Forbid the production of the food products from the Far East seals

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In 2017 Borisov V. V., a local individual entrepreneur of the Magadan region, was granted a licence to hunt seals. Supported by the local government, he started the production of sausages, canned meet, fat extracts and other food products made of these marine mammals. In an interview the businessman shares the following information: ”During the last year we produced 10 thousands packages of canned meat. So far 137 animals were hunted. In total, we have four types of meat products: frozen meet, canned meet, fat extract and smoked bacon”. The news was also announced on the official website of the government of the Magadan region: “A private company needs around 100 Mio Rub (1.5 Mio $) for production development. Regional government is interested in the diversification of the local fishing industry and is ready to support the company in getting a loan from a bank”.

Hunting the seals is an amoral, barbarous and extremely cruel business. Marine mammals including seals are incredibly clever and social animals. Their cognitive abilities are higher than the ones for dogs. Only indigenous small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East still have a tradition to hunt the seals use them as food, energy and fur sources. There were no studies performed to estimate the current size of the seal population. When the government of the Magadan region states that the hunting will not influence the seal population, they refer to the data that is already 30 years old. But, even accordingly to that outdated estimation, there were only 1.3 Mio seals (including 4 different genera of true seals) in the sea of Okhotsk in 1990.  

Additionally to the hunting, the seals are already suffering from the sea pollution, navigation, poaching, and rapid reduction of the fish resources. However, the government of the Magadan region considers the seals, not overfishing, to be the major reason of the impoverishment of the fish stocks. Exactly to support the positive fish population dynamics, the government of the Magadan region wants to reduce the number of living seals.

Although, the licence for hunting regulates the number  of animals allowed to be used for the preparation of food products, there will be no control over the number of marine mammals being wounded and killed, but not caught. The lack of the seal protecting laws will lead to the change of the conservation status of seals from “lower risk” to “threatened”.

The country and the government are obliged to protect its inhabitants including animals and plants. Manufacturing of the above described  food products of the seal  origin is a shame. We have enough resources apart from the seals to satisfy our general needs. Seals are not sausages!

Besides the obvious downsides for the seals and ecosystem in general, the production of the seal food products poses a risk to the human health. Being at the top of the food chain, the seals accumulate all the lipophilic persistent organic pollutants including polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chloroorganic pesticudes and many others. All these toxins are cancerogenic. It is of general knowledge that meat products from farm animals are clear in terms of containing toxins, because the feedstuff and the feeding process are strictly controlled. On the other hand, the studies on dolphins, harp seals and other marine mammals indicate that the concentration of various persistent organic pollutants in their adipose tissues is extremely high, so that the meat products made of these animals would not be allowed to enter the market.

We demand:

1)    Forbid production of any food products made of seals

2)    Check the legality of the Mr. Borisov’s licences

3)    Forbid the hunting of seals and any marine mammals