Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Seal Hunt

Not that I want to make a habit of advertising for what I would deem ill-concieved advocacy groups, but I ran across an ad for "Friends of Animals" in a magazine. After seeing Paul McCartney act like an idiot on an ice floe and then having to see this baby seal propaganda, I figured it was time to take a stand.

First things first though, check out their website: Friends of Animals , and the article entitled: "Photos from the 2006 International Day of Protest Against Canada's Seal Hunt". There are some stunning photos there of people protesting outside the Canadian Consulate in New York. Yep, people in New York protesting a hunt in Eastern Canada, where if I recall correctly, New York does not exist. At any rate, at some point during the comments of this particular article you will notice that I offered my two cents. Normally, I don't concern myself with this sort of discourse, however, in this case and in virtually every case with some misrepresentation of farming, I write something. Now I certainly don't want to pretend that I have all the answers, because I know I do not. The thing I like to do is see the argument and offer a second opinion. I don't always do it gracefully, but sometimes, I think it's warranted.

In this case, I wrote the following:

"I find this whole issue disheartening. Perhaps unexpectedly though, I am saddened by the overt propaganda generated by groups like yourselves. What concerns me most is the wholesale bias toward saving seals, when there is very little compassion shown to the men and women whose ability to provide for their families is threatened by these types of boycotts. I don’t pretend to have all the information as I am only an observer as yourselves. However, considering this protest is coming from New York, I imagine very few of the protesters have actually been to Canada’s East Coast, or even seen a real live seal for that matter.
The people involved in this seal hunt are not cold, hard murderers. What I take to be the more accurate scenario is that these are local people who make part of their living fishing. Now if you know anything about fishing you know that this is a dangerous and hard life. These people don’t live in downtown condos nor do they see their families everyday. All they are trying to do by taking part in the seal hunt is make some off-season money so they provide for their families. It may not be inherently obvious, but you can’t fish when the water is frozen. What are they to do should their ability to take part in this hunt be stopped? Will you provide the money for them to provide for their families in the fishing off-season? I suspect not. There simply aren’t thousands of jobs waiting to be filled in the East Coast of Canada. I’d imagine (and not to be disparaging to East Coast Canadians) that a job is better than no job. So please stop cluttering up our magazines and newspapers with this nonesense about the seal hunt. If you think it’s inhumane that’s fine, but keep your opinion to yourself. You aren’t educating people, you’re actually mis-educating many. Go live in Canada’s East Coast for a year (a full year, including the winter) and I guarantee you that your opinions will soften.

Additionally, my earlier comment about propaganda stands. To the best of my knowledge, the white seal pup so brazenly portrayed on everything you publish is a gross misrepresentation. The white-coated seal is a baby harp seal. Canada banned hunting white-coated harp seals in 1987 (look it up). The official word is that young harp seals lose their white coat after about 12 - 14 days, at which point they are fair game to hunters. Start putting those bulbous grey, adolescent harp seals on your posters and I’ll stop believing it’s propaganda. Prove me wrong.

P.S. I appreciate the “Blog Editor’s” attachment on the posts that grab the readers attention. It’s the shameless ability to respond when someone can’t return the favour that strikes me as noteworthy characteristic of this valuable organization."

And this was the response:

[Blog editors’ note: First, you happen to be writing to the only advocacy group we know that will publish a comment like yours. Second, we are also the only one that has specifically and continuously insisted that the government of Canada support opportunity and the right to meaningful work for its coastal residents. Perhaps what you would disagree on is whether killing seals — once they are a mere two weeks old, no less — is meaningful work. We take a clear stand on this; it’s our job to do so. The president of this group has been to the seal kill itself, and before that, Alice Herrington, this group’s founder, was there observing the killing as early as the 1960s. So, you indeed do not have all of the information. Thank your for your opinion.]

Now the question is, did they even answer the questions/issues I put forth or did they simply hide behind a couple important people. Did they offer any solutions for employing Eastern Canadians currently involved in the seal hunt, or is classic advocacy where they are all talk and no solution. I am also in awe of the blatant propaganda they use. Spare us the white-furred baby seal. No one hunts those anymore. I'd bet if we did a huge ad campaign about the benefits of an all steak diet, they would try and paint us with red paint or something. The duplicity is always astonishing.

I personally like how they are trying to sell me on the fact that they are "allowing" me to express my opinions. Who are these wahoos?

I recognize that this is an abnormal departure from what I'd normally like to write about, but these types of people get me a little hot under the collar. I still think that they should all take my "Live on the East Coast for a Year" challange. We could make it a reality show.


Blogger JLF said...

But Jay, think of the seals!

9:25 a.m.  

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