The harvesting of seals is considered “morally unacceptable” and “in humane” but even with a ban on the commercial use of the seal products, seals would be culled in Canada to control population numbers.
I have previously suggested that just two criteria be applied to the harvest of an animal species: is the harvest sustainable and is the harvest humane.
The number of seals killed each year is regulated through a strict quota system in Canada, Norway and Namibia and to some extent in Greenland and Russia.
It is the Canadian harvest that is considered most inhumane with the hakapik still used to club the animals. But is it really that inhumane, quoting Wikipedia:
According to recent studies done by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), the hakapik, when used properly, kills the animal quickly and painlessly. Several American studies carried out from 1969-1972 in the Pribilof Islands of Alaska came to the same conclusion. The Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing in Canada, also known as the Malouf Commission, claims that properly performed clubbing is at least as humane as the methods used in commercial slaughterhouses, and according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), these studies “have consistently proven that the club or hakapik is an efficient tool designed to kill the animal quickly and humanely.”
The issue appears to very much one of perception, with the manual outdoor killing of young animals, in a beautiful setting, offending many.
Photograph of the hakapik from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakapik