Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Seal Hunt

A headline in today's Globe & Mail declares, "Former Beatle urges Harper to stop seal hunt."

The article describes Paul McCartney and his entourage arriving at the Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island airport in a black Lincoln and boarding "at least four helicopters" and a fixed wing plane to fly to Iles de la Madeleine.

What irony. The seal hunters are not wealthy people. For most of them, the annual seal harvest is a major source of income. They are participating in a traditional practice that has been part of their culture for hundreds of years. McCartney's high tech publicity stunt probably caused more pollution than any of the hunters could cause in a year.

The Canadian Veterinary Association, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing in Canada have all found that the method used to kill seals is humane. Sealers use a traditional spiked club called a hakapik that they hit the seals with, and the seals die quickly and painlessly. Like many animals, seals sometimes continue to move (making instinctive swimming motions) after they have died, and this can give the appearance that they are being skinned alive when they are not. Yes, it's gross, but try going to a stockyard sometime.

I remember reading an interview years ago with Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, who was friends with McCartney and his first wife Linda. She said that when their kids were little, Paul and Linda told her they wouldn't let their kids associate with children "who had digesting meat in their stomachs"---in other words, who weren't vegetarians. This tells us a couple of things about McCartney. One: he is very intolerant. He demonizes small children for doing the most natural thing in the world, eating. Two, he is violently opposed to all killing of animals. He would probably like to outlaw all meat, leather, fur, and other animal products.

All over the world there are hunts that should be protested. There are hunters who hunt from helicopters with machine guns. Endangered species are hunted. There are hunters who kill just for fun. Why focus on seal hunts? Because environmental and animal rights groups rely on cutesy-pie big-eyed seal babies as a key fund raising tool. Think of the uproar if tuna were cute.

It goes on year after year: protests on the ice floes, boycotts of Canadian fish. The celebrities who have harassed sealers include Brigitte Bardot, Pierce Brosnan, Richard Dean Anderson, Yvette Mimieux, Sean Penn, Loretta Swit and Paris Hilton. The amount of money spent on anti-sealing propoganda is incredible, and much of the anti-sealing propoganda is completely false. Meanwhile people are being demonized who are carrying out a traditional activity that is not inhumane, not harmful to the environment, and not illegal. Just leave them alone.


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