The Great Canadian White Lie
The following article from the Vancouver Sun appeared today in response to international protests against the slaughter of baby seals in Canada.
The Canadian government and media regularly criticize the movement to end the seal hunt for using celebrities to get the message across yet the media usually only reports on the seal hunt only when a celebrity is involved as illustrated in the story below.
The lie that the Canadian media keeps perpetuating is that the anti-sealing movement focuses on baby seals when according to the Canadian government, baby seals have not been killed for years.
The fact is that over 90% of the seals killed are in fact baby seals. Canada did ban the whitecoat hunt (i.e. seals under two weeks of age) and now insists that seals over two weeks old are adults.
The government complains that there are few images shown of non-whitecoat seals being killed and that all the images of whitecoats being clubbed are misleading. Yet it is illegal to take photos or to film the seal hunt so many hunt opponents have no choice but to use older images of whitecoats being killed. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society uses images of seals being killed that are over two weeks of age but to do so meant we had to break the so called "Seal Protection regulations" to do so.
The lies that the Canadian government keeps promoting and the Canadian media keep supporting are:
- That the sealers only kill adult seals. Not true. More than 90% of the seals killed are under 3 months of age.
- That the seal hunt is an economic necessity for many Canadian families. Not true. The seal slaughter is subsidized by the Canadian government and costs tax-payers more than it brings in meaning that if sealers were paid by the government to not kill seals than the taxpayers would actually be saving money.
- That the seals are destroying the cod fish. Not true. The cod fishery collapsed in 1992 because of the incompetence of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the greed of the fishing industry.
- That the seal hunt is well managed and humane. Not true. The quotas are always ignored. The killing of seals has been documented a thousand times over to illustrate the excessive cruelty involved.
- That the seal hunt is part of the culture of the indigenous people of Canada. Not true. No part of the annual quota set for the East coast seal hunt is taken by First Nations people. The white sealers take 325,000 seals and the Inuit in the far north take only 10,000 separate from that number. The commercial kill is actually hurting the indigenous cultures.
- That all the opponents of the seal slaughter are rich and are exploiting the sealers to raise money. Not true. We wish it were but we don't profit from the seal killing. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society spends more money on opposing sealing than we bring in from donations specifically for opposing sealing.
- That opponents of the seal hunt are city people who do not appreciate the way of life of fishing communities. Not true. Captain Paul Watson was raised in an East coast Canadian fishing community and it was his witnessing of a seal being killed at age 10 that put him on the road to a lifelong crusade to end sealing.
All of this propaganda will be mute in a few months after the European Parliament passes a bill to ban all seal products into Europe. Without a market for seal products in the United States and Europe the bottom should drop out of the industry and the price of seal products will drop to a level that will make the annual killing orgy unprofitable. A few sadistic rednecks will still go to the ice to kill baby seals for kicks but with demand lowered, the sealing industry will be dead.
One thing that should make the Canadian government and the sealers happy is that the hunt opponents like ourselves won't be asking for money anymore to oppose sealing. And that will make us happy also.
McCartney urges EU ban on seal products
Peter O'Neil, Europe Correspondent, Canwest News Service
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
PARIS - Pop legend Paul McCartney, who once called the seal hunt a "stain" on Canada's image, urged demonstrators gathering in Brussels Tuesday to complete their fight for a European seal products import ban.
The ex-Beatle said an EU ban could successfully shut down the international sealing industry.
"Stopping the import of seal fur into the European Union could really put an end to this brutality once and for all," he said in a video message played at the event. "Please ask the EU to ban this terrible trade today."
Barbara Helfferich, spokeswoman for European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimos, said Tuesday the proposed ban will be introduced later this month.
Organizers of Tuesday's demonstration said the event wasn't timed to coincide with Canada Day, even though the hunts in Canada and Namibia are the prime targets of the powerful and well-financed anti-seal hunt movement.
The demonstrators, joined by EU parliamentarians, "held a minute's silence in honour of the millions of seals that have been killed in the last few decades, and blew whistles to show their disapproval with the hunt," according to a news release from the Eurogroup for Animals coalition.
McCartney and Heather Mills, his wife at the time, visited Canada in 2006 to pose with fluffy white baby seals and called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end the "heartbreaking" hunt that has left a "stain" on the Canadian character.
Other celebrities who have fought the seal hunt include Mick Jagger, Martin Sheen and Brigitte Bardot. They often pose with the baby seals even though Canada has had a ban on whitecoat hunting for more than two decades.
Sea Shepherd documents seals being killed March 31, 2008