Captain Watson's Reply to a Newfoundlander

Commentary by Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Reply to Joan F. in Newfoundland

Dear Joan,

I am a Maritmer. My father was born in New Brunswick and his father was born in Prince Edward Island and his father before him was born in Nova Scotia.  My family is 8 generations in the Maritimes so I know what a Maritimer is, Joan. I have also lived in British Columbia, and I can assure you that no one in B.C. refers to themselves as a Maritimer. As for educating myself, I believe that I am thoroughly educated in marine ecology and I have been practicing marine ecological conservation for nearly forty years.

Joan, I am also a vegetarian and our ship the Farley Mowat is a vegetarian ship and I DO condemn the killing of animals - ALL animals for meat. It has no place in the 21st Century and we will not be completely civilized until we end this abomination. We do not put pictures of slaughtered farm animals on our website because we are a marine wildlife conservation organization.

However, we do have links on our website where you can find pictures of slaughtered domestic animals. So the links are there and again you are misinformed. Howard Lyman, who is on our Board of Advisors, is a leading critic of the cattle industry. I myself have been very critical of the meat industry, especially for the incredible usage of fish meal in the production of meat products.

As for your accusation that we care more for animals than for people, I fail to understand the difference. People are animals. One of our directors, Dr. Jerry Vlasak, is a trauma surgeon who saves human lives every day. The ecological law of interdependence dictates that the survival of other species is necessary for the continued survival of our own. I usually find people who tell us that we should be concerned for people instead of animals are people who themselves don't do anything for people. What do you do for people, Joan? I've delivered tons of food, medicine, and supplies to people in Africa and Latin America with my ship. Have you done as much? Why do you make accusations when you do not bother to research the facts?

Yes, the seal is an endangered species. All marine mammals are endangered due to the factors of over-hunting, pollution, heavy metal toxins, global warming, and human over-population. Remember [that] when Jacques Cartier landed in the Atlantic provinces there was no shortage of seals and plenty of cod. The overall seal population at the time was over forty million. It is now less than ten percent of that. Cod fish populations are less than 1%. It was human greed that destroyed the cod - not the seals.

The seal hunt is inhumane and it has upset the entire ecological balance of the Atlantic eco-system. A healthy seal population means a healthy fish population as the interdependence of the numerous species has worked just fine for hundreds of thousands of years. Humans have upset this system.  Human predation does not belong within this interdependent eco-system.

Joan, if you would bother to educate yourself on our history you will find that I led a campaign to oppose over-fishing of Cod in 1993, two years before Brian Tobin did his ocean-posing bit. Canada arrested me and put me on trial in St. John's for interfering with Cuban and Spanish drag trawlers.

I was acquitted of the charges. And we will be returning to the Nose and the Tail of the Grand Banks this year to once again protect fish. I was also warning the government of Canada all through the eighties that the cod populations would crash - so I did speak up then as I am speaking up now. I am rarely accused of not speaking up except by those who are uninformed of our activities, like yourself.

We also protect dolphins in Japan, sharks and sea-cucumbers in the Galapagos, albatross and other species from longlines, etc. I can assure you Joan that I have never met a cute sea-cucumber, but we do protect them nevertheless. It appears that you choose to be selective in your criticism of what we defend.

The slaughter of seals in Canada is obscene and I have opposed it for all my life and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. This one thing has made me ashamed of being a Canadian and therefore it is my responsibility, my duty and my obligation to do everything in my power to oppose it.

I hope that I have answered all your questions. If you have additional questions please contact us again.

Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

From: Joan F.
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 12:55 PM
Subject: question

Here are some questions for Paul Watson, prompted by his reply to a Newfoundland student who asked questions about the seal hunt.

Can you please tell me what is wrong with killing seals? You say there is no humane way to kill them, therefore I assume you think they should never be killed. What about other animals? Is it all right to kill cows, goats, sheep, calves, lambs, chickens, etc. so that people can eat meat and wear leather clothing, carry leather accessories, and sit on leather couches?

Do you eat dead animals -- and if you do, what do you do, wait for them to die of old age? Should the world stop killing animals? Or is it only the seal you are concerned about?

Is the seal a threatened or endangered species? Why didn't you speak up when the cod species was being destroyed? Are the cod not cute enough for you to be bothered about?

Why don't you put some pictures on your website of baby cows and baby sheep and bay hens being slaughtered? I understand baby sheep (lambs to the rest of the world) are killed by slitting their throats? Do you approve of this? Why not fight the sheep industry? Too big? Too strong? Too many city people like eating lamb and wearing lambskin?

Why do you care for animals more than you care for people? Why are you focusing on the poor and the unemployed? Are you afraid of attacking the cattle industry? Is the cattle industry too big and powerful for you to take on? What about the horse industry? I understand they kill and eat horses in France.

And, by the way, the phrase The Maritimes refers to Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. If Paul Watson wants to include Newfoundland in his insults, he will have to say Altantic Provinces, or else use the lower case. If he says "maritime provinces", he would, of course, be including British Columbia.

Educate yourself Paul. Then speak!

Joan F.