Da Legal Stuff...

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Seal Harvests and the Social Elite.

The following commentary was bought to my attention after being sent to the leadership team of the Newfoundland and Labrador Defense League (nldl.org), a citizen's coalition dedicated to protecting and encouraging economic, social and political growth in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The letter presented below clearly expresses how many people in the province feel about government's handling of annual seal protests. Sealing protests that take place each spring off our shores with the same regularity as the swallows returning to Capistrano.

I'd like to thank the author, Mike Kehoe, for sharing his insights and for granting me permission to publish his words to a much wider audience.

I hope you get well soon Mike.

Myles Higgins

Y A W N.............. Oops sorry. I always react with a yawn when I am forced to continuously watch a boring replay of a movie I have seen many times before.

So, here we go again. It's that time of year when animal rights militants make their annual pilgrimage to the cash box known as the Atlantic seal hunt. More structured footage, more taunting intimidation, more media events and more beautiful people on beautiful scenery splashed with the blood of so called "baby" seals.

More righteous indignation from the misinformed and the misled, spoon fed to them by those who see themselves and their cause of animal rights as the duty of the social elite. Greater gobs of verbal and written bile being directed at people whose only "crime" or "fault" is to pursue a legal activity.

Don't waste your time calling on Ottawa to ban anything from countries choosing to participate in this charade. It just will not happen. Ottawa will not ban the purchase of planes, wines, automobiles, meats or anything else in order to make the point it supports its people. Ottawa will say all is good and our engines are running smoothly in the voyage to deal with the damage caused by anti sealers. They have been saying this for 30 years.

Ottawa's game plan again this year will be to wait it out. To get past this season to the next as it has for the last 30 years or so. It will minimize damage to anything west of Port Aux Basque and tolerate anything east. Loyola Hearn will be no different. A sort of don't worry be happy approach. Ottawa will achieve this through controlling response to animal rights protestors by a relatively small group of sealing industry stakeholders. That group will be wined and dined, traveled and feted. There will be the token "non achievement" meetings with select groups but nothing will be designed to generate a long term solution. The meetings held are intended to provide deniability for Ottawa and Hearn when they are accused of doing nothing once again. Ottawa is ok with that.

To date no other industries have said they have had enough of the boycotts and are willing to fight back. However, some, tourism in PEI and some fisherman's groups in other Provinces are now becoming willing to throw in the towel as they feel abandoned by the sealing industry and the Federal Government. They want the issue out of their back yards. They see themselves receiving little more than the bile splatter from animal rights protest activities.

Using the Atlantic front for footage in order to fundraise while closing markets through legislation, appears to be working on some level. These tactics are not being offset in any meaningful way by a coordinated initiative to deal with misrepresentations, misunderstandings or outright lies against the seal hunt.

There is no "command central" to clearly identify the benefits of allowing sealing to continue. There has been no sign of the other Loyola here either, the newly minted Ambassador for Fisheries Conservation. How about it Loyola? You could do some good.

Until recently polls indicate that Canadians supported the rights of fishermen to pursue a legal, sustainable managed and humanely conducted harvest. After all, the slaughter houses of Alberta and canneries of B. C. will be next when these militants become unoccupied by seals. I fear this support may be slipping into lethargy though.

Has the battle been lost, should Canada continue (or as I would argue "begin") to fight?

Other stakeholders have been isolated from this fight by the Federal Government. Countries with similar problems such as Norway, Japan, Greenland, Iceland and other industries such as the meat, fur, oils, tourism etc and groups such as aboriginals have been successfully isolated and their effectiveness in the fight neutralized. They’ve all deliberately been kept away because their presence would cause Ottawa’s bureaucrats to lose control over the issue.

The solution, if there is to be one to be found, lies with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Province must take control of the promotion of the rights of people to engage in this legal harvest of animals and the full utilization of the products generated through a humanely conducted and sustainable harvest.

We must cause to be established an organization of all stakeholders to proactively bring forward the rights of humans to live off of meats, furs etc if they so choose. We must get a participatory buy-in from other stakeholders. Elevate the issue to the level it deserves and, on an interim basis, fund this initiative with a view to long term funding coming from resource utilization participants.

One last point, please don't depend on Ottawa to fund such a group.

Know what I mean????

By Mike Kehoe


Anonymous said...

Liberal MP Todd Russell is planning to support the hunt by going out and taking part. A good public message to send.

Liberal MP Scott Simms introduced a private members motion to have Canada boycott some German products in retaliation of the proposed German ban on seal products. A good idea but one that is not being backed by the Conservative government. They don't want to support Atlantic Canada period.

Here is an article that appeared today. Remember, the Harper government is not supporting this and are letting all of Atlantic Canada and Quebec down.

Embassy, March 7th, 2007
By Brian Adeba
Seal Ban Turns Tit-For-Tat

What do Bambi, wild boars and baby seals have in common?

They are the subject of a trade war between Canada and Germany–that is, if legislators in both countries get their way.

It all started last week when German agriculture minister Horst Seehofar said he would introduce a bill in German Parliament to ban the import of seal products from Canada. Losing no time, Scott Simms, a Liberal MP from Newfoundland, threatened to introduce legislation that would ban the import of German boar and venison into Canada. By the end of last week, Mr. Simms' motion had found its way into the order paper in the House of Commons.

"To me, it seems like there are a lot of politicians in Germany, and in Europe for that matter, who tend to use this to gain their own popularity," said Mr. Simms, who hails from a province where the annual seal hunt is a big earner for locals.

Christina Lückerath, head of media relations at the Embassy of Germany in Ottawa, said many Germans and Europeans are concerned about the welfare of the hunted seals. Belgium has passed a ban on seal imports from Canada, and Britain is in favour of a European Union-wide ban. But Mr. Simms said the seal hunt, which usually starts at the end of March, is carried out in a humane way.

"They know how we kill seals because we tell them," he said.

A club called a hakapik and a rifle are the weapons of choice for seal hunters in Newfoundland. Mr. Simms says last year hunters killed 320,000 seals and that 20 per cent of Canada's seal exports go to Germany. These include seal products like oil, pelts and surgery gels. In addition, Germany is a major trans-shipment destination for seal exports to Asia, said Mr. Simms. Last year, Canada's trade in seals and their products totalled $2.1 million, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. This is expected to rise this year because a single seal pelt is selling for $100–up from $20 last year, said Mr. Simms.

Mr. Simms also said studies from veterinary bodies have shown that the method of hunting seals in Canada is humane, and criticized the double standards in the German bill.

"As far as deer is concerned, [Germans] kill 1.2 million, and half a million boar and some of these are very young species, young squeakers, barely weaned from their mothers," he said.

In Germany, wild boar and deer are hunted using rifles and shotguns.

Robert Cahill, the executive director of the Fur Institute of Canada, said he applauds Mr. Simms' motion because it exposes the hypocrisy of the German government.

"They are suggesting a different set of values for one group of people and one species, and a different set of values for their own people and other species."

But despite the debate over the treatment of Canadian seals and German boars and deer, what is clear is that most Europeans are increasingly wary of the inhumane treatment of animals and that is why moves like the kind introduced by the German agriculture minister will receive support in Europe, said David Lavigne, science advisor with the International Fund Animal Welfare in Ottawa.

"Canada's seal hunt is inhumane, despite what the government tells you," said Mr. Lavigne. He pointed out that studies have shown that the annual seal hunt is wasteful–most of the carcasses are left to rot and 80 per cent of the blubber is discarded. In addition, Mr. Lavigne said, last year the government set the sustainable yield of seals at 250,000, yet it agreed that 335,000 were to be killed.

"What intrigues me is how the Liberals and Conservatives seem to be competing to see how many seals they can kill," he said, adding that the seal hunt is cruel because it focuses on killing baby seals aged between two weeks and three months.

"Prudence would say you reduce the number of animals killed to allow these animals to have some chance in the face of global warming, which is contributing to high levels of pup mortality."


Anonymous said...

These activists always say they have nothing against native hunting, only the commercial hunt. What they don't say is that banning seals in markets around the world means all seals are banned, not just those caught by white folks.

The German ban itself means little since most seal products are not even sold there (though it may impact trans-shipment).

Read on:

Proposed German seal ban misinformed, Nunavut fisheries director says.

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2007 | 1:18 PM NT

Germany's proposed ban on Canadian seal product imports stems from misinformation about the northern seal hunt, Nunavut's director of fisheries and sealing said Monday.

Wayne Lynch, director of fisheries and sealing for the Nunavut government, was responding to news in February that German Agricultural Minister Horst Seehofer plans to introduce legislation banning seal product imports from Canada, out of concern that the hunt is unethical and inhumane.

"Canada in general is feeling the pressure, and so is my department, of course," he said. "The frustrating thing I see as a program delivery person is that the bans are based on misinformation and not really seeing the whole picture."

Germany joins Belgium, which declared its intention earlier this year to impose a similar ban.
Lynch says Nunavut is working on countering claims about the northern seal hunt by sending information kits about Inuit sustainable harvest methods to Canadian consulates in Europe.

"Seal populations are very strong both in Nunavut and in the East Coast. We've always had a practice of sustainability," Lynch said.

"The hunts have been humane, have always been so. And the hunt in Canada is one of the most regulated hunts in the world. So the information that the bans are being proposed in Germany are not linked to reality."

Lynch said seal harvesting methods in Nunavut differ greatly from those used on the East Coast seal hunt, but both regions share the same market when it comes to selling seal products.
Even if the bans proceed in Germany and Belgium, he said Nunavut's sealing economy won't suffer because its biggest buyers of seal pelts are in Russia and Asia.

