptuous of you to insinuate that you speak for all Canadians isn’t it. Where exactly are the facts that support your presumption? You and your ilk (ie: PETA) think that by never killing wildlife the entire world will live in harmony. You need to get your head out of the sand and try to understand the responsibility of mankind to control populations of the animal kingdom so that all will benefit and thrive.
      If future please excuse me from your assumption, I expect there may be others.

  10. no matter what anyone thinks (cause we all have our own opinions) i personally think that seal clubbing should be minimezed, we kill cows, pigs, chickens… its all the same (pretty much) so minimize it, make it more humain we breed cows & pigs & what not for harvesting, so, if you really like seal meat, some one should start a seal farm type thing.
    hey, its just an idea…

    (for all the nin-com-poops! its pronounced SHA-LEE-SA! not shalissa! or whatever)

    • I have no problem with hunting for food, I am not a vegetariana but I love animals but if an animal is killed swiftly and I don't mean by clubbing as that is just evil then to me it is ok. I eat meat so would be a hypocrite to say it is wrong to kill for meat but there are ways in which to do it so as to not cause distress or ongoing pain to the animal. Pigs in my country are kept in cramped tight cages with no room to move. They live a miserable life before they are killed. The are super intelligent animals and they are subjected to alot of pain, distress (they start eating the prison bars with which contains them) and our pathetic government is very slow in stopping this. I would like to see all animal cruelty stopped or minimized.

  11. a problem with seal hunting is that around 80% of the seal is wasted

Sign in to comment.