Bang your own head, not a seal’s


Humane Society International and head-banging musicians were some of many groups this year calling upon the Canadian government to cancel the 2011 commercial seal killings. Seal hunting, or sealing, takes place frequently in Canada, where about 67,000 seals were executed in 2010.

Every year, migrating seals and their babies are clubbed over the head and killed for the purpose of selling their fur on the international market.

Once the seals are bludgeoned, sealers hook them in the eyes, cheeks or mouth, and drag them across the ice, often while they are still conscious. The European Union and the U.S. have banned seal products, said Blabbermouth, and leaders like Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have spoken out against the atrocity.

Now, metal musicians have passionately joined the fight against this injustice.

PETA has teamed with Canadian metalcore group The Agonist in order to launch a campaign to stop sealing. Led by vegan animal rights activist Alissa White-Gluz, The Agonist are defenders against animal killings and are supportive of environmental issues in general. They further their cause through their powerful, socially conscious lyrics, and by uniting with animal rights groups to create positive change.

In a report PETA report, Alissa and PETA encouraged everyone to write to the Canadian government and protest the seal killing, calling the annual massacre "Canada's shame." In an interview conducted with White-Gluz, who was born in Montreal, she stated, "The seal hunt is something I'm so ashamed to be remotely associated with. I'm shocked that it's still going on and still encouraged by the government."

White-Gluz encouraged other metal fans and activists to buy only cruelty-free care products, and to write to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and express their concerns over these acts of barbarity.

Experimental metal band The Dillinger Escape Plan also united with PETA against sealing, and launched ad campaigns that had a simple message: "End the slaughter." Moreover, on the band's Twitter, guitarist Benjamin Weinman wrote, "Get involved. Trust me - slaughtering seals is not metal!"

This year, sealing is more dangerous than it has perhaps ever been. According to Humane Society International, harp seals began giving birth on Canadian beaches three months too early.

"In 2010, a record low sea-ice cover forced mother seals to attempt to give birth on shore," said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of HSI/Canada. As a result, "Predation and starvation caused the helpless pups to perish. Currently, we are seeing a major disruption in the seals' whelping cycle and more land births. Until the scientific community fully understands the implications of this new phenomenon, its relation to climate change and the future impacts on the harp seal population, no responsible government can allow a commercial seal slaughter to occur."

In an interview with Noisecreep, White-Gluz said, "Commercial seal slaughter is obviously cruel, but it's also an example of government waste. Canada spends millions in taxpayer funds each year subsidizing this massacre, even though income from the slaughter accounts for less than one percent of the economy of Newfoundland, where it takes place."

A blog called All Animals Matter called sealing "bloody business," and included the tragic account by HSI's Aldworth of having to watch the procedure being carried out.

"You see them wriggling across the ice," she said. "You see them try to escape, and you feel their terror. The ProtectSeals team traveled to the seal killing area by our boat, documenting it from 30 meters away. We witnessed so many seals dying, as sealers descended on the wounded, struggling animals with wooden bats. I will never be able to forget the agonizing assault."

Having witnessed the particularly brutal punishment of a seal pup, Aldworth concluded sadly, "I want the world to remember this seal - his cries of protest are echoing in my mind and I want them to sound across the world. I want everyone to hear as I did the cries of a wounded baby seal who doesn't understand why he is being hurt. And hearing those cries, know as I do that this slaughter simply has to stop."

Photo: In a protest at the Ottawa Hampton Inn, PETA members ask Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put an end to seal hunting. Courtesy PETA.

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  • This novel and inspiring aspect of the heavy metal music community seems to be a 21st century phenomenon. That form of music had always been outspoken before but the recent influx of vegan and animal rights commentary via performers and supporters of alternative aggressive music seems to be part of a particularly positive branch of the genre at large

    From a purely economic point of view, -sealing- as you call it is an outdated and laughable practice -- from a perspective of right and wrong it is simply horrendous. Lets focus on networking with the canadians in helping to end this practice. Catchy ads and powerful vocal supporters are the key. And could more emphasis be placed upon how the US of A could be of assistance? Lets get it together people

    Posted by Jack Malebranche, CoS, 06/14/2011 6:04pm (4 years ago)

  • Great article, man. Metal musicians take a stand!

    Posted by Jose, 06/13/2011 10:43am (4 years ago)

  • They use rifles! It's like hunting deer.

    Posted by Trailer Trash, 06/11/2011 8:41pm (4 years ago)

  • from now on im going to be concious of everything I wear - I would never wear seal fur. its pretty messed up and its good to hear those words from Alissa. i met her when the Agonist opened for Enslaved back in...2007 I believe...and she is the realest deal. And for once america is doing somthing right in not hunting seals, hope canada can follow by example......

    Posted by erica, 06/10/2011 10:10pm (4 years ago)

  • This is still happening? Unbelievable! This kind of behavior (clubbing baby seals and brutally handling them) seems dangerously abnormal and unhealthy for a human being. Those involved need to seek professional help.

    Posted by Barbara R., 06/09/2011 8:54pm (4 years ago)

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