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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Playing a Deadly Numbers Game:
    Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    March 15, 2006

    Turning a blind eye to public concerns about the cruelty and the sustainability of the annual commercial seal hunt, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced this year’s harp seal quota. The verdict: A quota increase that will allow fishermen to slaughter 325,000 seals.

    The quota announcement came as an ominous precursor to the fast-approaching hunt. When considered through the lens of a new study by world-renowned conservation biologist Professor Stephen Harris of Bristol University, the quota figures also paint a grim picture for the longterm outlook of the harp seal population.

    Under the DFO's watch in the 1950s and 1960s, the population of harp seals sunk to dangerously low levels because fishermen were given leave to rampantly kill seals. With the population only now recovering, the DFO has responded by raising the quota to numbers rivaling those slaughtered annually in the 1950s and 1960s.

    Justifying the quota increase to the press, Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn, a Newfoundland native, said that "Canada's harp seal herd is a conservation success story. The herd is healthy and thriving."

    The HSUS’s Director of Canadian Wildlife Issues, Rebecca Aldworth, responded, noting that it is impossible to hold any faith in the DFO's statements about the sustainability of the hunt. "The DFO has a long and documented track record of overestimating marine populations and allowing species to be fished to commercial extinction."

    The DFO also has a history of not enforcing the quotas it sets. In 2004, for example, the government set a quota of 350,000 seals—and yet, when sealers killed nearly 16,000 seals in excess of that quota, the sealers were not penalized.

    A Fatally Flawed Management Plan

    Many marine scientists find the DFO's model for estimating harp seal populations—a model from which the agency claims to arrive at each quota—highly questionable. The most recent analysis, the Harris study, delivers a striking indictment. It points out an essential weakness in the DFO’s model, noting that the estimates for harp seal populations are based on assumptions. It notes that, currently, "There is no direct way to measure harp seal populations."

    Furthermore, the report finds that the DFO "fails to take into account many variables that can affect harp seal numbers. These include environment unpredictability, climate change and the bioaccumulation of anthropogenic toxins, which in turn reduce reproductive rates and increase mortality. When so many variables are unknown, a precautionary approach should be applied. However, no such measure is applied to the Canadian management plan."

    In fact, this year's quota has been set with no regard for the dramatically warm temperatures in the seal nursery of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The temperatures could lead to melting ice pans and result in the death by drowning of many baby seals who are not able to swim in the first weeks of their lives. According to the new study, such irresponsibility on the part of the DFO has already caused the collapse of several Canadian fisheries (the important cod fishery, for example) and could lead to a similar disaster with harp seals.

    The World Will Be Watching

    In the next few weeks, an unimaginable cruelty awaits the 325,000 seals who make up the quota figure, animals who will die in agony at the hands of sealers wielding picks, clubs, and guns. Every year witnesses report sealers allowing baby seals to slowly bleed to death from their wounds. They report watching sealers skinning animals who are still alive and trying helplessly to escape.

    Pat Ragan, director of The HSUS's ProtectSeals campaign, vows that she, Aldworth, and the rest of the seal team will once again travel to the ice next week to witness and document the slaughter. "As long as this senseless slaughter continues, The HSUS will be there to give the seals a voice, and ensure that this atrocity is publicized throughout the world."

    Last edited by sojustask; 03-21-2006 at 10:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    March 29: How the Death of One Pup Sums Up Everything That's Wrong with Canada's Seal Hunt

    THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE, March 29—Today was the first day of the commercial seal hunt in Canada. And despite gale force winds, sleet, and rain, The HSUS Seal Watch team was there on the ice floes to bear witness to this slaughter and document the cruelty.

    Tonight, after several hours on the ice observing the hunt, I sit here, trying to do the impossible—to find words that would come close to describing what we have seen. What we witnessed was unconscionable, and I can think of no way to adequately capture the fear, misery, and betrayal we saw in all directions.

    And that is why I find myself writing mostly about one baby seal. One who endured unimaginable suffering so her skin could be turned into a fur coat. One who wanted to live so badly that she fought for more than an hour as blood oozed from her mouth and nose. One who desperately needed help that we had no way of providing.

    And one who has come to symbolize for me all the reasons why this hunt should be stopped for good.

    Walking on Thin Ice

    I wake up in the dark at 5 a.m. Our helicopters must fly as soon as possible, because the sealers begin killing in one hour. As is always the case out here, I have not slept much. Our team scrambles to dress in our survival suits, and we race to the airport in record time.

    It is not an easy flight. Our helicopters are bouncing through driving rain and snow and high winds. We have almost no visibility. But we know that if we do not make it to the ice floes today, this slaughter will occur without witnesses. The sealers themselves are saying they will kill 90,000 pups in just three days. And so we press on.

    I scan the horizon for sealing boats, but can barely make out anything through the snow. Finally, I spot a black dot on the horizon and, out of nowhere, dozens more. I begin to count, realizing with horror there are at least 70 sealing boats operating out here.

    And then I notice the blood. Spreading across the ice in crimson stains as far as I can see. The scale of this slaughter, just two hours after it has started, is overwhelming. From the air I can see the carcasses, thousands of them left to rot on the ice floes.

    We land our helicopter on the most solid-looking ice we can find. I do my best to navigate my group across the ice, but it is difficult. Rain over the past days has made the ice slick, and we have problems crossing thin areas where I can see through to the ocean beneath.

    Directly in front of us, about 30 seal pups are stranded on small ice pans. We move towards them, knowing the sealers will come in this direction. As we reach the seals, I see that several have already been clubbed, their bodies left on the ice. The sealers will return to skin them later.

