"...Sealing in Canada Isn't About Economic Necessity..."

The article published yesterday in several Sun media outlets is a good indication of a dawning awareness in Canada.- Sheryl Fink adds her comments below.

Finally! People are realizing that commercial sealing in Canada isn't about economic necessity. No, it is about regional politics, and special interest groups such as the Fur Industry that are wielding their power over the federal government when it comes to this issue. How else can we explain the Canadian government's insistence on supporting the seal hunt, when the majority of Canadians are opposed to it?

Unfortunately, Weston's article repeats the government myth that anti-sealing campaigns show whitecoat seals being killed: highly unlikely since any such photos would be at least 20 years old. The truth is that Europeans - and most Canadians - are equally repulsed by the inhumane killing of seal pups of any age, whether it be a 2 week old whitecoat, or a 3 week old "beater" with its silvery-spotted coat (the current seals targetted in Canada's commercial seal hunt).

But such myths have been flowing freely from Canadian officials this week, along with the charge that the European decision to ban seal products is based on misinformation. Such claims are so demonstrably false they are laughable. The ban on seal products announced in Europe this week was not a decision taken lightly - it is the culmination of three years of extensive evidence gathering and critical analysis. A thorough and extensive scientific opinion of the killing and skinning of seals in commercial seal hunts around the world, including Canada's, was produced, as well as a socio-economic evaluation of the impact of an EU ban.

Yes, European policy makers are undoubtedly better informed about the facts of seal hunting than are most Canadian politicians. In fact, Europe has taken a much more comprehensive look at commercial seal hunts than any political party or committee in Canada has done in the past 20 years.

Senator Mac Harb's recent attempts to have this issue debated in the Canadian Senate is a timely example. Not one single Senator has been enough to second the Harb Seal Bill so that the issue of commercial sealing can receive the benefit of a proper public debate. Are Canadian politicians afraid of the truth about the seal slaughter? How long do they think they can they hide behind their lies and rhetoric?

Fortunately, Europe has now stepped up and shown leadership where there Canadian government has failed. Markets for seal fur are dismal, and are not likely to be revived any time soon, even with continued subsidies. Like the tobacco industry, demand for seal fur is something that is unlikely to experience a huge resurgence in the near future, and for very good reason. To keep subsidizing sealers and promoting the sealing industry is economically irresponsible as well as unethical.

It seems obvious now that the only thing keeping the seal slaughter alive in Canada is the continuous infusion of government funds. Spending millions of dollars on a WTO challenge might prolong the inevitable death of this industry, but to what end? Not only will more seals suffer, but Canada - and Canadians - will continue to pay a heavy price – with our taxes, and with our reputation on the world stage.

If Canadian politicians really cared about sealers and their families, they would put their money where their mouth is and start transitioning people out of this archaic and unnecessary industry, sooner rather than later. That is the responsible thing to do, and such an action would be supported by the majority of Canadians.

As the Vancouver Olympics approach, all eyes will be on Canada. The EU ban on seal products now provides Canadian politicians a chance to make a graceful exit out of this mess and end the commercial seal hunt once and for all. It remains to be seen if they can set their egos aside, accept the reality that commercial sealing is inherently inhumane as well as unnecessary, and do the right thing - for Canadians, and for the seals.

Comments: 11

 
Anonymous
4 years ago

I might just add for your information. I am a wildlife biologist. As such I know the FACTS about animal populations and the good of hunting as a responsible wildlife management tool.

 
Anonymous
4 years ago

Do you people realize that there are millions upon millions of seals that, like all North American wild animals need to be controlled. Hunting seals is not only an economic necessity for some people in Canada but more than that it is a necessity to make sure seals do not outgrow the carrying capacity of their habitat.
The reason the government of Canada does not bow down to anti-seal hunt propaganda is because they base their findings on science rather than on emotional blackmail my a few misguided armchair "scientists".
Incidentally it the same with bear hunting in Canada. You people say the bear is close to extinction. True science tells us that Canada has the largest black and grizzly bear populations in North America. In some areas the bears, grizzly and black, are so high in numbers that they need to be culled by hunters.
Less hype and more serious science would suit you people much better and maybe you even would be taken seriously.

 
Anonymous
4 years ago

I totally agree with Mark. Sustainable? WWF said the hunt was humane? The whole organization? Or a paid employeee by Canada? I know that because I am Canadian. Canadian but embarassed to be a Canadian because of what we do to these pups. When I travel abroad, I tell people I´m American.
Karen

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Responses like "read a book" or "a study said it was humane and sustainable - nuff said".. not true by the way.. are hardly convincing. They might as well be honest and say "selfish greed overrides the future of the world and is more important than even our children" Supporting and giving euphemisms like "hunt" or "industry" to a mafia style wildlife massacre/torture operation by a handful of thugs does not make it any less of a what it is.. factually a criminal activity. But facts are facts except to dedicated canadian sadists.. Ethical countries like Mexico have banned it, ALL of Europe has banned it, and the US has banned it for decades. The rest of the world it seems despite their part in wars and other questionable activities are more ethical than Canada and Canadian ministers.

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Nice biased article Weston. The seal hunt more about regional politics than economics? That is absolutely ridiculous!
Weston let me give you a little tutorial on Canada's law making body in Parliament, the House of Commons.The House is composed of 308 seats,distributed in proportion to the population of each province.For example: Ontario has 106 seats while Newfoundland and Labrador has 7.
It is well known amongst Canadians that the federal government cares little for the opinions of a province that can only return them 7 federal seats. In fact the current Prime Minister has said that he does not need Newfoundland's 7 seats to form a majority.
Newfoundland in fact returned none of Harper's Conservatives in the last federal election. Not because of some stance on the sealing industry, but because he broke his promise regarding the revenue structure of Newfoundland's offshore oil industry, as stipulated in the Atlantic Accord. This is far more important to Newfoundland and Canada than the sealing industry.
Therefore, your argument goes from the sublime to the ridiculous.
To win those 7 seats the offshore oil and gas issues need to be addressed, not the sealing industry. Pathetic piece of journalism.
Furthermore, the only fur industry in decline is the seal fur industry. All other fur-bearing industries are not and you people know this.
The EU of course is not a paradigm of animal rights. You are setting your animal rights compasses by a union of nations that produces the most animal pelts in the world. The hypocrisy is becoming clear to the casual observer.
If the Canadian government is playing politics here it is because they do not want to seem to be targeting Canada's aboriginal communities. Regarding them , you folks are showing a great deal of cultural chauvinism and ignorance.
Oh, Mark Donners....read a book dude about the place and people you slander LOL. If this is the caliber of IFAW supporters...you'll do yourselves in.
I doubt this will be posted...right!

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Well, the above poster Mark Donners copies and pastes that comment everywhere. Its full of propaganda, historical inaccuracies and falsehoods. That guy is more interested in promoting bigotry against a people it seems than concern for seals.
Pandering to regional
politics....you must be kidding. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador for instance has 7 federal seats in Parliament. The current Prime Minister has said he doesn't need NL to form a majority government.
If he cared about this region politically he would not have passed the last budget which has a section that is directed at NL only and in fact goes against the Atlantic Accord. This means that the Federal government will be taking Billions in offshore oil and gas revenues which go against the terms of the Accord.
Yes, some of the revenue does go to Canada, but Harper passed a budget which takes more from Newfoundland's revenues than stipulated in the Atlantic Accord.
Now, it may throw a monkey wrench into your stereotypes of the people of that province....but this issue is more important to Atlantic Canadians, particularly NL, than whether or not the federal government supports the seal hunt.
Your argument is weak.
WWF did a study of that seal hunt. Conclusion....Humane and Sustainable....enough said.
Canada's seal hunt last year resulted in approximately 70,000 seals being taken. That means Ontario and Quebec are now Canada's largest producer of wild animal pelts. But for some reason animals that are trapped in the forest and are then clubbed, strangled or smothered to death are of no concern to you or anyone.
So when are you folks going to go after Newfoundlands other resources.

