Still not sure?
Does the Universal Declaration protect seals?
Yes. The principles of the Universal Declaration protect all seal species because these principles are based on the conservation principles of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as on the philosophy emphasizing the “rational use” of natural resources advocated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (UICN), the world’s largest and most respected conservation organization. If, despite all conservation efforts, scientists find the seal population decreasing to the point of near extinction, the Declaration’s principles require that sealing should be banned until the threat disappears.
Preamble 6 and 8, and sections 3.1, 4.1, 4.3, 5.1, 5.5 and 7.2
Does the Universal Declaration protect ecosystems?
Yes, the principles of the Declaration are based on the environmental knowledge of Aboriginal peoples and their expertise in terms of balance between living species. Therefore, the Declaration considers that man and animal are part of the same ecosystem and that, in this context, man bears the heavy burden of preserving the ecosystem for future generations. This means that man has the moral authority to kill seals in order to regulate the ecosystem and protect all living species.
Preamble 4, 5 and 9, and sections 1.1, 3.2 and 4.2
Does the Universal Declaration protect human communities?
Yes. The Declaration’s clearly defined principles recognize that, as an integral part of the food chain, man can legitimately use natural resources for his subsistence and health and to maintain traditions and carry out trade, while respecting ecological balance.
Preamble 1, 2 and 7, and sections 3.1, 3.3, 3.4 and 7.1
Why will the Universal Declaration change the opinion on sealing?
- Because the Declaration proposes to all countries involved in sealing a shared vision of the relationship between man and animal that is based on science, respect, awareness and conservation regarding ecosystems and biological diversity for future generations.
Preamble 6 and sections 1.1, 5.1 and 5.2
- Because the Declaration proposes that sealing around the world be universally based on the most current scientific standards, meeting the highest animal protection criteria.
Preamble 4 and sections 5.3 and 5.4
- Because the Declaration proposes that sealers be certified to ensure that they are always trained in the latest developments in animal welfare science.
Preamble 3 and sections 5.5, 6.1 and 6.2
Could the seal save human lives?
Yes. By encouraging scientific research on seal products, the Declaration gives researchers the opportunity to develop new bioprosthetic devices made from seal organs, such as heart valves or windpipes, which could benefit patients in the near future. This could be carried out according to sound ecosystem management principles.
Read the press release by Dr. Andreas Agathos, Director Cardiac Surgery Athens Medical Center.
Read the French newspaper article.
Do environmental groups support the conservation principles, such as those contained in the Declaration?
Yes. At the beginning of 2009, Nature Québec, a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and IWMC World Conservation Trust took a clear position in favour of a rational use of seals that would not endanger the species or the ecosystem.
Read the Nature Québec press release
– in French.
Read the IWMC World Conservation Trust document
– in English.
Read the WWF press release
– in English.
Why have I always been told that sealing is cruel?
The problem is knowing who says so. Independent veterinarians promoting animal welfare, Nature Québec and Aboriginal peoples say the opposite. According to Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust, an independent pathologist, an article published in 2002 in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, reported that 98% of more than 300 animals examined during the Canadian seal hunt had been killed in an appropriate manner. That’s the word of independent scientists, environmentalists and First Nations peoples against the word of vegetarian lobbies.
Based on science and ethics, the principles of the Declaration are clear: sealing around the world must be universally based on the most current scientific standards meeting the highest animal protection criteria and hunters must be trained and certified in the latest developments in animal welfare science (sections 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 6.1 and 6.2).
Could climate change threaten seals?
Impossible to say. A July 2007 study by the Library of Parliament of Canada highlights the complexity of ecosystems; differences in the eating, reproductive and migratory behaviours of seal species; and variations in the seal predator population, all of which suggests that some species could benefit from climate change while others could be harmed.
That’s why the Declaration endorses the precautionary principle that resource management must be prudent and include an unpredictability factor because of climate change (section 4.3).