Those markets, which buy about 10,000 pelts a year from the Nunavut government, translate into about $700,000 a year in income for Inuit hunters.

On Friday, Newfoundland Liberal MP Scott Simms reacted to Germany's proposed ban by introducing a motion in the House of Commons banning the import of wild boar and deer products from Germany.

G.G. said...

Well said Mike. You hit the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

"the leadership team of the Newfoundland and Labrador Defense League (nldl.org)"???

HAHA HAHAHA HAHA Too funny. Oh don't make me laugh.

Let me guess....a bunch of beer-bellied Newfies sitting in a shed planning NL's seperation from big bad Canada.

Oh , my sides are splitting.

Anonymous said...

Let me guess....a bunch of beer-bellied Newfies sitting in a shed planning NL's seperation from big bad Canada

What make's me say that 1949 was a huge mistake.That this Opinion is very much wide spread in mainland canada.These are the same people that say "multiculture" this ,and "multiculture" that,but when they turn thier backs the word "Nigger" is used and the term "Newfie" take's on a whole new meaning.The only reason that they tolerate anyone but themselves is so thier property value doesn't go down ,and thier standaed of living stays the same.Phony people living in a Phony country ,that doesn't deserve the right to Exist.
But ,then thease people wonder why we have a separtion party in Quebec ,and one going in Alberta.They shake thier heads and wonder why.
It must be just me and the lack of education that I have recieved from my poor backward schooling in Newfoundland.OH My ,Thank GOD we have the intellect's on the mainland to save "us"poor pot bellied "Newfies".

Anonymous said...

Your welcome :)

James Farrior, WVa, USA said...

I have a question for Mike Kehoe.

If you say that protest groups are just opposing the seal hunt for the money, what exactly is it you think they are doing with all that money?

Getting rich? Hardly. All their salaries are public record. The CEO of the HSUS makes less than a 10th the salary of a corporate CEO of comparable size.

You slander their motives by impuging greed as the force behind their actions.

Greed, for what, exactly???

Anonymous said...

to James Farrior,

according to Rebecca Aldworth the Exec director of HSUS makes only abuot hald of the $500,000 !!! poor bastard! that's only $250,000 per year.

That's enough to call into question someone's motivation...

james Farrior, WVa, USA said...

To anonymous,

But that's just one man, and one man who is making far less than he could at a comparable private corporation.

How do you call into question someone's motivation for taking a job that pays them far less money than they could make elsewhere?

Quite frankly, the answer is, you can't.

None of the protesters are getting rich. All of their financial documents are public record.

So in effect, you're just lying.

Like most all charges that come from the sealing side, the charge that protesters are motivated by greed is simply a piece of nonsensical propaganda easily disproven with a few facts and logic.

Patriot said...

In response to James Farrior:

First of all Mr. Farrior I'd like to thank you for your civilized approach to this discussion. Often tempers on both sides of the debate cause the waters to become muddied by anger and the discussion takes a nasty turn.

While I disagree with the activities of the anti-sealing organizations and many of their leaders, I appreciate that you as an individual have a perspective that deserves equal discussion time to any other.

Your comments indicate that you are not convinced of the financial motive argument being presented by some however if you go to the link below you will find a copy of an article I wrote in 2005 about the financial dealings of the Sea Shephard society and its leader Paul Watson.

If after reading that article thouroughly you are not suspicious of his motives then there is not much more anyone will be able to do to convince you.

Here is the link:


Myles Higgins
Editor Web Talk - NL

Anonymous said...

James F said,.."How do you call into question someone's motivation for taking a job that pays them far less money than they could make elsewhere?

Quite frankly, the answer is, you can't. "

well, just because CEO's make alot more money elsewhere does not mean that the person holding the CEO job for HSUS could get one of those jobs...

money is raised, they pay themselves well, and they lie and use disinformation all the time.

for example...last year in one of the HSUS videos of the hunt, rebecca says 'its estimated that 50% of seals shot are lost'...when DFO, CVMA reps AND IFAW us 5%.

She is offering 'disinformation' which is a form of lie.

Paul Watson says the same thing...so maybe she's just mimicing him.

James Farrior, WVa, USA said...


Forgive my earlier address. I thought the editor was Mike Kehoe. My apologies on that.

In reading your article, it still seems to me that you have not closed the link between questionable fundraising and personal enrichment.

If you follow events in the states, Senator Obama is in a similar situation. The New York Times expose shows some rather questionable investments made in companies owned by his major campaign contributors, yet there is no evidence that he personally profited from any of those transactions.

It just seems to me that you are charging organizational greed, which might well be the case, in that IFAW and the Humane Society and others want to raise as much as possible, but to try to use that motive to impugn those like Rebecca Aldworth or Paul Watson seems disingenuous to me, since you have shown no evidence that they are personally profiting.