    A movement catches my eye, and I realize with horror that a clubbed baby seal is still conscious. She is writhing around on the ice in pain, moving her flippers. She lies next to another seal who has been killed, vacant eyes staring up, blood already frozen in the ice under her mouth. It is a macabre scene—the dead and the dying huddled together here in the rain.

    There is nothing I can do to help this baby seal. Despite her struggle to survive, she has been too badly injured, and the only humane thing would be to put her out of her misery. But we have no way to euthanize her, and as is almost always the case, there isn't an enforcement officer in sight.

    I kneel beside her and find myself whispering softly, telling her to go to sleep. I am begging her to die quickly. Because the sealers will come back soon. The dozens of live seal pups just feet away from us will prove too tempting for them, despite the presence of our cameras. And when the sealers arrive, this baby seal will endure a fate far worse than death.

    Our group moves on to the next pile of seal carcasses. Across the ice floes, I hear panicked voices—there are more clubbed seals who are conscious and in agony. I run over to them, and see seals writhing around, breathing, and lifting their heads.

    The wind blows mercilessly and the rain pelts down on these suffering animals. The few survivors, just three to four weeks old, are left to move through the blood and carcasses. I cannot begin to imagine the terror and confusion that these babies experience as they see this slaughter unfold around them. And I am deeply ashamed to be human as I watch these helpless infants staring around in panic, not knowing what to do to avoid the clubs raining down on their skulls.

    What just days ago I described as heaven has become a hell.

    The Final Blow

    I return to the first seal. She is trying to crawl, and making anguished sounds. I cannot stop crying. She is trying so hard to live, and I know there is no hope for her. She has her eyes tightly shut, as if to keep out the sight of the dead seals around her. My heart is breaking.

    Without warning, we hear the mechanical sounds of the sealers' snowmobiles racing at us across the ice floes. By law, we must stand ten meters away from the sealers, and we watch in disbelief as they slaughter all of these seals.

    The suffering baby seal is not spared. A heavy metal hakapik hammers through her skull. It is a strange world up here, where an act of such violence brings the only relief available—death.

    As I always do, I find myself apologizing to the seals—for being a part of a species that could ever consider inflicting so much violence on such gentle, trusting creatures. For living in a country whose government has the audacity to call this brutal slaughter 98% humane.

    Out here on the ice, far out to sea in the middle of this hunt, there is little that makes sense. This is an alternate universe where laws exist only to protect sealers. Where rescuing a wounded seal can be defined as "harassment" by the authorities. And where the brutal clubbing of baby seals is called a "harvest."

    I have been to this place seven years in a row. But it never gets easier to watch.

    Just days ago, I stood on these same ice floes, watching as seal pups nursed contentedly from their mothers in the sun. Today, the hunters shattered that world. And everything that was perfect has been ruined.

    Last edited by sojustask; 03-21-2006 at 10:27 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Finally! Something I disagree with you on. :D
    (I love to hunt and fish, so this is my motivation.)

    I simply can't believe you fell for the ARA propaganda. You seemed so immune to disinformation I thought you would never fall for lies.
    First, I would like to know why the ARA would want to boycott products that hurt people who have absolutely nothing to do with the seal harvest. Stupidity? Probably. Animal Rights Activists are not known to be very honest.
    This little action has extremely widespread implications throughout the web.

    Lets post the truth and dismiss a lot of these false claims ARAs are making.
    Maybe you don't like Gov't. sites, perhaps Vetrinarians would be more acceptable.
    Or maybe you would like to see what seals are really like.

    Or maybe you would like to see something that is disgusting, but quite acceptable to most people.
    And tell me why the ARAs never mention that the seal harvest starts in November when Inuit hunters begin. Well, its because it wouldn't work for them. They know better than to mention aboriginal hunters doing exactly the same thing in the north as is done in the south. The Inuit even invited Paul McCartney to debate the hunt, but of course he declined.
    Why doesn't Paul bring up foreign over fishing by countries like Mr McCartneys Britain off Canada's coast and continental shelf in accordance with article 76 of the UN law of the Sea.

    The seal harvest nets about 16-20 million for the sealers, but ARAs make hundreds of millions on their "seal" campaign. I believe their "seal" campaign has less to do with the balance of nature, and more to do with the balance in their bank account.

    If we let these ARAs get away with their lies and innuendo, where will it stop. Will hunters be ostracized for shooting whitetails? Will we not be allowed to hunt ducks, geese, and upland game birds? (and lawyers:)) Will they tell us to boycott vegetable farmers in retaliation? Hopefully people will see the seal population is actually thriving. Or maybe we should tell Canada to just dump raw sewage and chemicals into their rivers and oceans as we have done. Or maybe just destroy the natural habitat on their shorelines as we have done. Then they won't have to worry about any wildlife on their shores.

    There are some
    6,000,000 harp seals
    2,000,000 Hood seals
    1,000,000 other species of seals offf the East coast of Canada alone.
    I am 100% in favour of a responsible hunt.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    I think there has got to be a more humane way to harvest a seal than skinning them alive or bashing them on the head.

    I'm a hunter and a fisherman too, but we are limited by what size we are allow to hunt and net correct? Baby seals hunted for skins and not meat is a terrible waste of earth's resources.

    Lady Mod

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Aspartame Island

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    I agree with implementing something that would see the baby seals not skinned alive or clubbed over the head. A humane and quick way to achieve their means should be enforced. Anyone caught allowing the animals to suffer should be given a fine, and a warning. The next time caught, they are no longer allowed to hunt seals.

