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Old 03-10-2008, 02:22 PM
 
7,359 posts, read 10,279,481 times
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As an American, and as someone who does quite a bit of research on and teaches about the (dis)connection between humanity and "Nature," this topic comes up for discussion every year. My students are, understandably, appalled when they hear of this annual mass slaughter, especially when they learn that the economic aspects of it are, in fact, rather weak. Instead, it seems, Canada allows this to continue out of some warped idea of "tradition." Do you agree?

In posing this question, let me be very clear that in no way am I suggesting that the U.S. is somehow more humane towards animals. No way. One tour of an American factory farm would cure any fantasy about that one.

Finally, if you are against the seal slaughter--as I am--do you have any advice on how Americans and people from other nations might be of assistance in helping you to end this (every year, there are protests at Canadian embassies around the world)? Or is protest basically a fruitless exercise?

Thanks very much, from a concerned neighbor to the south.

 
Old 03-10-2008, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Canada
70 posts, read 281,196 times
Reputation: 45
Would people be opposed to it if they were not cute and cuddly? Is it any better or worse than what others do in the name of vanity? (i.e. bird nest soup).
 
Old 03-10-2008, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Came-by-Chance
1,793 posts, read 1,451,943 times
Reputation: 579
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyGuy_ca View Post
Would people be opposed to it if they were not cute and cuddly?
It is illegal to hunt those "cute and cuddly" seals, you know the ones the McCartney's had their picture taken with a couple of years ago, whitecoats and hooded seal pups have been illegal to hunt since 1987 in Canada.
 
Old 03-10-2008, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
9,019 posts, read 14,293,297 times
Reputation: 11032
mmm seal.....

They have good PR. It doesn't really register with me. Infinite more cattle, chickens, pigs, cats and dogs are slaughtered daily than what is done in the seal hunt annually.
 
Old 03-10-2008, 07:56 PM
 
4,282 posts, read 15,749,873 times
Reputation: 4000
Quote:
Originally Posted by shipm8 View Post
It is illegal to hunt those "cute and cuddly" seals, you know the ones the McCartney's had their picture taken with a couple of years ago, whitecoats and hooded seal pups have been illegal to hunt since 1987 in Canada.


Seems to be a point that gets lost in the "anti" rhetoric.
 
Old 03-11-2008, 12:48 AM
 
Location: Vancouver, BC
1,048 posts, read 6,445,308 times
Reputation: 1160
Hmmmm...

As a Canadian, the protests got old a long time ago, and are somewhat fruitless exercises in the ways that they're often misguided, steeped in old rhetic, and assume a simple answer for something that's much more complex.

The protests, I've noticed, tend to paint all Canadians with the same brush, or assume this is a national issue, something relevant to all Canadians, but does not do a great job at really demonstrating how localized the issue truly is. I'm quite anti-hunting, but I've lost respect for people like Paul McCartney, or Morrissey, who clearly don't appreciate that many Canadians are also against the hunt.

After all, the seal hunt is an incredibly localized issue, and I don't think outsiders truly appreciate it. To give an American example, the seal hunt in Canada affects the entire Canadian population in the same way that the wolf hunts occurring in Wyoming are affecting the rest of the American population. Now imagine global USA protests and boycotts because "Americans kill wolves". But America's not killing wolves. A small percentage of a tiny population in one very rural state in the USA is killing wolves, and the rest of the USA is getting tainted for it.

And then imagine global media asking, "what does the average American think about the wolf hunts and why aren't they stopping it"? As an American, you either aren't aware of that issue, or you realize the issue is more complex than it may appear to outsiders.

I personally can appreciate the economic aspect of why the locals in Newfoundland feel the need to hunt seals to make ends meet... but I think that's because I also understand the history of Atlantic Canada in general. I feel that many outsiders don't. I personally see the seal hunt as a byproduct of the horrible mismanagement of the cod fisheries in Newfoundland - an economy that sustained its people for hundreds of years, up until only recently. So we have many layers to this issue hidden in the history and it can get quite touchy.

