‘Rescued’ seal pup, or ‘imprisoned?’

Dear editor,

Re. Nov. 1 Record article MARS rescues blind seal pup:

Most people think that seal pups are rescued, and later released. However, some survivors never see freedom.

The Vancouver Aquarium (VA) considers their captives and “rescued” marine wildlife as “untapped resources” for questionable lucrative experiments. Others are kept for entertainment or trade to aquariums and zoos worldwide. The Vancouver Aquarium provides seals, sea lions, belugas, and others to captivity businesses.

Since 1993 over 20 endangered two-week-old sea lion pups were taken from their mothers on Triangle Island. The first group of five were to be released. The UBC Animal Care Committee approval was on the condition that it must include trying to improve rehab and release methods. But they were not set free. Some were sent to another lab, and an aquarium overseas.

Once sent to labs or aquariums in other countries, who is monitoring their well-being?

In 2014 two harbour seals were sent to the Assiniboine Zoo. A seal who was 100 per cent blind got stuck in a drain and died a horrific death. The other seal had glaucoma and one eye removed.

In 2015 the VA, UBC, and others captured 20 harbour seals to look at salmon fry predation. Large instrument packs were attached to their heads and backs. It was stated that the information gathered could lead to a West Coast seal hunt.

We must all face the hard reality that severely injured and debilitated animals, who may not even survive the transport, are euthanized on ethical grounds by wildlife organizations and may not even be picked up as per government policies. This is similar to palliative care and the right to die for humans. The big difference is that humans are in their own homes and in the company of their own kind. But imagine being a blind wild animal in alien human prisons. They are not “tools” for experiments or circus performers. They are sentient beings. The suffering goes on and on and on. This time another blind seal in captivity.

Peter Hamilton

Comox

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