    I was told by my own father that I was soft hearted because I wouldn't go rabbit hunting with him. Not that I view rabbit hunting as a "real man's" sport anyway. I couldn't imagine killing an animal (especially a cute animal) and doing that for entertainment or for "sport". I had one friend that used to shoot squirrels with a pellet gun when I was a teenager. He would just laugh while I would watch in horror.

    Skinning any living animal alive is cruel and horrible. What would happen to people in society that skinned a cat or dog alive ? (and were caught ?) Some people would have them put in jail or there would be a mob out to get them. Many people do not see cruelty to animals as a cool thing. A person who wants to hunt, it's their choice, but do it humanely. There's already enough suffering in the world.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawb
    Skinning any living animal alive is cruel and horrible. What would happen to people in society that skinned a cat or dog alive ? (and were caught ?) Some people would have them put in jail or there would be a mob out to get them. Many people do not see cruelty to animals as a cool thing. A person who wants to hunt, it's their choice, but do it humanely. There's already enough suffering in the world.
    And they do it to preserve that pretty white pelt. The meat is left behind on the ice. Do any of these women who wear these furs realize the fur came off a baby seal?

    Anyone see how cruel they treat Mink on mink farms? Dogs and Cats in puppy and kittens mills? I work with the Humane society. It's pretty heartbreaking to see how calous humans can be for a few bucks.


    Lady Mod

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Aspartame Island

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    And they do it to preserve that pretty white pelt. The meat is left behind on the ice. Do any of these women who wear these furs realize the fur came off a baby seal?

    Anyone see how cruel they treat Mink on mink farms? Dogs and Cats in puppy and kittens mills? I work with the Humane society. It's pretty heartbreaking to see how calous humans can be for a few bucks.


    Lady Mod
    It goes to show how people will really become, all for the sake of fashion or money. I believe there are many other ways to make a living in life without making other living things suffer just because we want to inflict it on them. It always makes me wonder how people become so cold and cruel in the first place. I guess this world is not my real home.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Quote Originally Posted by SJA
    And they do it to preserve that pretty white pelt.
    You see, this is the problem with ARAs and their propaganda. You are clearly under the impression that baby seals (whitecoats) are harvested when this is untrue.
    "The hunting of harp seal pups (whitecoats) and hooded seal pups (bluebacks) is illegal, and has been since 1987. Marine Mammal Regulations prohibit the trade, sale or barter of the fur of these pups. Furthermore, adult seals cannot be harvested when they are in breeding or birthing grounds and younger seals must be weaned, self-reliant and independent."
    Hunting whitecoats has not been done for almost 20 years, yet the ARAs have no problem lying to people in order to drive donations.

    Quote Originally Posted by SJA
    I think there has got to be a more humane way to harvest a seal than skinning them alive
    You must have filleted a fish that was clearly dead and had it suddenly "jump". This might give someone the impression the fish is still alive but we both know this is not the case.
    "Sometimes a seal may appear to be moving after it has been killed; however seals have a swimming reflex that is active, even after death. This reflex gives the false impression that the animal is still alive when it is clearly dead, similar to the reflex in chickens."
    Quote Originally Posted by rawb
    or clubbed over the head
    More lies the ARAs would have you believe.
    "American studies carried out between 1969 and 1972 proved that the club or hakapik is an efficient tool designed to kill the animal quickly and humanely. A 2002 report published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal had results that parallel these findings."

    This is probably the most scrutinized harvest the world has ever seen. Not because people know the truth, but because of the lies the ARAs spread, and of course the pictures. In some cases, pictures that are more than 30 years old. I would really love someone to take some pretty white linens to their local Abattoir and spread them on the floor before the beast is slaughtered and post some pictures.

    Quote Originally Posted by rawb
    Anyone caught allowing the animals to suffer should be given a fine, and a warning. The next time caught, they are no longer allowed to hunt seals.
    "The seal hunt is closely monitored and tightly regulated. Fishery Officers conduct surveillance of the hunt by means of aerial patrols, surface (vessel) patrols, dockside inspections of vessels at landing sites and inspections at buying and processing facilities.
    Infractions are taken seriously and sealers who fail to comply with Canada's Marine Mammal Regulations are penalized. The consequences of such illegal actions could include court-imposed fines and the forfeiting of catches, fishing gear, vessels and licenses."

    I guess my fight is more with the lies and deception the ARAs are willing to spread in order to coerce cash from an unwitting public. Perhaps someday the seal harvest will not be necessary and then where will the ARAs turn with their repugnant tactics? I only hope more people will see how these groups will distort truth, mislead the public, and present their opinions as fact. We are all repelled by this behavoir when our government does this to us, but somehow we seem willing to let ARAs get away with it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Quote Originally Posted by UserName
    You see, this is the problem with ARAs and their propaganda. You are clearly under the impression that baby seals (whitecoats) are harvested when this is untrue.

    I guess my fight is more with the lies and deception the ARAs are willing to spread in order to coerce cash from an unwitting public. Perhaps someday the seal harvest will not be necessary and then where will the ARAs turn with their repugnant tactics? I only hope more people will see how these groups will distort truth, mislead the public, and present their opinions as fact. We are all repelled by this behavoir when our government does this to us, but somehow we seem willing to let ARAs get away with it.
    Did you get your information here?

    I did a new search and this is what I find:

    Commercial Seal Hunting

    Commercial seal hunting has existed for centuries, reaching a peak in the late 19th century. In 1899 33 million seals were slaughtered in Canada, primarily newborn pups ('whitecoats' - young harp seals, and 'bluebacks' - young hooded seals). This resulted in a massive decline in the seal population.

