The annual hunt of harp seal pups on the ice-??? of eastern Canada is going?
GV: Seal hunters across ice from ship toward camera.
CU: Seal pup.
SV: Hunters, ZOOM INTO dead seal pup.
GV: Men watching live seal pup.
CU & SV: Mother seal, beside dead pup, chases hunter. (2 shots)
CU: Bloody head of pup being clubbed to death, ZOOM OUT TO mother seal watching. (3 SHOTS)
SV: Hunters around pile of skins.
CU: Hunters with bloody clubs and faces, (5 SHOTS)
SV & CU: Skinned carcase. (2 SHOTS)
SV & CU: Skins dragged across ice toward ship and helicopter. (3 SHOTS)
SV PAN: Mother seal follows as dead pup dragged across the ice.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The annual hunt of harp seal pups on the ice-??? of eastern Canada is going ahead despite protests from conservationists in several countries. This year, an estimated 195,000 seals are due to be clubbed to death for their soft white fur.
SYNOPSIS: Both seal hunters and members of the international conservation organisation, the Greenpeace Foundation, made their way across the ice toward the sealing-grounds off Newfoundland and Labrador.
The hunters are looking for baby harp and hood seals. The hunt, which is backed by the Canadian government, has been the target of an international campaign by conservationists who say it is barbaric and endangers the future of the seal species. The hunters and the government, disagree. The claim the killing method is humane, and that seal numbers are high enough to withstand the annual culling. The animals have to be clubbed to death so the skin and fur are not damaged. Conservationists say the reaction of mother seals, watching their pups being clubbed, is one of most heartbreaking aspects of the hunt.
The international protest has been jointed by a number of celebrities is including Spike Milligan, former Beatles John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and actress Brigitte Bardot. But the environmentalists' attempt to stop the 1978 seal hunt has been almost entirely unsuccessful.
The Canadian government passed special legislation to outlaw any interference with the hunt, and protestors had difficulty in even getting onto the hunting grounds. So, the hunters went ahead. It is an obviously uncomfortable job but one with high financial rewards. The fur of the newborn seals is used around the world for trinkets such as key fobs, toys, purses and trimming for coats. The slaughtered seal pups are skinned on the spot, and their carcases left on the ice...often, protestors say, within sight of distraught mother seals. The skins are then dragged across the ice, back toward the icebreaker which brought the hunters in.