Another similarity would be like the world vs. the USA because, oh, I don't know... choose your regional issue. How about the Makah whale slaughter in Washington state?

Now does your average American even know about the slaughter of whales performed by the Makah tribe of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. Imagine now being in the global spotlight due to such an issue. Welcome to the seal hunt in Canada.

Not every American is well informed on the whale hunts by the Makah in Washington, or the wolf hunts in Wyoming. Likewise in Canada with the seal hunt.

But we can talk about what we do know, right?

Newfoundland and Labrador is the most impoverished province in Canada. Despite its large size, its tiny population of barely over 500,000 has been decreasing since the 1990's. The province's prior infrastructure and economy relied upon fishing and those resources "dried up". When they weren't fishing, most would go on employment insurance. And now the fishing's gone... it's a sad situation. A lot of population is just moving across the country to Alberta where oil beckons. But some have gone to hunting seals and there are government sanctioned seal quotas. I think the bashing of seals is quite disturbing - it upsets me. Do they still do that though? Or is that just old propaganda we keep watching? I don't know. I do know that the furry white seals are not killed. Honestly, I'd be fine if all hunting was outlawed.

However, I also live closer to Mexico than I do to Newfoundland, if that puts it into perspective for you.

I also see the recent global outcry as a bit hypocritical and ironic and blown way out of proportion.

I see it blown out of proportion because the majority of Canadians are urban dwellers and don't hunt. Many Canadians condone seal hunting and are so far removed from Newfoundland that they may as well be another country. The Newfoundland seal hunt serves localized Newfoundland interests, not national Canadian interests, although Canadians are being painted by the same brush.

I see it as ironic and hypocritical because Americans and Europeans pay BIG money to trophy hunt in Canada for bears, moose, wolves, and whatever else they desire, and yet Americans and Europeans are the most outspoken on the issue of the seal hunt. But where are the Americans and Europeans crying out against their fellow country men entering Canada to kill moose and bears?

Do Americans and Europeans realize that they send hundreds of their country men to kill Canada's animals for fun every year? This is a serious question, because I can imagine your students do not know this, but would be equally appalled. Likewise, nothing's equally being done to stopAmerican hunters in Canada, and it amuses me that those against the seal hunt aren't even aware that droves of their own countrymen are hunting in Canada. To me it's even worse, because they're not even doing it for an economical reasons or economical desparation. They're doing it for fun. As a result, they're the reason why Canadian governments allow Americans to come hunting in Canada - it develops a localized economy in rural areas where populations exists but jobs do not! But that's an entire can of worms I will not open, don't worry!

But it would be interesting to use that as a comparison for your students.

But to get back to your initial question, I think in order to truly get anywhere in such a discussion, you have to deconstruct the issue.

Ask questions such as:

- What do we know about the seal hunt? How do we know this?
- What is merely propaganda? How do we know this?
- How did this happen? When did it start? Why did this start?
- What are the regulations and the season for the seal hunt?
- If it's merely economic, what are alternatives?
- How can we begin to discuss alternatives if we aren't familiar with the economic history of that province?

Etc, etc.

Only then can we start seeing patterns in cause and effect - why it's happening, why it has or doesn't have to happen, and potential ways of making it stop.

My 2 cents.

Last edited by Robynator; 03-11-2008 at 02:17 AM..
 
Old 03-11-2008, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
9,019 posts, read 14,293,297 times
Reputation: 11032
I tried to rep you for that Robynator, but I have to "share the love" some more first.

You hit it right on the head, and didn't even touch on the economic/environmental issues of the harp seal population helping to push an already depleated cod stock completely over the edge.
 
Old 03-11-2008, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Came-by-Chance
1,793 posts, read 1,451,943 times
Reputation: 579
Quote:
I think the bashing of seals is quite disturbing - it upsets me. Do they still do that though?
It is still done but shooting them is another method used, sometimes from a distance. Clubbing is more humane IMO, in most cases all it takes is one blow, whereas if a hunter is not an excellent shot it could take more than one bullet to do the job.
If anybody is interested here is a link to Fisheries and Oceans Canada that should dispel any myths you might have.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Management - Seals and Sealing in Canada (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/seal-phoque/myth_e.htm - broken link)

Last edited by shipm8; 03-11-2008 at 09:44 AM..
 
Old 03-11-2008, 04:12 PM
 
7,359 posts, read 10,279,481 times
Reputation: 1893
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robynator View Post
Hmmmm...

As a Canadian, the protests got old a long time ago, and are somewhat fruitless exercises in the ways that they're often misguided, steeped in old rhetic, and assume a simple answer for something that's much more complex.

The protests, I've noticed, tend to paint all Canadians with the same brush, or assume this is a national issue, something relevant to all Canadians, but does not do a great job at really demonstrating how localized the issue truly is. I'm quite anti-hunting, but I've lost respect for people like Paul McCartney, or Morrissey, who clearly don't appreciate that many Canadians are also against the hunt.

After all, the seal hunt is an incredibly localized issue, and I don't think outsiders truly appreciate it. To give an American example, the seal hunt in Canada affects the entire Canadian population in the same way that the wolf hunts occurring in Wyoming are affecting the rest of the American population. Now imagine global USA protests and boycotts because "Americans kill wolves". But America's not killing wolves. A small percentage of a tiny population in one very rural state in the USA is killing wolves, and the rest of the USA is getting tainted for it.

And then imagine global media asking, "what does the average American think about the wolf hunts and why aren't they stopping it"? As an American, you either aren't aware of that issue, or you realize the issue is more complex than it may appear to outsiders.

I personally can appreciate the economic aspect of why the locals in Newfoundland feel the need to hunt seals to make ends meet... but I think that's because I also understand the history of Atlantic Canada in general. I feel that many outsiders don't. I personally see the seal hunt as a byproduct of the horrible mismanagement of the cod fisheries in Newfoundland - an economy that sustained its people for hundreds of years, up until only recently. So we have many layers to this issue hidden in the history and it can get quite touchy.

Another similarity would be like the world vs. the USA because, oh, I don't know... choose your regional issue. How about the Makah whale slaughter in Washington state?

Now does your average American even know about the slaughter of whales performed by the Makah tribe of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. Imagine now being in the global spotlight due to such an issue. Welcome to the seal hunt in Canada.

Not every American is well informed on the whale hunts by the Makah in Washington, or the wolf hunts in Wyoming. Likewise in Canada with the seal hunt.

But we can talk about what we do know, right?

Newfoundland and Labrador is the most impoverished province in Canada. Despite its large size, its tiny population of barely over 500,000 has been decreasing since the 1990's. The province's prior infrastructure and economy relied upon fishing and those resources "dried up". When they weren't fishing, most would go on employment insurance. And now the fishing's gone... it's a sad situation. A lot of population is just moving across the country to Alberta where oil beckons. But some have gone to hunting seals and there are government sanctioned seal quotas. I think the bashing of seals is quite disturbing - it upsets me. Do they still do that though? Or is that just old propaganda we keep watching? I don't know. I do know that the furry white seals are not killed. Honestly, I'd be fine if all hunting was outlawed.

However, I also live closer to Mexico than I do to Newfoundland, if that puts it into perspective for you.

I also see the recent global outcry as a bit hypocritical and ironic and blown way out of proportion.

I see it blown out of proportion because the majority of Canadians are urban dwellers and don't hunt. Many Canadians condone seal hunting and are so far removed from Newfoundland that they may as well be another country. The Newfoundland seal hunt serves localized Newfoundland interests, not national Canadian interests, although Canadians are being painted by the same brush.

