Anger as Norway allows seal hunt with no animal welfare inspectors

The Norwegian government has announced that the seal hunt can be conducted without an animal welfare inspector onboard this year. The reason is said to be risk of COVID-19. 

Among the crews to go hunting without inspection this year are crew members who have been convicted of animal cruelty after several offences during seal hunting in 2009. In 2010 these crew members received some of the highest fines ever given for animal cruelty in Norway. The men were convicted based on documentation from an animal welfare inspectors report, and video recorded evidence. 

NOAH – the Norwegian animal protection group, is gravely concerned about animal welfare during the 2020 seal hunt, and is now demanding the government does the right thing – cancel the seal hunt. 

“To permit seal hunting crews to kill seals, without inspectors is nothing but absurd. If the inspector must take considerations to prevent infection, then of course this should apply to all the crew. Considering animal welfare issues, the hunt should be cancelled when an animal welfare inspector is not allowed to be onboard. Hunting seal is not an “essential service”, that could legitimate temporary changes of laws during the corona-crisis. On the contrary, seal hunting is highly controversial and forbidden in several countries because of animal welfare concerns”, says Siri Martinsen, veterinarian and executive director in NOAH.    

Respect for Animals, NOAH and many international animal protection groups are strongly concerned that rules for animal welfare and control are being changed in reference to the corona-crisis, while exploitation of animals continues unimpeded. The seal hunt is 80% subsidised, and should now be stopped to avoid animal suffering. 

Mark Glover, Campaigns Director for Respect for Animals, said:

“I have travelled around the world documenting the different seal hunts, tying to get them banned and, wherever they occur, the horror and brutally is the same. Canada, Namibia or Norway, the slaughter of seals often for their fur is cruel and unnecessary.

That seal hunters with appalling convictions for animal cruelty are being allowed to inflict carnage on innocent, helpless seals without observation has shocked people around the world. We urge the Norwegian government to take action and end the seal hunt- now!” 


• Seal hunting in Norway is heavily subsidised, around 80%, amounting to subsidies of 2,5 million NOK from the government. 
• In 2015 the government decided not to grant subsidies for 2016, this year there was no seal hunt. Sadly, subsidies were re-established in the following years.
• NOAH – for the animal rights is Norway’s largest NGO for animals. Founded in 1989 its purpose is to work for the rights for all animals.
• The quota for the 2020 seal hunt is set to 18 548 Harp Seals.


  • WATCH the video of Siri Martinsen explaining the issue, with English subs: 
  • SIGN our letter to the Norwegian Embassy, making clear that the seal hunt must be cancelled in Norway: