Canada’s Culture of Cruelty: From Sled Dogs to Seal Pups
Most of Canada reacted in horror last week when it was revealed that 100 sled dogs were brutally killed after bookings for dog sledding tours dried up after the 2010 Olympic Games and the tour company had more dogs than it could afford to keep.
This latest case follows a shocking discovery made last month, when media reported on the case of a Labrador retriever and her two-month old puppies being viciously attacked with a nail gun and left to suffer. Again, the Canadian public responded with outrage and disgust.
While these are clearly examples of unacceptable conduct towards animals, how inconsistent it is that many Canadians continue to turn a blind eye to the fate of the hundreds of thousands of newly-weaned seal pups that are allowed to be killed off of Canada's east coast each spring; seals that are also shot under inhumane circumstances or struck in the head with a metal spike of a different kind.
Biologically speaking, seals and dogs are close cousins, and almost 100% of the seals killed in Canada's commercial seal hunt are under three months of age, the same age as the Labrador puppies attacked with a nail gun. Likewise, the reports of the suffering of some of the sled dogs – one had "half its face shot off and had one eye dangling from its face" – are words that could be used exactly to describe seal hunt footage obtained in recent years.
The time has come for Canadians to examine this moral conflict by asking why we are outraged at the attack on one set of “pups”, while allowing our government to use our tax dollars to financially support an attack on another.
Opinion writer Simon Jackon notes that "Canada has created a culture of passive acceptance of cruelty against animals". Sadly, in the case of Canada’s commercial seal hunt this cruelty is not only accepted, but it continues to be publicly supported and defended by many politicians as "tradition".
For more information on the International Fund for Animal Welfare efforts to end the Canadian commercial seal hunt, visit http://www.ifaw.org/seals