早在2008年對於俄羅斯豎琴海豹獵捕的反對聲浪就已升起，國際動物福利基金會(International Fund for Animal Welfare, IFAW)表示，在俄羅斯25個城市及國外都曾舉行反獵捕的抗議活動，以協助人們更加了解關於獵捕海豹的相關訊息。
A ban on the hunting of all harp seals less than one year old was announced today by the Russian government. The ban was imposed by the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency and the documentation has been sent for state registration with the Ministry of Justice.
Public opposition to the Russian harp seal hunt has grown over the past year. International Fund for Animal Welfare said that anti-hunting demonstrations held in 25 Russian cities and abroad have helped people gain greater understanding of the issues involved in seal hunting.
The public outcry led to mounting pressure on the Russian government to close the harp seal hunt. Environmentalists were happy with the government's decision.
The end of Russia's harp seal hunt was applauded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which has been working in Canada and throughout the world to put an end to commercial seal hunts. Environmental groups have been trying to promote ecotourism and small business as alternatives to the Russian seal hunt.
Later this week, the world's largest seal hunt will begin off the east coast of Canada. Last year, more than 217,000 harp seals were killed, 99.8 percent of which were under three months of age. Canada does not allow the clubbing of whitecoats. Sealers must wait until the animals get their darker gray coats at about six weeks of age.
But around the world, opposition is mounting to annual seal hunts in Canada, where most of the world's seal hunting takes place, as well as Greenland, Namibia and Norway. Seals are hunted mainly for their pelts, but also for meat and fat, which is used in beauty products.
The Canadian government maintains that the annual hunt is an essential part of the maritime economy and that it is humane.
But the Humane Society International points out that veterinarians have studied Canada’s commercial seal hunt for five decades and have consistently found high levels of suffering. "Veterinary experts say commercial seal hunting is inherently inhumane because of the remote, extreme environments in which hunts operate and the speed at which they must be conducted," the organization says. "This is a primary reason why nations around the world are taking action on behalf of their citizens to end their trade in seal products."