Da Legal Stuff...

All commentaries published on Web Talk are the opinions of the contributor(s) only and do not necessarily represent the position of any other individuals, groups or organizations.

Now, with that out of the way...Let's Web Talk.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Response to Seal Hunt Article

Hi all,

I recently recieved the following from a lady in Ontario who has expressed her position on the seal hunt. Obviously it is an opinion I do not share, as I am sure many other Newfoundlanders and Labradorians don't. However since we always try to be open minded and fair in letting anyone with an opinion express it, I thought I would print the article in its entirety.

Following the article I will make some direct comments on its contents and I welcome others to post any comments they feel is appropriate as well.

Here it is:

I read the article written by Joan Forsey in the Toronto Star and the defense against protestors of the seal hunt is weak to say the least. If Animal Welfare groups use the gruesome images of the seal hunt to raisemoney, good for them!

The images and videos we have all seen are not fabricated, they are real! These pictures are not created by Hollywood but by Newfoundlander's murderous hands.

Our Federal Government continues to allow the genocide of hundreds of thousands of seals because they are afraid of losing Newfoundland's votes but believe me, by continuing to allow this and shattering Canada's image in the process, they will lose more votes than 5 Newfoundlands put together.

Sealing is archaic and it is about time the sealers found a more viable way to make a living. The Federal government is welcome to use our tax dollars to help them do that, but I will keep fighting to stop Ottawa from spending my taxpayers' money to subsidize the largest, cruelest slaughter of sea-mammals around the world.

The rest of Canada are an educated public, you know? And NO ONE can possiblyconvince us that clubbing seals to death is "humane". Newfoundland has even failed to find a more humane way to do this if they want to continue the hunt.

We know that a sealer gets roughly $50 for a high-quality pelt and that the seal hunt brings in roughly $4000 annually to the sealers. You tell me if $4000 a year is enough for any family to live on.

The Federal government has paid $20 million to subsidize this horror and the whole thing will produce $16 altogether. The seal hunt doesn't even make mathematical sense!!!

As for urban vs rural, you are right. The "urbans" cannot understand how such disregard for animal welfare can still go on in the 21 st century andhow someone who has clubbed 100 baby-seals to death in front of their mothers can close their eyes and sleep at night. I guess the "rural" thing hardens your heart too much. If you are so against the "urbans" I am wondering, who are you expecting tosell the fur to? I doubt the rurals will pay thousands of dollars for designer fur fashions.

You might as well stop trying to justify the cruelty of the seal hunt. The rest of Canada and the world have seen the pictures and they will be forever imbedded in our minds. I for one, will boycott Canadian seafood for as long as this travesty goes on and will convince my family and friends to do the same.

I will keep supporting Animal Welfare groups to nail the last nails in the fur industry's coffin. Have a Happy Easter and may God have mercy on all Newfoundlanders. Hope you enjoy the pictures and smell of a blood tinted ocean this spring.

Marcela Donato
Ontario

Patriot's comments:

Ms Donoto writes: The images and videos we have all seen are not fabricated, they are real! These pictures are not created by Hollywood but by Newfoundlander's murderous hands.

Response: You are correct, the images and videos are not created in Hollywood, however they are far from accurate.

The videos released to the public by these groups are the ones that show only what these groups want you to see and do not depict the general facts. Often they depict true carnage. What people fail to understand is that the production of meat (yes, seal meat is a food source) in any industry such as cattle, chicken, etc. is not a pretty sight. Much blood is shed.

Most hunters use the most humane methods possible, however there are always a very small percentage of people in any industry or any walk of life who are simply cruel. This does not reflect the attitude of the majority of sealers but it is what these groups like to show. Living in Ontario, I am sure you have met many people from NL. Do you really think that the general population of the province are a barbaric horde who like inflicting suffering on animals?

Ms Donoto writes: Our Federal Government continues to allow the genocide of hundreds of thousands of seals because they are afraid of losing Newfoundland's votes but believe me, by continuing to allow this and shattering Canada's image in the process, they will lose more votes than 5 Newfoundlands put together.

Response: This is so far off base that I am nearly lost for a response. Being from Ontario I can see how you would be used to the application of political pressure (votes) to push a government's hand. What you fail to understand is that, with only 7 seats in the House, NL never has and never will have any political clout in the way Ontario does. If you are under the impression that wanting votes from NL or from Atlantic Canada in general is key to the Federal government's agenda, you are way off base.