    It was not until 1964 that the anti-sealing movement started, focusing on the cruelty issues and receiving widespread media coverage. Due to public pressure, in 1983 the European community, which had been importing nearly 75% of Canadian seal pelts, banned products from whitecoats and bluebacks and the market collapsed. In the USA the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the import, export, sale or possession of any marine mammal product (with a few exemptions for small native hunts).

    In 1987 the Canadian federal government banned the commercial hunt for whitecoats. As a result of this and the collapse in the pelt market, kills did not meet the government quotas, which remained just below 200,000 seals. However the introduction of a seal meat subsidy in 1995 caused the official number of seals killed to rise sharply again in 1996 to nearly 250,000. In reality total kills are much higher than government figures suggest. This is because government "landed catch" statistics do not take account of approximately 80,000 seals of the same population killed in the Greenland hunt, seals wounded that "escape" and will subsequently die or seals incidentally caught in fishing nets.

    In 1995 Norway killed 2600 seals just over two weeks old under the pretext of scientific research. This acted as the reopening of the Norwegian seal hunt which had been crippled by the European Community ban on whitecoat and blueback seal products. In 1996 27,000 seals were killed by Norway, of which 17,000 were young seals.

    Commercial seal hunting also takes place in Greenland, Russia and Namibia, with varying numbers of seals being killed.

    There is next to no market now for any seal part, the flesh is reported to be unpalatable (much of it is used to feed other animals on fur factory farms) and there is a glut of seal pelts. According to the Canadian Sealers Association, this glut is because the number of seals killed in the past few years has grown at an incredible rate, outpacing market demand. Some revenue comes from seal oil and seal penises as aphrodisiacs in some parts of Asia. Both these aspects have been highlighted in campaigns, by trying to stop the sale of seal oil and campaigns in Asia against the use of seal penises. Typically seals killed for penises have their genitals cut off leaving the body to rot. The biggest threat now is the apparent burgeoning market for seal meat in Asia and the only barrier to the market opening up to this, is the extreme difficulty in obtaining the necessary paperwork to allow export.

    Animal protection campaigners gather footage of the Canadian hunt each year, which consistently shows that methods of killing are cruel; there are many violations of what regulations do exist and numerous other abuses not addressed by Canadian law. Video evidence shows that some seals were skinned alive and many others were either wounded by gunfire, left writhing in agony for several minutes after being clubbed, caught on sharpened steel hooks or clubbed to death with illegal weapons. Government internal reports show that approximately 8 out of 10 seals are just days or weeks old; they can only be killed legally at an age of 12 days.

    Facts about Seals and Fish
    Harp seals are the most abundant species of seal in the Northwest Atlantic and are the main focus of the commercial hunt. Additionally, a small number of hooded seals are commercially hunted and also harbour, ringed, grey and bearded seals are killed in non-commercial hunts.

    Seals do not "eat all the fish" and are categorically not responsible for the collapse of cod populations or impeding the recovery of these fish. There is overwhelming evidence that cod stocks collapsed as a direct result of over-fishing which was compounded by heavy gear technology of modern fishing vessels and a large increase in offshore gill nets. There was also an increased level of discarding and non-reporting of small fish. Both these factors together with mismanagement by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, lead to the commercial trawlers returning empty in 1992. A 2-year moratorium on commercial fishing was imposed but this has never been lifted as the fish have shown no signs of recovery.

    Harp seal diets consist of around 3% Atlantic cod and it is further thought that killing seals may delay the recovery of the cod because seals eat other fish species that prey on cod. In reality the marine ecosystem is extremely complex and not fully understood. Simply blaming another species for overexploitation by humans will not remedy the situation and killing seals as a scapegoat will result in a further ecological disaster.

    The Seal Hunt Today

    In 2000 the Canadian government set a quota of over 275,000 seals. The ending of the seal meat subsidy, rising fuel costs, and declining pelt prices resulted in fewer seals being killed (according to the government 92,000 harp seals - one-third of the quota - were killed).

    The quota for 2001 remains the same despite government research showing that the seal population will decline if more than 257,000 seals are killed.

    Figures for 2000 show that 20,549 seals were killed.
    8,581 harp seals were classed as being 'young', non-suckling pups less than one year old (harp seal pups suckle for an average of 12 days). 1,346 of the hooded seals were young (pups suckle for an average of 4 days)

    The quota for this years hunt allows a total of 20,000 adult harp seals and 10,300 adult hooded seals. The quota can be taken as adults or non-suckling young where 1 to 2.5 young equal one adult harp seal (depending on whether they are killed on the West or East Ice) and 1.5 non-suckling hooded seals are equal to one adult.


    If you see any items made from seal products (fur, meat or oil) contact CAFT immediately at [email protected]

    Please be vigilant in your area for seal products; we need to stop the markets to kill this hunt.

    Support our campaign to end this cruelty:
    Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade
    PO Box 38, Manchester, M60 1NX, UK
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Web: www.caft.org.uk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota


    NativeRadio.com's position on the Harp seal slaughter:

    NativeRadio.com has always supported indigenous culture and causes. The Inuit have the sovereign right to subsistence hunt seals for food and commercial needs. The Inuit are not hunting baby Harp seals, but rather adult Ring seals. They also do not use brutal killing tactics, and are not decimating a species of animal.

    Our fight is not with the Inuit, but rather the Canadian government and the commercial slaughter of baby Harp seals. The Canadian government likes to tell the world that this slaughter is "98% humane". The facts and documented evidence shows that to be an outright lie.

