The following is direct testimony from sealers, taken by Department of Fisheries and Oceans staff. It was obtained through Access to Information laws, and contains graphic descriptions of animal cruelty. To date, seven charges have been laid as a result of the investigation, but only one had resulted in a court hearing.
- The use of 22 caliber rifles to shoot seals has been outlawed for humane reasons - the guns are not powerful enough to kill seals quickly.
- When mothers are killed and their newborn pups abandoned on the ice, there is no chance of survival for the pup. In every case, the baby seal would have starved to death slowly.
"Prior to March 8/98 most females were killed with the pup inside them. I seen seven pups threw over the side after the female was pelted. I took two out myself. Me and another sealer even agreed that this was shocking and there should be another way to hunt seals. We were in the whelping on March 10/98 because I observed that eight of tens pans of ice had young pups with the after birth and other debris from the birth on the ice. There was once I can remember the young seal watching his parents being hoist aboard. He watched the boat as we steamed away. The pups were not killed but left by themselves on the ice." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, June 10/98
"I did see some mother seals killed and the pup fall out on deck still alive. (Deleted) told me to throw it overboard and I did. It crawled up on a pan of ice. The mother was full of milk, the milk ran out on deck when the pup fell out." Sealer's statement, taken by Cyril Furlong, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, June 24/98
"I was present when female Hood seals were pelted and did see pups fall out of the female on deck. I seen this happen twice and know that it happened eight to ten times during the first trip. I knew this happened because of conversations with the crew. The two pups that I saw on deck were alive. The pups were threw over board and on one occasion I did see one of these pups swimming in the water. I don't know what happened to the pups." Sealer's statement, taken by Cyril Furlong, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, July 3/98, 15:33 hrs
"I seen a female being pelted and the pup came out of her when they cut her open, the pup was dead. This seal was killed for a while. This was on the day we got one hundred and seventy. Someone passed the comment, 'If Green peace were only here to see this.'" Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, June 22/98, 15:15 hrs
"We did take female Hoods and leave the pups on the ice. I was on deck when a pup fell out of a female Hood seals and I pelted the seal along with two other crewmembers. I can't recall who they were. The pup was alive when it fell out. I killed the pup and threw it over the side." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, July 6/98, 3:51 pm
"We were hunting for adult seals and on several times we took the old seals and left the pups on the ice. The Hood seals pupped while we were out there hunting. We did take seals before they had pups on one occasion. I did see a pup fall out on deck while the female was being pelted. This pup was alive and it was threw overboard. The pup was alive and swimming in the water. The pup crawled up on the ice." Sealer's statement, taken by Cyril Furlong, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, July 6/98, 11:11 AM
"My job was pelting seals and using the gun. I was present when the female Hood was being pelted and young pup fell out of her onto the deck, This happened eight or ten times. There were lots of comments made for example, 'If we only had a video camera we would make a fortune' and 'We should never be allowed out killing them'"
"There were lots of times that the male and female were killed and taken on board and the pup left on the ice, sometimes the pup had blood on it as it was just born. We had approximately five hundred and fifty seals for the trip, approximately four hundred were hood seals of which at least one hundred and fifty were females."
"The seals were always in a net bag in the speed boat, when they were hoist on board there were numerous 22 caliber rifle casings among the seals. They were often kicking around the deck of the longliner, I seen the observer Rex Hodder pick them up and throw them over aboard. He had to know that the 22 guns were being used. They even make a different sound to the heavier gun. There was an effort to hide these guns from Rex Hodder. They were passed down through the vents in the engine room. They were kept in cases while in the two speed boats. We landed something over three thousand seals fro the trip. We got in somewhere around the 21st of April, 1998. I don't think that the 22 caliber rifle is powerful enough to kill even a beater seal. I often seen seals alive after we hoist the seals them out of the speed boats. We would finish them off with a hakapik." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, June 24/98, 19:40 hrs
"All the females we took, the pups were left on the ice. The pup was left on the ice after the female was killed and taken on board." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, July 14/98
"Sometimes he told me to kill the make and female and sometimes to kill the male only. The pup was always left. It seemed he told me to kill everything when seals were scarce. Sometimes the seals were not that old because there was blood where they were born."
"At the end of the day everyone would lend a hand pelting seals. There were two or three cut out of the female while she was being pelted, they were killed and threw over aboard. There was a lot of talk as to weather this was right or a good thing to be doing. Everyone was aware of it."
"The best day we done, we took approximately one hundred and eighty. We wee taking make and females that day and this was towards the end of the trip. There were a lot of pups around and they were all left on the ice. The following day we killed some females that were accompanied by the male and pup."
"The four of us were present when the pups were cut out of the female, (deleted) were aware of this also. We had approximately eight hundred seals for the trip and about one quarter or better would be females." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, July 10/98, 19:15 hrs
"During the second trip we left fifteen or twenty pups alone after taking the family. There were mistakes made by killing pregnant female hoods, this happened approximately six times but they never came out on deck. I am an experienced sealer so I knew they were pregnant. We were not saving the meat so the pup went over aboard with the carcass." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, August 11/98, 16:50 hrs
"There were a few occasions when we took the make and female Hood seals and left the pup on the ice. I observed on two occasions for the trip pups falling out of the female while being pelted on deck. The two pups I observed were alive and were thrown over the side. I seen these pups crawl up on the ice after we threw them over aboard."
"I probably killed three to four hundred seals with the 22 caliber rifleâ€¦There was conversations between the skipper and myself and the crew to make an effort to hide the 22 rifles from the observer." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, June 29/98, 10:45 hrs
"After the females were pelted and pups fell out onto the deck the pups were thrown over the side. I did see a couple move around in the water behind the boat. They appeared to be alive and swimming. We watched a seal that came out of the old one on deck try to get up on a pan of ice. It did not get up to my knowledge. This did bother me to see seals flapping around in the water and trying to get up on the ice." Sealer's statement, taken by Fergus Foley, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, June 28/98, 16:30 hrs