Inuit Seal Hunting in Canada: Emerging Narratives in an Old Controversy




seal hunting; Canada; Inuit; Indigenous activism; narratives; animal rights; Arctic resources; fisheries management; market access; sealskin products


Seal hunting in Canada is a historically controversial topic. Animal rights groups have campaigned that Atlantic Canadians inhumanely slaughter thousands of “baby” seals every year. The work of these animal rights groups has led to changes in national fisheries regulations and markets. The market changes have greatly affected the livelihoods of many Atlantic Canadians, but even more so of the Inuit who also hunt seals in Canada’s Arctic regions. Animal rights groups largely excluded and ignored the Inuit who depended on the larger Atlantic Canadian seal market. However, Inuit have recently mobilized though social media to reclaim the narrative surrounding seal hunting. Their campaign has helped change national policy. The Government of Canada has since created a scheme to increase market access to Inuit-harvested seals. Yet, little information is available for this scheme and its effectiveness needs to be further investigated.