Just my point of view. Again, I apologize for addressing you incorrectly.

BTW, I am in the energy field (coal, as you might expect) and actually was looking at your column on the Churchill. This just caught my eye, so feel free to ignore completely.

MaxMillian said...


Do you attribute the following statement to a Humane Society Animal Rights supporter?

"I'd like to see you watch your children skinned alive in front of you."

If the statement in quotes came from one of their mouths, well then that is all we need to know. This person is insane and I hope that there are not too many others like that one. I hope that person is banished from the payroll of that Society. It goes to show how sick these people are. It is really a Scam filled world and that some people will go to any extreme to make an easy dollar.

But you would think potential donors would be keenly aware of what these people are up to, since we are bombarded everyday with one type of scam or another and this surely is a Scam group if I ever had heard of one.

It is unbelievable that somebody would make such a statement and if the person was not tracked down to have his/her mental condition examined, then the person should have been.

Anonymous said...

I am a Newfoundlander against the seal hunt.

And I am not the only one. I know many, many people who disagree with it as well.
People just don't speak out against it because this is the only place where you would find seal hunt supporters.
And we don't like to get down to the low level of the supporters in useless debates.


Anonymous said...

By "to get down to the low level...." I mean the constant denigration and discreditation or belittling of anyone who is against the seal hunt.

Anti seal hunt protesters are called all kinds of disrespectful names, always with the clear intention of de-humanizing them and to try to make the sealers (and the industry)look good.
Needless to say it is not fair either when the anti seal hunt people make nasty and false comments about the sealers.

But, by classifying all the anti seal hunt protesters as (insert any nasty name) you are not doing the sealers any favors.
You simply cannot ignore the fact that the majority of the civilized population on this planet is against the seal hunt.


Anonymous said...

The following thread was posted inadvertently to the wrong blog site.

But Pat there are tens of millions working in the slaughter houses of North and South America raising and killing animals for all kinds of consumption. And some animals like the kangaroo of Australia are killed because they are a pest. I can name a lot more that are killed because they are pests as well, but I will not do it in this post. Most of the people who work in slaughterhouses have a very low education level, no different than the education level of the sealers. And most of them may be referred to as the peasants of society; I don’t think that is the case but by reading the posts of the anti-seal campaigners that is how they described sealers. . Nor does every one have the capacity of getting to or pass grade school. I am sure though there are some very bright people in the group where ever they are who are capable of doing anything they put their minds to. But because a person is unable to learn in the conventional sense does not make them a lesser person. In a lot of cases these people far excel the crème de crème of society.

I think there are probably less than a 1000 sealers, I know that it isn't the same number as there are fishers. Patriot you can correct me on that number, I do not have it. I do hope when this generation is retired though, which I think will be not too many more years, that it will be the end of the seal fishery.

ISDABY said...

Pat said..."I am a Newfoundlander against the seal hunt.And I am not the only one. I know many, many people who disagree with it as well.
People just don't speak out against it because this is the only place where you would find seal hunt supporters.
And we don't like to get down to the low level of the supporters in useless debates."

just like any one else, you have a right to not support the hunt. But, can you say why you are against it? you say its useless to lower yourself to the level of hunt supporters re: debate...

if you are for real (I have my doubts) then I think that you simply closed your mind and don't want your opinion challenged in any way.

you can have your opinion, but 'its my opinion' is not a good defense.

there is alot of good information prooving the hunt to be 'humane' (as humane as it gets) and sustainable.

Just what is it that you oppose?

MrChills said...

...because this is the only place where you would find seal hunt supporters

That's an interesting point, since most Newfoundlander's could never afford to wear the garmets made from the seal fur. The hunt has only become increasingly successful over the years, obviously the fur is going somewhere, do these people not support the hunt?

MrChills said...

You simply cannot ignore the fact that the majority of the civilized population on this planet is against the seal hunt

You talk about how pointless it is to call out people and label them. Then you add a comment stating that any who supports the seal hunt is more or less uncivilized. Make up your mind...

Anonymous said...

Most people cannot afford to eat "foie gras" but the rearing of ducks and geese for the production of that specialty goes on, no different than when you say most Newfoundlanders and Labradorians cannot afford seal; furs.

If campaigns were waged against the slaughter of the other animals of the world that are slaughtered for the many consumptions, so would most of the people of the world be turned against these slaughters as well.

It has all to do with the vociferous campaigns that have been waged on the seal hunt with Ottawa giving the scammers free will. If these scammers had the free will to go to the slaughter houses and do what they want to do there, they would turn off the same number of people as they have with the seal hunt. But don't worry that won't happen because the free will in those places will not be granted. Plus no othe animal has an omnipresent tear in its eye.