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

Hi all!
im from germany and I think that the "traditional" seal is just horrbible!
How people can kill animals?
Even if there are rules during the sealing!
This is just a step which is strange!

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

I just wanted to point out that PETA does use the whitecoat seal in their anti-sealing campaign. So it isn't a government myth. Maybe a generalization though. (and I remember the photo that PETA uses -of the whitecoat seal on the left and a skinned seal on the right- from when I was in highschool about 15 years ago, so yeah, PETA is using old photos). Either way, seal hunting is not pretty whether it's a 3 week old seal or a 3 year old seal. I just wish PETA would stop using the 'cute' image to get people involved, I find it kind of demeaning to everyone else who is against hunting (ie. that we only care about cute animals).

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

500 years ago in Newfoundland there were walrus, giant auks, Labrador ducks, wolves, grizzly bears, polar bears, pilot whales, sea mink and Beothuk people. All were wiped out by the invaders who now proclaim they belong and everyone and everything else does not. It is these people that slaughter seals. The only tribe in Canada exterminated to the last person was the Beothuk, the people Vikings met 1000 years ago. In the 70’s when the Constitution was being repatriated, a Newfoundland delegate caught on tape bragged that Newfoundland no longer had an Indian problem. Nor does it have a wolf, bear, walrus, auk or sea mink problem. All have been exterminated by those who now proclaim a God given right to bash in the brains of seal pups while Canadian taxpayers foot the bill. And when there were forty million seals on Canada’s shores there was no fish shortage. Seals are an essential part of a carefully balanced ecosystem, where seals eat the predators of the food fish that Newfoundland depends on. With less seals the predators are rampant, meaning that populations of cod and other food fish Canada exterminated by 1992 have not recovered. It was not the seals that wiped out the fish; it was greedy sealers who are enemies of the their own fishing communities and the incompetent and corrupt Canadian government. In the 1970's foreign trawlers were impacting the cod, so Canada banished them from Canadian waters in 1978. The Canadian fisheries mafia then started in with their draggers, all the while claiming they were "managing" the oceans, but taking 250,000 tons of cod annually until the fish were gone, and putting a 100,000 people out of work by 1992. With most of the seal pups killed because of ice loss from climate change last year, the DFO has the criminal audacity to break their own regulations and allow seals to be reduced by 30% this year, going ahead with the largest massacre since the 1950's when seals were severely endangered. The massacres themselves already kill at least half of the existing seal pups. And world renowned biologists who don't work for the DFO are warning Canada that seal populations are under serious threat. The DFO itself admits by 2015 70% of the harp seals will be gone. Vladimir Putin had it right when he said it's a bloody and immoral business. This is not a business, it's an illegal operation similar to the drug trade and run by criminals and corrupt politicians. These few sealers are in fact acting like traitors to Canada. To earn the pitiful $6 million profit the seal killers earned last year in the offseason, they bilked the Canadian taxpayer for over $30 million dollars in subsidies (Coast Guard helicopter/ship support, overseas propaganda vacations for corrupt officials, etc) and have cost Canada three quarters of a billion dollars in boycotts, much of that snow crabs, the mainstay of Newfoundland. To add insult to injury, many of these so called "sealers" come from the cities and are plagued with alcoholism and drug use and many do not work the remaining ten months of the year, collecting welfare checks instead. Last year the Gulf of St Lawrence was open water and free of ice for the first time on record. The scene of a few lonely pups and their mothers on the few remaining floes screaming and being chased down by hakapiks is the most saddening example of Canadian barbarism.

 
Anonymous
5 years ago

I was going to write an email to Mr Weston about his error regarding the whitecoat but realize the futility in that. Over the years I have tried to email journalists about various aspects of the seal hunt that they have misrepresented and also about people that really care that this slaughter end. My emails have always been returned due to filters placed to refuse them being received. If you have the word seal or anything like that in your email you can forget it being received.
Frustrating but to be expected. No one wants to do the investigating necessary to see how bad the commercial seal hunt really is. If any of our politicians took time to educate themselves there would be another seal hunt ever! One can only hope as the markets close that I will see the end of this hunt in my lifetime!! Please!!!

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