A bloody business

“Killing the seal was usually a bloody business. Wild had brought from the ship a revolver, a 12-gauge shotgun, and .33-caliber rifle, but ammunition was limited. As a result, the men killed the seals by hand whenever possible. This involved approaching the animal cautiously, then stunning it across the nose with a ski or a broken oar and cutting its jugular vein so that it bled to death. Sometimes the blood was collected in a vessel to be fed to the dogs, but most often it was allowed to run out into the snow. Another technique was to brain the seal with a pickaxe. But the two surgeons discouraged this practice, for it often left the brains inedible and they were prized as food because they were believed to be high in vitamin content.”

— Alfred Lansing, Endurance

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
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