    What is 98% humane about clubbing to death 12 day old baby harp seals, with a large ice-pick-like hakapik (many requiring second strikes)? What is 98% humane about skinning alive these defenseless creatures? What is 98% humane about killing baby Harp seals so someone can show off their expensive seal pelts?

    There is a difference in an indigenous culture's right to hunt for food and economic survival, and the non-indigenous Newfoundlander's massive slaughter of defenseless animals for profit and vanity!

    NativeRadio.com does not condone the killing of any creature, but we do understand the Inuit's right to do so.

    We believe that baby Harp seals have as much right (if not more) to be on this planet, than we do. We will continue to do what we can to make the world aware of this slaughter and to do what we can to stop it.

    With respect,

    Patrick Doyle

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Is it illegal to kill whitecoat seals?

    The Marine Mammal Regulations make it illegal for non-natives to barter, sell, or trade whitecoat seal products. The prohibition on selling these seals was intended to remove any reason for hunting them. A recent ruling by the Newfoundland Court of Appeal found this section of the Marine Mammal Regulations to be unconstitutional and, as a result, it cannot be enforced in Newfoundland.

    What is the economic impact of the seal hunt?

    One commonly used reason for supporting the hunt is that it supposedly provides jobs for people in Newfoundland. However in reality, the hunt accounts for less than one half of one percent of Newfoundland’s Gross Domestic Product. Economists note that factors such as government-funded icebreaking services and lost revenue from tourism should be included in economic reports of the industry, and could mean the commercial seal hunt represents a net loss to the economy of Atlantic Canada.

    Many people are surprised to learn that the entire fishery in Newfoundland accounts for only 1.6% of their economy. Certainly, the fishery, including the seal hunt, once played a vital role in the economic survival of the province.

    However, this is no longer the situation. Newfoundland’s economy has diversified to include many other, far more lucrative, industry sectors such as tourism, services, construction, public administration, manufacturing, and many more.

    The sealing industry operates for a few weeks a year and provides a relatively small number of part-time jobs during that period. The seal hunt is not of vital importance to Newfoundland’s economy and does not represent meaningful job creation by the government. If Newfoundland is going to continue to develop in the changing Canadian economy, it is imperative that the federal government makes a solid commitment to the development of real, sustainable jobs — not pointless slaughter.


    video of violations: http://www.harpseals.org/gallery/mpegs/index.html#dead
    Last edited by sojustask; 03-22-2006 at 11:51 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Letter from IFAW to the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador: March 7th, 2006


    Letter from Al Longair, B.Sc., D.V.M. - member of IVWG


    Letter from Fred O'Regan, President - IFAW to the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador: March 16th, 2006:


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota


    McCartneys put spotlight on pup seal hunt

    Tuesday, March 7, 2006; Posted: 6:05 p.m. EST (23:05 GMT)

    CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island (AP) -- Opponents of Canada's seal hunt have a powerful ally in their bid to end the annual slaughter: Paul McCartney, who took to the ice floes Thursday and frolicked with the doe-eyed pups just weeks before the harvest gets under way.

    The former Beatle and his wife, Heather Mills McCartney, arrived Wednesday night in this fishing community on Canada's Atlantic coast and landed a helicopter on the ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Thursday.

    The longtime animal-rights activists want to publicize the plight of the fluffy white pups, which are calved and weaned from their mothers on the frigid ice before being clubbed to death.

    The McCartneys, dressed in bright orange thermal jump suits, took helicopters with about 12 journalists in tow to the ice floes just northwest of Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec.

    They rolled on the ice with one pup and expressed sadness that it would likely be killed in several weeks when the hunt officially gets under way.

    "She's only three or four days old, and they won't even get a chance to have a solid meal or even swim," Heather Mills McCartney said. "We've come out here to discuss the fate of these seals. In about three weeks time these baby seals are due to be clubbed to death or shot. For many years people have tried to have this brutal practice stopped."

    The United States has banned Canadian seal products since 1972 and the European Union banned the white pelts of baby seals in 1983.

    The British government also is considering banning the import of seal goods.

    Groups such as Respect for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, which are coordinating the McCartneys' visit, are encouraging people to boycott Canadian seafood as a show of solidarity.

    "I think the McCartneys are two of the most visible people in the world, and with them drawing attention to the fact that this hunt is still going on, this is going to get that message out across the world," said Rebecca Aldworth, who will be observing and documenting her seventh seal hunt for the Humane Society.

    Aldworth said the McCartneys quizzed her long and hard about the annual harvest, including the economic benefits that sealing brings to the local fishermen, whose livelihoods were devastated when Atlantic Ocean cod stocks dried up in the mid-1990s.

    "I've observed the seal hunt at close range for seven years. I've routinely witnessed conscious seals dragged across the ice with boat hooks, wounded seals left to choke on their own blood, and seals being skinned alive," Aldworth said in a statement. "The commercial seal hunt is inherently cruel, it is a national disgrace."

    Roger Simon, manager of the Gulf of St. Lawrence seal hunt for the federal Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said the seals were not endangered and their population of 5 to 6 million animals was strong. He said some 15,000 fishermen, who earn an average of $30,000 to $40,000 a year, can earn up to $10,000 during the two-week seal hunt.

    "Now, Paul is making, what, $150 million a year?" Simon said. "I'm a lifetime Beatles fan. McCartney comes from a working-class background; you'd think he could maybe relate to the hardships of rural life."

    The Canadian government endorses the harvest as a cultural right for many Maritimers and announced a hunting management plan in 2003 with a quota of 975,000 seals over three years.

