Final Thoughts from Charlottetown

Post by Sheryl Fink

We're still weathered in, looking out my window I can't even see the buildings across the road through the blustering snow. As we pack up our base camp, I am thinking a little about this year's trip to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

I had been a bit worried about how we would be received in Atlantic Canada this year. There has been a lot of talk in the media about people trying to "boycott" seal hunt observers, that we would not be given food or accomodation, that locals don't want us here because we bring negative attention to the areas we go to, and so forth. After the stories of the angry mob scenes that greeted hunt observers last year, I was expecting much hostility and anger to be coming our way.

But I have to say, over the past two weeks everybody I have encountered in Charlottetown, the Magdalen Islands, and Newfoundland has been nothing but friendly, helpful, and kind to us. They say that Atlantic Canadians are the friendliest people in the world, and in my 6 years of coming here I'd have to agree with that. When we are out at the hunt, we try to stay low-key. We aren't there to protest or attract attention to ourselves: we are there to document and observe the seal hunt, not cause problems. We try to treat people the way we would want to be treated ourselves, and even in Newfoundland - where there is somewhat of a deep-seated resentment of IFAW - people there were respectful and friendly, even when they knew who we were. Last summer I spent my vacation in the Magdalen Islands, and hope to return to PEI this summer with my family. I love it here: this is a wonderful place, with wonderful people.

I sympathize with those people who are concerned about negative media attention being placed on their region. But it is the seal hunt itself - not those of us who come here to observe it - that is the cause of any negative attention that may occur.  And just as people in Charlottetown might not like their reputation being tarnished by the annual seal hunt fracas that arrives on their doorstep each March, so are Canadians all across the country embarassed by the image this seal hunt gives us as a nation. Canada's commercial seal hunt is a stain on our reputation. But until our government has the cojones to stand up to the powerful fur and fishing industries, it will continue. And it will continue to hurt all of us.

Comments: 6

 
Anonymous
7 years ago

To the person who stated that "the point is for sealers to feed their families". ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? You sound as ignorant as they are!!! How about ANOTHER line of work, like working the fishing boats, crab boats or whatever else they may have up there. No one can convince me they don't have other options. They are just too damn lazy and ignorant to look for them!!!

 
Anonymous
7 years ago

I think the people hunting these seals need to look at another line of work. Between the mortality rate of the the newborns and the unsustainability of this activity, the end will inevitably occur, sooner rather than later. The species will become extinct, forcing those currently engaged in this barbaric activity to seek other means of providing for themselves. Of course, money and greed drives this - the narcissitic celebrities and those inclined to wear animal skins for vanity's sake will pay enormous sums for those garments made from those skins. Naturally an alternative means of support is unlikely to provide that level of compensation. Must we completely desecrate our planet and eliminated every living thing, before lamenting the fact that now we must find another planet somewhere to continue our profligate ways?

 
Anonymous
7 years ago

This massive slaughter is nothing but a complete display of ignorance, arrogance and barbaric behavior...disguised as "tradition". These animals are the target of astounding inhumanity and I'm so grateful to your team that you're out there every year doing everything in your power to show the world what it really is. I can't imagine how hard it must be to watch this atrocity and having to hold back your anger. I will continue to do what to help you end this once and for all. You're a true inspiration. Thanks for adding me to your myspace :)

 
Anonymous
7 years ago

The point is for sealers to feed their families. Sealing is cruel, it forces people to harden their hearts, and it may well be unsustainable, but it is not pointless.

 
Anonymous
7 years ago

The video makes it clear that the seals are completely helpless against their attackers, unable to run or fight. They almost look tame.
It seems so perverted for a man to walk up to such a gentle animal and do such violence to it. The whole thing is a pointless exercise in cruelty, and with the foreknowledge that we have, it's shooting ourselves in the foot too.

 
Anonymous
7 years ago

I was thinking of the lively-hood of the sealers. After watching this my thoughts have changed forever. What a sad video to watch.I'm 58 now, but when I was 20 I went hunting and shot a rabbit. I sold my gun the very next day. Was depressed for a while. I don't know how these guys can club anything to death and still sleep at night.

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