March 25, 2011

The Victoria Vegan Newsletter

There are generally two sides to a story, but in the case of seals, the majority of Canadian views are being grossly misrepresented at the International level.

The European Union (EU) recently banned imports of commercially-killed seal products (fur, oil and flesh), denying Canadian seal-killers profits. Key markets now closed to seal pelts include Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Greece and Poland.

Since the ban on importing baby harp seal pelts was first proposed, Canada’s delegates have defended Newfoundlanders by supporting the seal market, rather than pressing for an end to many decades of misery for seals, and all who want the bloodshed stopped. Where’s the democracy?

Poll after poll[1] demonstrates most Canadians oppose the seal slaughter. It directly impacts the lives of 4,000 or less people in Newfoundland and Labrador. The total annual income has been a few million dollars — while part-time seal-killers make a pittance to risk their lives — yet our government promises to waste millions of dollars to challenge an intelligent, overdue ban.

The proper function of Canada’s government is to represent its people, and the majority oppose a commercial seal slaughter which embarrasses this nation. Let’s finally be done with this annual bloody debacle — cease propping up the antiquated and frivolous fur industry, and leave the seals in peace. Direct the funds to a license buy-back for the next few years (which the industry supports[2]), and then shut it down. Let’s, please, move on.

[1] “An Angus Reid poll released on 4 September 1997 showed that half of Canadians want the east coast commercial harp and hooded seal hunt to end. In addition 75% oppose federal subsidisation of the hunt (41% being unaware that their tax dollars actually supported the hunt), while half the respondents didn’t know that the Canadian government allows the hunting of seals less than one year old – when informed 85% opposed this activity” September 4, 1997
Only Four In Ten (39%) Canadians Support Seal Hunt“ April 19, 2008
57% of Canadians feel that the EU ban on seal products is a step in the right direction. “ July 1, 2010

[2] “A recent poll [PDF] conducted by Ipsos Reid reveals that half of Newfoundland sealers holding an opinion support a federal buyout of the commercial sealing industry, which would involve fishermen and vessel owners being compensated for their sealing licenses, and money being invested in economic alternatives for affected communities. Two-thirds of licensed Newfoundland sealers holding an opinion believe that the landed value of the seal hunt will remain the same as 2009 (less than $1 million CAD in Newfoundland) or decline further. Telephone interviews were conducted with 267 fishers, 181 of whom identified themselves as holders of a sealing license, between Dec. 7, 2009 and Jan. 24, 2010.”