    About 325,000 seal pups were killed during the hunt last year, bringing the local fishermen $14.5 million (euro12 million) in supplemental income, which they say their families badly need during the winter offseason.

    The dates for the spring leg of the hunt have yet to be announced because the unseasonably mild temperatures in northeastern Canada have made the ice thin.

    Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn said Canada would not terminate the annual hunt and insisted it is the most regulated mammal harvest in the world. The government says the country's seal population is abundant, estimating there are 5 million harp seals.

    "I would encourage Mr. McCartney when he comes here to see the effect this is having on the economy and to realize this is sustaining people in their home communities," Hearn said.

    Aboriginal and Inuit subsistence and commercial hunters begin the kill November 15 in Canada's vast expanse of frozen northern waters. The spring leg of the commercial hunt starts in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and moves to the Atlantic Ocean about 30-40 miles (50 -60 kilometers) away from Newfoundland.

    Harp seals have been hunted commercially off Newfoundland since the early 1700s. They were first harvested for their oil but now are culled mostly for their pelts, sold mostly for the fashion industry in Norway, China and Russia.

    Last edited by sojustask; 03-23-2006 at 12:07 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Canada blames the seals for the Cod industry collapse but the reality is, it was Canadian deep sea Overfishing by Canadian and Foreign commercial fishermen that put that industry on the skids. If anyone is lying, it's the Canadian government.


    The Newfoundland Cod Stock Collapse: A Review and Analysis of Social Factors

    Fred Mason
    School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, Canada


    In 1992, the once abundant cod stocks off the coast of Newfoundland collapsed and a moratorium was placed upon fishing them. This paper provides a review of a range of social and political factors that were implicated in the collapse of the stocks, including overfishing, government mismanagement, and the disregard of scientific uncertainty. The collapse is considered in terms of the “tragedy of commons theory” of resource exploitation, and the inevitability of overuse that the theory implies. The conclusion is drawn that the collapse was not necessarily inevitable, and that in similar situations, more input is needed from a variety of stakeholders in the management of an environmental resource, so that more of the social factors at work may be accounted for.

    On July 2, 1992, the Canadian Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans at the time, the Honourable John Crosbie, announced a moratorium on fishing for northern cod in the waters surrounding the province of Newfoundland. This supposedly “short-term” solution has lasted until the present time, with minor exceptions of food fisheries for personal consumption. Some 19,000 fishers and plant workers were directly affected and up to 20,000 other jobs were lost or harmed in the economic backlash (Steele, Andersen & Green, 1992), while for rural Newfoundland it meant that the economic backbone of hundreds of communities where the fishery was the only large employer had been broken.

    A wide number of social, economic, and environmental factors have been implicated in the collapse of the cod stocks. Drawing primarily on the prolific scholarship on the fishery of a small cadre of sociologists, historians, and political scientists from Memorial University of Newfoundland, this paper reviews a variety of social factors that had input in the scenario, and considers, from the “tragedy of the commons” theory of resource use, whether the collapse of the stocks was necessarily inevitable. The paper deals solely with social factors that had input in the collapse; more scientific factors such as changes in water temperature and the food chain are not considered here, as the author is not qualified to make an evaluation of these. As well, the vast social and economic impacts that the moratorium has had on Newfoundland’s communities is beyond what can be considered here, and could only be done justice in a separate review.

    The Tragedy of the Commons

    One of the better-known theories of resource use, which might be applicable to the Newfoundland fishery, is the tragedy of the commons theory. The tragedy of the commons has been a popular theory in regards to common property since it was first expounded by Garrett Hardin in 1968. As part of this theory, things such as fish, forest, or water resources are seen as “common property”—resources which can be used by everyone, yet no one truly owns. The tragedy of the commons comes in once competition for the resources commences. Hardin based his work on the theorization of 19th century English common grounds by W. F. Lloyd and others (1833, reprinted in part in Hardin, 1968). These theories contended that the cattle raised on the commons were weak, and the commons themselves denuded of fodder, due to intense overexploitation through competition. The carrying capacity of the commons field was of course finite, but each herdsman, seeking to get ahead, constantly increased the number of cattle he owned. Once the full carrying capacity was reached, deterioration occurred, yet the personal gain for each herdsman outweighed the shared loss and damage to the field, so all kept adding to their herds (Hardin, 1968). This kept going until the whole resource collapsed. Hardin called this inevitable collapse the “tragedy of the commons,” and proposed that it could be applied to any sort of natural resource being exploited.

    In 1977, Ophuls created a model of a fishery in the tragedy of the commons scenario. He suggested that once the critical point was reached, either privatization or collapse would occur. It is easy to see how the collapse of the Newfoundland fishery could have been a tragedy of the commons, with the many groups and countries that were taking from the resource base. Given the conditions necessary for a tragedy of the commons, and its ultimate outcome, the Newfoundland cod stock collapse would then have to be considered inevitable and unavoidable. This is a difficult proposition for anyone with environmental concerns to accept, and is also terribly simplistic. A more thorough examination of social factors is warranted, to draw out the input that various factors had, and to suggest some aspects that could be accounted for in similar situations.


    When the collapse of a resource base likes the Newfoundland cod stocks occur, the first and most obvious thing to look at is overexploitation of the resource. Many authors have cited overfishing as the cause of the cod stock collapse (Sinclair, 1996; Hannesson, 1996; Finlayson, 1994; Steele et al., 1992, and others). In the case of the Newfoundland cod, there were three distinct groups involved in harvesting the resource—local Newfoundland inshore fishermen, Canadian draggers and trawlers, and deep-sea foreign fishing vessels.

