4.04.2005

oh canada. how could you.

The tranquil blue-white ice fields that have served the harp seals as a nursery for the last three weeks have been turned into a Dantean portrait from hell. Streams of blood flow and pool on the ice and the vacant-eyed, cruelly-skinned corpses of thousands of seal pups litter the ice. In the open leads, bleeding bodies bob, many sinking and not recorded in the quotas. The seals are being shot, kicked in the face, and bashed with clubs and spiked clubs called hak-a-piks.
From the blog of Paul Watson, Captain of the Farley Mowat, as quoted by Karyn Strickler.

This is so nauseating.

I hope no one feels obligated to tell me about traditions, ways of life and people earning their living. Apartheid was a tradition, slavery was a way of life, and industries die as their usefulness is extinguished. It's time for the non-essential slaughter of sentient creatures to go the way of the locomotive and the hot metal letter press.

7 comments:

RobfromAlberta said...

I hope you don't really mean to suggest that the seal hunt is even remotely comparable to human slavery. It's nasty business to be sure, but unless you're a vegetarian, you've indirectly participated in comparable activities. It's pretty gruesome at your local slaughterhouse, too.

L-girl said...

I do not suggest seal slaughter is comparable to human slavery. I suggest that "it's our way of life" is no excuse for cruelty. This is often the excuse given for some horrifying practices.

I am a vegetarian. However, I know my hands are not perfectly clean. No one's are - but that's not an excuse for unmitigated cruelty either.

I believe we should be conscious of what we do to sentient creatures. In my opinion, killing an animal to eat it is different than killing it for its pelt for a luxury item.

The seal hunt is barbaric. It belongs with slavery in the dustbin of history. That's the other slavery comparison.

RobfromAlberta said...

The seal hunt isn't going anywhere. Even back when Europe closed their market to seal pelts, fishermen in Newfoundland still hunted seals. It's a fact of life, there are too many seals on the Atlantic coast for the depleted fish stocks to support. Whether there is a market for pelts or not, the fishermen will protect their livelihoods, legally or otherwise.

Oh, and they do eat seal meat in Newfoundland.

L-girl said...

"It isn't going anywhere" does not - should not - stop people who oppose it from continuing their fight. Many other traditions have been stopped, despite deep roots, and despite other people's belief in the inevitability of things remaining the same.

Child abuse, animal abuse, other forms of violence are all "facts of life" but people work to lessen all of them. (Yes, I do equate child and animal abuse, I see them as inextricably linked.)

If the people in Newfoundland didn't have seal meat, they'd eat something else. This slaughter is obviously not about feeding hungry people.

Let's not go around in circles, ok?

G said...

Well, no circles ... it's much more complex than a simple black & white answer, as most things are. RobFromAlberta does make a good point regarding the fish stocks ... which is a huge crisis as much of the Maritime and Northern economies are tied into that.

That said, I too wish there was a more humane solution. I certainly don't advocate the killing of anything for its pelt ... but is that the only reason these hunts occur? Some seal hunts, yes, others, no ... it's more complex than simple kill-for-profit.

I'm not a vegetarian - but if I eat a hamburger while wearing my leather jacket, does that equate me to a Newfoundlander eating seal meat and profiting from the leftover pelt?

What I'm saying is that the intention behind the hunts is what must be looked at, not the fact of the hunts themselves. There are times where it's a necessity to protect a depleted stock - just as there are other times when the hunts are purely 'pelt-motivated', so to speak, when they are, as you say, completely unjustified and brutal.

So a solution - I don't know. It's a tough issue, where both sides can be seen, and one that does require certain debate as to the means to control the who/why/when/where/how of the hunts (with special emphasis on the 'why').

L-girl said...

I don't buy the "unless you're a vegetarian" argument. It seems to excuse any number of cruelties, as if there are no gradations, as if unless we're perfect, then anything goes.

Intentions do matter - but actions matter more. A struggling human economy can't excuse this kind of brutality, IMO. And it won't fix the problem anyway. It's a very short term solution at best, and one with a very high price.

darcey said...

It is stupid to support Paul Watson. There are other more honourable ways to meet the ends.