Seal hunt showdown turns ugly

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Supporters of Atlantic Canada’s annual seal hunt made life miserable and potentially dangerous for animal-rights activists on Thursday. The activists insisted they were only trying to document the start of the slaughter off the coast of Labrador.

About 80 residents in the eastern Quebec town of Blanc-Sablon, near the Labrador border, surrounded a hotel when they learned foreign journalists and members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) were staying there.

Quebec provincial police later escorted the 15 activists, reporters and photographers from the hotel and drove them to a nearby airport. They arrived safely.

Earlier in the day, residents tried to block a van carrying journalists to the airport, where they were scheduled to board a helicopter to photograph the hunt.

Rebecca Aldworth, a HSUS spokeswoman, said someone used a large truck to ram the van, forcing it off the road.

“Thankfully, no one was hurt,” she said. “They were able to get the van back on the road and returned to the hotel.”

Seal hunter Marius Lavalee confirmed there was an ugly confrontation.

“We wanted to try and stop them,” he said. “Then it got violent. They tried to run one guy over.”

Source: Canoe Network (Canada)

Image: HSUS