    Inshore Fishermen

    The local fishermen of Newfoundland are the group most closely identified with the tragic social and economic fallout from the closure of the fishery. This is not entirely without merit, as many families and communities were almost totally dependent on the fishery for their livelihoods. Nevertheless, their role in the collapse must be scrutinized. Over the last three decades prior to the cod stock collapse, calls were frequently heard from groups of inshore fishermen for a bigger share of the catch quotas (Steele et al., 1992). Thus, some responsibility for the great pressure that was put on the stocks must be placed upon them.

    However, as Sinclair (1992) points out, the structure of the inshore fishery and the methods that were used in it meant that these fishermen did not have the capacity to overfish the resource. They used fixed gear and small nets that could usually be manipulated by hand or with little mechanical assistance, never leading to anywhere near as high a catch as those taken by the offshore sector. As well, the crews tended to be composed of household and family members, and were usually not interested in running their operation as a business venture whose sole goal was the generation of profit. It was almost like a subsistence economy for many.

    As well, a sort of “commons regime” (Whose common future?, 1993) existed in many communities, where those who did aim to turn out profit and ostensibly display their wealth were looked down upon as getting “too big” for the community. This was a form of community sanction that lessened the impact of smaller inshore fishing groups on the stocks.

    Despite some of the larger near-shore vessels being run as capitalist ventures (Sinclair, 1996) and the inshore lobby for more fish being frequently heard, overfishing by local inshore fishers must be discounted as a major factor in the collapse of the cod stocks. Unfortunately though, they seem to bear the brunt of the problems that have come from it.

    To see the true culprits in overfishing one must look further offshore, to the Canadian and foreign fishing vessels that worked from 100 miles out to 200 miles and further. Foreign deep-sea fishing vessels have been demonized by the media and many Canadian politicians, but the expansionary dynamics of capitalism caused Canadian vessels to scour the seas for ever increasing profit as well.

    Canadian Deep-Sea Overfishing

    Up until 1977, any vessel, Canadian or foreign, could fish just about anywhere off the coast of Newfoundland. In 1977 the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention set 200 mile exclusive fishing zones around many nations, including Canada and, hence, Newfoundland (Hannesson, 1996). Foreign vessels were relegated to outside the 200 mile limit, and the number of Canadian vessels subsequently increased to “pick up the surplus” (Sinclair, 1988). As Sinclair (1996) noted, “In the first period [1970s], foreign trawlers were clearly responsible for overfishing, but in the second [post 1977], this part was played mainly by Canadian trawlers, despite the highly publicized contribution of foreign fleets” (p. 231). After 1977, there were large increases in the number of Canadian (primarily Newfoundland operated) vessels, and they developed much more efficient methods of fish harvesting (Harris, 1998). Technological changes would have a great impact.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota


    Are calls for culling harp seals to benefit cod stocks and cod fisheries justified by the scientific evidence?

    In a word, No.

    What do we know?

    We know that harp seals do eat Atlantic cod, although 40 years of studies indicate that Atlantic cod is a minor constituent of their diet (Wallace and Lawson 1997). Media reports now indicate DFO’s own estimates of harp seal consumption of northern cod were recently reduced by about 50% (Rice 1999).

    Did harp seals cause the collapse of cod stocks in the late 1980s, early 1990s? No. The scientific evidence indicates that stock collapse was caused by over-fishing (Hutchings and Myers 1994, Myers et al. 1996).

    Are harp seals impeding the recovery of cod stocks? Although scientists have examined this question, there is currently no evidence that harp seals are impeding the recovery of cod stocks (e.g. Anon. 1997).

    Calls for culling seals to benefit fisheries are premised on the idea that seals eat fish and, therefore, common sense dictates that fewer seals will mean more fish for fishers.

    But, if we take a slightly more complex view of marine ecosystems, and imagine the situation where seals eat the predators of commercially important fish, then common sense dictates that fewer seals would mean more predators and fewer commercially important fish. In such instances, a cull of seals would actually be detrimental to fishing interests.

    Scientists have for years addressed the question of the effects of an increase or a decrease (such as would result from a cull) in the size of the harp seal population on fish stocks and yields from them. Here is a sampling of their conclusions:

    "The effects [of increasing or decreasing the Northwest Atlantic harp seal population ... on exploited fish and invertebrate stocks and yields from them] are unknown" (NAFO 1981).

    "The truth is we do not know what the effects of a change in seal numbers would have on commercial fisheries" (DFO Scientist, W.D. Bowen 1992).
    "It is not yet possible to predict the effects of an increase or a decrease in the size of the harp seal population on other ecosystem components, including commercially exploited fish populations, or on the yields obtained from them" (Anon. 1997).

    One reason why scientists have been frustrated in their attempts to evaluate the effects of increasing or decreasing the size of a seal population on fish stocks and fisheries is actually quite simple to understand. Marine ecosystems are extremely complex (e.g. Fig. 1, from Lavigne 1996).

    To quote the late Prof. Deane Renouf of Memorial University in St. John’s, in a 1992 radio interview, "The message is, we do not know enough to institute a cull ... I really think that [culling harp seals], without the correct information, could be deadly."

    So, at the present time, science cannot tell you whether a large cull of harp seals -- the figure of two million has been suggested by the Newfoundland Fisheries Minister -- would be beneficial or detrimental to the interests of fishers. I am reminded, however, of a point raised by Professor W. Montevecchi, Memorial University of Newfoundland, writing in 1996 (p. 8): "There is no scientific evidence that the culling of large marine predators has ever benefited a commercial fishery...."

