Posts Tagged ‘seal hunt’

Appeasement: Always a sound policy

May 12, 2008

While going through my emails since returning, I came across this story pertaining to the seal hunt on the East coast.

The gist is that the animal rights groups are campaigning in Europe against the seal hunt and are using the emotional argument that the sealers are clubbing the seals to death with the hakapik which they say is brutal and cruel. Of course the activists don’t give a damn if the sealers are using clubs, guns or lethal injection. What they want is the seal hunt completely shut down.

But this seems fact seems to escape the thought process of the the Premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut. They seem to think that if they ban the use of the hakapik the whole protest will go away, or at least the European community will ignore the campaign run by the animal rights activists and continue to buy the Canadian product.

***** the premiers issued a statement against the use of the hakapik.

“There are some images that stick with the general public, and the hakapik is one image that is used continually, and is used to lobby against our hunt, throughout Canada,” Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik was reported as saying. “Even though we don’t use the hakapik, we are impacted by it.”

In Nunavut, rifles and harpoons are used. Most hunters use guns during the hunt, while only 5% relied on the hakapik in Newfoundland’s leg of the hunt. “I am advised that within each country the use of the hakapik was a dominant issue and continues to be viewed in an extremely negative manner,” Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams said in a statement.

Obviously they think that the animal rights groups will be happy with harpoons.

Noting a European Union vote on a possible ban is scheduled for June, Mr. Williams said he and Mr. Okalik were “prepared to move quickly and decisively,” on the issue.

The leaders said they had written a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressing the matter. “The Canadian delegation was told repeatedly that a ban of this tool may prove to dispel some of the negative opinions regarding the Canadian seal harvest.

“Clearly, this is a core issue in Europe and is used as part of the anti-sealing rhetoric that is being put forward to their policy and decision-makers,” Mr. Williams said. Banning the hakapik “is an opportunity to disarm them of something that is used negatively against our sealers,” he added.

Considering that the hunt opponents are still talking about the killing of baby whitecoat seals and using their pictures in their propaganda it seems unlikely that they will stop talking about the hakapik just because the government bans something they say they aren’t using anyway.

But you might suspect that the Premiers really do have enough intelligence to know that giving the animal rights groups the hakapik will not blunt their attacks or the impact that they are making on the European community. If that is the case then the whole exercise becomes a cynical political process to try and convince their local constituency that they are in fact supporting their sealers and trying diligently to solve their problem.

So we either have some politicians who are dumb enough to think that they can appease the animal rights activists by having the Federal government pass a law banning the hakopik, or cynical enough to know that a ban would be ineffectual, but by asking for it they at least appear to their voting constituency as though they have a plan. Either way not a scenario that instills confidence in your government’s leadership.

Very similar to Ontario Premier David Miller’s campaign to ban handguns across Canada to show that he has a plan to stop gang violence in Toronto.

Lies and exaggeration on the seal hunt

March 29, 2008

The annual seal hunt off the East coast stirs up a great deal of hysteria amongst the various animal rights groups each spring. More accurately it probably brings joy to their hearts as this is a great fund raising event for them.

Back in the days of the Brigitte Bardot photo-ops they locked onto photos of the appealing seal pups with their glistening white coat and enormous eyes as the fundraising icon for their anti-sealing campaigns. When the killing of seal pups, or white coats was stopped in 1987 the anti-sealing activists appeared to have lost their best fundraising image. But to read the lamentations from animal rights spokespersons today, reported faithfully by the media, the sealers are still killing those photogenic little ‘white coats’.

“Just three days ago, we stood on the ice floes with beautiful baby seals still covered in white fur,” said Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society of the United States.

“It is heartbreaking that the commercial seal hunt has begun and these pups are being brutally clubbed, shot and skinned to produce fashion items nobody needs.”

It is difficult to believe that Ms. Aldworth really believes this rhetoric and is unaware that these pups are no longer being killed by the sealers. More probably, she can clearly hear the sound of donation money rolling in every time she intones the words ‘white coats’ and ‘clubbed’ in the same sentence.

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador certainly recognized that the animal rights groups were playing fast and loose with the facts back in 2005, when they sent out a press release trying to set the record straight.

“White coats” have not been harvested since 1987, but there is evidence that they are being exploited by the anti-sealing interest groups who profit from Eastern Canada’s seal harvest.

It has long been recognized in Newfoundland and Labrador that the white coat (which references a harp seal’s white fur that molts away after approximately three weeks) is a critical component to some lobbyists’ fundraising campaigns. A harvesting and trading ban of white coats has existed under Marine Mammal Regulations since 1987. However, some political action committees appear to rely on the donations that are generated in response to their blatant promotion of such images.

“We respect even extremist groups’ right to disagree with Newfoundland and Labrador’s cultural, historical, and economic links with the seal harvest,” says Trevor Taylor, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “But many anti-seal groups must come clean. They purposely promote the more appealing image of white coats, which have not been harvested for almost two decades. It’s time that they stopped exploiting these seals for their own fundraising purposes.”

Where they got it wrong was they thought that the campaign was against the killing of the pups. But the campaign was, and is, about stopping the seal hunt completely and animal rights groups, in their religious fervour, will use any means within their grasp, fair or foul, to achieve that goal.

And if it means using misleading statements and emotional issues that no longer exist, then so be it.

To loosely paraphrase Barry Goldwater, “extremism in the defense of an animal rights agenda is no vice”.

Thanks to Small Dead Animals for this pointer, although SDA’s focus was that in our time of climate change the sealers were having trouble getting to the seal herds due to thick ice.


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