I see it as ironic and hypocritical because Americans and Europeans pay BIG money to trophy hunt in Canada for bears, moose, wolves, and whatever else they desire, and yet Americans and Europeans are the most outspoken on the issue of the seal hunt. But where are the Americans and Europeans crying out against their fellow country men entering Canada to kill moose and bears?

Do Americans and Europeans realize that they send hundreds of their country men to kill Canada's animals for fun every year? This is a serious question, because I can imagine your students do not know this, but would be equally appalled. Likewise, nothing's equally being done to stopAmerican hunters in Canada, and it amuses me that those against the seal hunt aren't even aware that droves of their own countrymen are hunting in Canada. To me it's even worse, because they're not even doing it for an economical reasons or economical desparation. They're doing it for fun. As a result, they're the reason why Canadian governments allow Americans to come hunting in Canada - it develops a localized economy in rural areas where populations exists but jobs do not! But that's an entire can of worms I will not open, don't worry!

But it would be interesting to use that as a comparison for your students.

But to get back to your initial question, I think in order to truly get anywhere in such a discussion, you have to deconstruct the issue.

Ask questions such as:

- What do we know about the seal hunt? How do we know this?
- What is merely propaganda? How do we know this?
- How did this happen? When did it start? Why did this start?
- What are the regulations and the season for the seal hunt?
- If it's merely economic, what are alternatives?
- How can we begin to discuss alternatives if we aren't familiar with the economic history of that province?

Etc, etc.

Only then can we start seeing patterns in cause and effect - why it's happening, why it has or doesn't have to happen, and potential ways of making it stop.

My 2 cents.
Thanks for the response. I was not really looking to get into a long conversation over American hypocrisy v. Canadian hypocrisy, or most of the other--to my mind--tangential points you touched on. But, just for the record:

The killing of wolves in America for the benefit of cattle ranchers is deplorable and should be stopped. It creates huge imbalances in local ecosystems, resulting in not only depletion of the land, but depletion of the land as a resource. If Canadians were to join the effort to protect American wolves--through boycott or any other peaceful method--that would be fine with me. And, by the way, it's not just happening in one state.

I thought I made it clear that I wasn't painting all Canadians with a broad brush. I know very well that some Canadians are against it, but was just looking for feedback on this board, in particular. That said, my concerns are for the brutalized animals.

I never said Americans weren't hypocritical: I think trophy hunting should be outlawed. I think Canadians should lock out American hunters. I really don't see why this has to turn into a nationalist and defensive conversation. The focus, for me, is on the animals at risk.

On another note: the economic benefit from the seal slaughter is relatively small, and provides in fact only a tiny percentage of the annual income for the slaughterers.

I don't understand why you would question the reality of what happens. There is no "propaganda" to the bashing of the seals. These people bash in the head of babies only 3-6 weeks old (they're not supposed to kill the very young, but they do). The mothers are screaming, the babies cannot get away. Any way you cut it, murdering hundreds of thousands of defenseless animals for no reason whatsoever other than to benefit in a very small way a very tiny minority of people is an abomination. Information on the seal hunt is available to any person wishing to do research. And, to my mind, there's nothing "overblown" about the mass massacre, on an annual basis, of this many defenseless animals. It's an insidious and appalling abuse of humanity's power. Not to mention humanity's ignorance about ecology: you can't just go about decimating natural populations and expect that this won't have a resonant and catastrophic effect on the entire ecosystem, and in turn, on humanity itself.

As for the other poster who claimed that the harp seal population is depleting cod: Humanity is depleting the cod population. The seals are an integral part of their local ecosystems, and take only what they need to survive. Humanity, on the other hand, insists on being able to provide the "choice" of cod at every single restaurant on the North American continent, once again demonstrating the fantasy that Nature can give and give and give, and never run out, and when it does--let's blame Nature, not our own voracious and gluttonous appetites.
 
Old 03-11-2008, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
9,019 posts, read 14,293,297 times
Reputation: 11032
Well since you clearly have all the answers, why did you ask the question?
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