    Furthermore, I am reminded from my work on endangered Mediterranean monk seals that as long as seals and fisheries overlap, someone will want to remove seals from the system. Today, only some 500 Mediterranean monk seals exist in the Mediterranean and in the Northeast Atlantic off the coast of Northwest Africa. They are one of the most endangered of all seal species. Yet fishers in the Mediterranean still kill them because they perceive them to be competing with them for their livelihood. Clearly, no end is in sight to the repeated calls to cull harp seals (and other marine mammals) ostensibly to benefit fisheries.

    But the question for scientists is whether such culls will actually achieve the desired results. Toward this end, the United Nations Environment Programme has recently drafted a protocol for evaluating proposals to cull marine mammals with a view to benefiting fisheries (Anon. 1992, 1995). What is striking when you examine the protocol is just how much information is required to determine whether a cull of a marine mammal population is likely to achieve its objective.

    In the case of harp seals and cod, we simply do not yet have the scientific information necessary to evaluate a proposal to cull harp seals. But in this regard, I am pleased to see -- in the government’s 1999 seal management plan (Department of Fisheries and Oceans 1999) -- that it has acknowledged the need for more information on other cod predators besides seals, information that is essential before a proper assessment of the culling question can be made.

    If Canada’s harp seal hunt is meant to be a "sustainable harvest":

    current levels of killing are likely too high;

    the population is likely declining;

    the government’s management objective is not being achieved;

    and the management approach does not meet international standards of taking a precautionary approach to the exploitation of wild living resources.

    In that sense, Canada’s harp seal hunt may already satisfy the definition of a cull.

    May I also remind you that the last time landed catches were, on average, as high as they have been in the past three years -- between 1950 and 1970 -- the harp seal population declined by 50% or more.

    Calls for increasing the size of hunt even further (in order to benefit fisheries) are simply not justified on scientific grounds. Indeed, larger kills of harp seals could have serious consequences, both for the harp seal population and for commercially important fish stocks.

    Given April 1999

    Full Report Here

    Senator lashes out at seal-hunt protesters
    Calls U.S. 'horrific' in letter to family that considered cancelling trip to Canada

    CanWest News Service
    Saturday, March 18, 2006

    Coming to the defense of Canada's seal hunt, a Liberal senator has lashed out at the United States' foreign policy, the Iraq war, the death penalty and the country's gun culture in an email to an American family considering cancelling a vacation because they are opposed to the "horrific" annual cull.

    "What I find 'horrific' about your country is the daily killing of innocent people in Iraq, the execution of mainly black prisoners in U.S., the massive sale of guns to U.S. citizens every day, the destabilization of the whole world by the aggressive foreign policy of U.S. government, etc.," Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette wrote in an email response to the McLellan family of Minnesota.

    The initial March 12 letter, from Ann, Pam, Nancy and Dale McLellan to all Canadian senators, urges an end to the "horrific mass slaughter of innocent harp seals" and warns of a boycott on travel and Canadian seafood because the annual cull is "going against what we like about Canada."

    The McLellans wrote they have "great respect" for the country because their "ancestors" were Canadians and they live near the Canada-U.S. border, but they are loathe to spend $8,000 on a vacation while the hunt goes on.

    Hervieux-Payette's response, coming two days later, defended the harp seal hunt as an exercise in controlling the population and ensuring the livelihood of local hunters and fishermen.

    (Remember above, Harp seals DO NOT eat Atlantic COD)

    "They are not killed for sport reasons like our deer, moose by Canadian and U.S. hunters," the senator from Montreal wrote. "You may visit us and you will see that we are a safe and humane society, respecting the traditions of the aboriginal people, not trying to impose the 'white people' standards of living on them."

    (No one disrespects the aboriginal people or denies them centuries long traditions of hunting seal. It's the foreign commercial seal hunters we object to.)

    The regulated, two-month hunt of the 5-million-strong seal herd is intended to keep the fast-growing population in check and to maintain the fish stocks on which Inuit and Atlantic Canadian fishermen earn a living.

    (Harp Seals DO NOT EAT Atlantic Cod.)

    Senator George Baker, a Newfoundland Liberal, deemed his colleague's response inappropriate, but he said it may have been influenced by her time on the Senate legal affairs committee, where members were subject to a fierce protest when they were studying a recent animal cruelty bill.

    Brigitte Bardot will travel to Ottawa next week to protest against the seal hunt and try to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

    The 71-year-old French actress, who is best known for her role in the 1956 movie Et Dieu ... crea la femme (And Woman was Created), is the head of Foundation Brigitte Bardot, which is dedicated to animal rights.

    In a memo on her website from March 2005, Bardot calls for a total boycott of Canadian products and says she has collected more than 67,000 signatures on a petition to have the hunt stopped.

    She said the recent increase in this year's hunt quota, to 325,000 seals from 320,000, is what sparked her into making the trip to Canada.

    © The Gazette (Montreal) 2006

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Re: Canada Announces the 2006 Seal Hunt Quota

    Wow! Good stuff, but nothing from the the people who actually monitor and actively participate in the harvest. And you still seem to believe white pups are killed when it has been illegal for twenty years. Even Bardot half admitted promoting her cause dishonestly by using a graphic image of a slaughtered seal with its blood splashed across the snow. The image is posted on Bardot's website. She was fully aware that whitecoat seal pups, such as the one in the picture, have been protected by federal law since 1987.
    What makes this hunt any different than the annual deer hunt, duck hunt, or ever popular big game hunt? Nothing, except the ARAs can make a buck on it by showing pictures to gullible people of young seals. Would there be as much attention garnered if these were snakes or spiders that were harvested each year?

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