First we have a couple of average Canadians looking harmless. Would you think these two or anyone like this could do the following?
Once they find the seals, the true horrific nature of this bizarre event unfolds. In the first phase of the hunt (in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, dominated by sealers from the Magdalen Islands of Quebec), sealers typically approach the seals and then club them with ‘hakapiks’ (long sticks with a hooked blade at one end). After clubbing the seals, they are supposed to perform the ‘blinking-eye’ test, checking whether the seals blink, before skinning them. If the seal is not dead, sealers may dispatch the seal with a variety of methods, including kicking in the face and/ or continuing to beat the seal pups on the head with the hakapiks. The sealer may move on to other seals before skinning them or may skin them at that time. He will drag the seal to the boat with the hook end of the hakapik. If the sealer did not bother to check whether the seal was dead, the seal may conscious when the hooked blade is plunged into its mouth or head. An analysis by a panel of veterinarians showed that about 40% of the seals are actually skinned alive.