A Pack of Lies on the Ice Pack

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

When it comes to fabricating pure unadulterated bullshit, Canadian sealers and the Canadian government seem to be in a competition. They are lying to the public, lying about Sea Shepherd actions, lying about each other and lying about the seals.

The latest round of far-fetched fabrications has sealer Shane Briand saying, ""She (The Farley Mowat) started harassing us right away. She almost took the stabilizer off, she was that close. And we had a guy on the ice and she broke the ice up under his feet."

Of course this was reported as the truth by the media although there was no evidence provided. No video, no photos, just the word of a baby killer trying to gain sympathy for his sick occupation.

Where are the images from the Canadian Coast Guard? They were there and they say that the Sea Shepherd ship endangered the lives of sealers by approaching too close to the sealing boats. You would think the government of Canada would have a video camera or at least a disposable camera onboard to gather some evidence to back their allegations.

Meanwhile the Sea Shepherd video and photos show the Coast Guard deliberately ramming the Farley Mowat yet the government claim is that the Farley Mowat rammed the Coast Guard ice-breaker. Of course if that were true the Farley would have been charged with damaging Canadian government property yet the only charges are approaching too close to the seal slaughter without a permit.

First the Coast Guard denied ramming the Sea Shepherd ship then they said they only "grazed" the ship, then they said they said that the Farley Mowat rammed them.

The government and the sealers claim the killing is humane yet last week the Sea Shepherd crew filmed a seal pup being skinned while still alive. We couldn't get it aired on the Canadian media networks - the truth is disturbing.

The sealers claim that the Coast Guard were not maintaining a watch on the ice-breaker Sir William Alexander when the sealing boat they were towing was stowed by a chunk of ice and capsized killing four sealers. The Coast Guard denies that and insists that there was a watch. The sealers say that the Coast Guard did not answer their radio pleas to stop and the Coast Guard maintain that they did not hear any calls of distress. Its one round of he said, he said, between sealers and the Canadian Coast Guard. One of these parties is lying.

Meanwhile when I described the viewpoint of a seal pup on the ice as a sealer approaches it to snuff out its life with a club, I am accused of being insensitive. Sometimes the truth is indeed insensitive.

According to the sealers, the crew of the Farley Mowat turned water cannons on them while they were on the ice, we broke up the ice under their feet and almost drowned them, we threatened their lives and almost ran them down with our larger ship. Of course, not one of these fabrications is backed by documentation - but the claims make print nonetheless. The media loves drama and why let the facts get in the way of a good story.

"The seal hunt is a humane, sustainable, and legal activity, and our government is committed to protecting the safety and security of sealers," said Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Loyola Hearn. "This guides our decisions on the ground and Canadians can rest assured that we will pursue the charges against these individuals vigorously."

Well, we have sufficient documentary evidence to disprove the claim that the seal slaughter is humane. We've seen plenty of illegal acts on the ice. With diminishing ice conditions due to global warming and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seal pups slaughtered every year there is no evidence that the killing is sustainable.

As for protecting the safety of the sealers, well, the government has already demonstrated they can't do this. Loyola Hearn's lies will not exonerate him of the manslaughter his policies have caused.

The biggest lie of all is the so called "seal protection" regulations. Under these rules it is illegal to witness or document the killing of a seal. In fact it is illegal to protect a seal. These rules are really the "sealer protection" regulations packaged in an Orwellian manner to confound and confuse the public.

Any sealer who says that he has never caused suffering to a seal is a liar. Any politician who states that the seal slaughter is humane is a liar. Any sealer or politician who accuses Sea Shepherd of threatening their life is a liar.

Loyola Hearn was blasting Sea Shepherd on Newfoundland radio saying, ""They have endangered our sealers. We are aware of that. We have these facts documented," he told radio station VOCM in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Of course he did not produce any documentation. It's one thing to say he has the facts and another to produce the facts.

The first casualty of any conflict is the truth and it is always difficult to sort fact from fiction. What Sea Shepherd has on our side is the most powerful weapon ever invented - the video camera. Every action taken by Sea Shepherd is documented. Every action taken against us is documented. The camera is both our shield and our sword and with it we can champion the truth.

These are our truths:

The slaughter of seals is grossly inhumane.

The slaughter of the seals is a threat to the survival of the harp seal species.

The slaughter of the seals is a threat to the marine eco-system of the North Atlantic.

The slaughter of the seals is not sustainable.

The seal slaughter is a glorified welfare system, a barbaric industry subsidized by the Canadian tax-payer.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has never caused a single injury to anyone and has never threatened anyone's life.

The sealers have assaulted Sea Shepherd crew and Sea Shepherd crew have been threatened and beaten by sealers in 1995 and in 2005. Fishermen attacked the Farley Mowat with axes just a few days ago as the police stood and watched.

We have video of a Canadian Coast Guard ice-breaker running down a seal pup on the ice.

And it is a truth that the slaughter of seals in Canada is barbaric, cruel, sadistic and economically unnecessary.

The government of Canada pays public relations people good money to spin lies into truth and to convert truths into lies. Fabricating the government's perspective on reality is a costly process.

Loyola Hearn is a backwater politician from Newfoundland who found himself with his hand on the grip of power once he became elevated as the "Honourable" Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. And power corrupts and this man is using his power to further his own ambitions and to trample over the rights of Canadians who find the seal slaughter objectionable. He is quite willing to say anything to defend the seal hunt and has already demonstrated that he will not let the facts or the truth get in the way of his policies to inflict suffering and death on the seals directly and the sealers indirectly.