Ms Donoto writes: I will keep fighting to stop Ottawa from spending my taxpayers' money to subsidize the largest, cruelest slaughter of sea-mammals around the world.

Response: As I mention in a later comment, the Atlantic seal hunt is not the largest sea-mammal hunt in the world. In fact it is not the largest seal hunt in the world. A larger one is conducted in North America and not by Canadians.

As for subsidies, I don't know the amount of any Federal subsidies to sealers, but I would be willing to bet that is pales compared to that given to cattle ranchers who slaughter millions and millions of land mammals every year. Far more than the 300,000 or so seals taken in the Atlantic seal hunt.

I don't want anyone to think I am against beef production, but facts are facts.

Ms Donoto writes: The rest of Canada are an educated public, you know? And NO ONE can possibly convince us that clubbing seals to death is "humane". Newfoundland has even failed to find a more humane way to do this if they want to continue the hunt.

Response: I am reading an insinuation into your comment that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are NOT educated. This is typical of the way we are viewed in many parts of the country. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have an educational system which is on par with the rest of the Country and has produced scientists, Rhode Scholars, Statesmen, doctors, lawyers and even animal rights activists.

You also mention the clubbing of seals and the fact that we have not found a more humane way of sealing.

Let me tell you that the clubbing of seals is mostly done on the gulf of St. Lawrence and not, for the most part, by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Yes, other provinces hunt as well. As a matter of fact there is a major hunt in Alaska (an American state by the way) that is much bigger than the Atlantic hunt, but nobody ever seems to notice this one. In direct response to your comment, we have found a better way off the coast of our province. The vast majority of seals here are taken by rifle, not clubbing. With one exception, this is no different than the hunting of deer which I believe is very popular in parts of Ontario. The difference is that this is not done for pure sport, but to support a family.

Ms Donoto writes: We know that a sealer gets roughly $50 for a high-quality pelt and that the seal hunt brings in roughly $4000 annually to the sealers. You tell me if $4000 a year is enough for any family to live on.

Response: As a matter of fact, pelts are currently selling for about $100 dollars on today's market. Keep in mind also that not only the pelts are used. The meat is a valuable commodity and the oil (high in Omega 3 fatty acids) is a great source of nutrients. As a matter of fact hospitals in England are currently looking at it as an intravenous food source for critically ill patients.

I don't know the details of some of the numbers you have come up with, but I can address at least one part of them. $4,000 or more to a family in a fishing outport will not support them for the year, but it will definately make the difference in ensuring that some basic necessities don't have to be done without.

Ms Donoto writes: I am wondering, who are you expecting tosell the fur to? I doubt the rurals will pay thousands of dollars for designer fur fashions.

Response: As I mentioned in my last comment, more than the fur is used, although this seems to be the only thing anyone wants to promote. Maybe this is because it is harder to raise funds that way rather than by saying we want to take away a food source. The cattle ranchers and chicken farmers might get upset at that one.

As for the fur, Many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, both Urban and Rural wear seal coats, boots, gloves, etc. As expensive as these products are and as much as some people don't want to believe it, there are people in this province and around the world, outside urban centers, who have money.

Ms Donoto writes: I for one, will boycott Canadian seafood for as long as this travesty goes on and will convince my family and friends to do the same.

Response: This is your right. Who knows, if the demand for sea food was to drop off a little bit world wide, it might offset the pressure being applied to the stocks by the predation of the seals. (A little sarcastic I know, but what can you do).

As you may not know, Atlantic cod stocks are nearly depleated, due in part to overfishing both in Canada and abroad for many years, but also due to the voracious appetite of seals. The current seal population is larger than it has been in decades and they love fish. I recently heard Paul Watson, from the Sea Shepard Society saying that seals actually eat very little cod but instead prey on other species that eat cod. He says that by leaving the seals alone the stock of cod will increase. One thing he never says is exactly what these species are. He does'nt say what they are because he can't. I don't know if he expects people to believe that the seals are eating sharks and whales.

Maybe if the fish stocks came back to a viable level, fishers wouldn't need to hunt as many seals to augment their income. Please keep in mind that these people are not going out to the hunt and risking their lives under the harshest conditions imaginable for the fun of it. Life on the ice flows is perhaps one of the most dangerous there is. Over the years hundreds of sealers have died trying to support their families in this way.


Ms Donoto writes: I will keep supporting Animal Welfare groups to nail the last nails in the fur industry's coffin. Have a Happy Easter and may God have mercy on all Newfoundlanders. Hope you enjoy the pictures and smell of a blood tinted ocean this spring.

