"...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.