Response: You are right, may God have mercy on us all. Not for what you see as our barbaric ways, but simply for the fact that people have no understanding, outside the areas (NL and elsewhere) that partake in the hunt.

I know it doesn't look nice to see an animal killed. I, like many people in the province would never be able to do it. But I also bet that you, like I , have never been to a rendering plant or slaughter house.

Do you eat meat? Do your family and friends? How do you think these animals are killed? Let me tell you, it is not a pretty sight either. I can assure you they are not put to sleep with a needle, far from it. There is much blood and carnage.

I wonder what your reaction would be to eating beef, chicken, pork, or for that matter wearing leather shoes or coats, if you could see the process involved in slaughtering these animals and producing these products.

I thank-you for your comments, As you can see, I don't agree with them, but it is through open communication that we all learn. Myself included.

Patriot.

4 comments:

Joan F. said...

Marcela Donato says, "NO ONE can possibly convince us that clubbing seals to death is "humane".

Well, the Ontario Humane Society was convinced not only that clubbing is humane, but also that it was the "most humane" method of killing seals. A search in the CBC archives shows that on April 6, 1976, the CBC reported the following: "Canadian humane societies' concern about the seal hunt originally centred on whether seals were killed humanely. In 1966 the Ontario Humane Society investigated killing methods and determined that clubbing was the most humane technique."

The Royal Commission on Seals and Sealing, which studied the sealing industry for two years, was convinced that the seal hunt was conducted humanely.

Numerous members of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) have been convinced that the vast majority of seals are killed humanely. Groups of up to five veterinarians from the CVMA observed the hunt between 1979 and 1984, four did so in 1999, and one in 2001. (Their report is in the Canadian Veterinary Journal, September 2002, and is available online.) They concluded that 98% of the seals killed on the east coast are killed humanely. Of course, animal rights activist focus on, and take pictures and videos of, the 2%. That's their idea of integrity.

With all due respect, the views of the Ontario Humane Society, the Royal Commission, and all those veterinarians in the CVMA carry more weight than Donato's.

Ticked in Toronto said...

Just the other day I heard a repeat of an interview done by Barbara Frum of the CBC with Paul Watson of the Sea Shepard Society. The interview was done in the 1970s but it is very interesting in that it shows a side of Paul Watson that many people outside Newfoundland and Labrador may not be aware of.

In the interview, Ms. Frum asked Mr Watson what he thought of the IFAW, another animal rights group. Mr Watson did not seem impressed with them. His comments were along the lines that, while there were over a hundred endangered species of anmimals (I forget the exact number), Harp seals are not one of them. He said, and I am paraphrasing, that the IFAW was only using cute seals as a way to raise funds. That the tear in the cute big eyes of the seal was a sure way to get rich Californians to reach into their pockets. He went on to say that a seal always produces tears, not because they are sad, but to lubricate the eyes and keep them from freezing up.

During this interview he said that while his group only raised about 40,000 dollars (remember this was in the 70s), the IFAW was raising millions with this type of deception.

This is a far cry from the Paul Watson the public sees and hears so much from today. I guess he realized that the same tricks would work for him and that raising a few million a year was better than a few thousand. This, no matter what the tactic.

To me he sounded like a man who started out with some very heart felt motives, but somewhere along the way he sold out to the lure of the dollars he could reap.

Anonymous said...

MYLES DO YOU EVER STOP LYING????

The Atlantic Seal Hunt IS THE LARGEST SUCH HUNT and THE LARGEST SUCH SLAUGHTER IN THE WORLD!!!

connbutt said...

IM AM SICK OF PEOPLE HOW KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE SEAL HUNT COMEING HERE IN NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR AND TRYING TO TAKE OUR WAY OR LIFE AND CALLING US A LOT OF BAD THING THAT I WOULD NOT REPEAT BECAUSE IT ANT FITE AND PAUL MCCARTNEY CAME HERE TO FULL EVER THING UP AND HE SAID IM AM IN NEWFOUNDLAND HE WAS IN P.E.I NOT NEWFOUNDLAND HE DON'T EVEN KNOW WERE HE WAS TO AND HE DON'T NO HOW MUCH WE NEED THE SEAL HUNT FOR SOME PEOPLE HAVE TO LIVE OFF THE SEAL HUNT PAUL NEXT TIME THINK BEFORE YOU TALK.