FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Gentlemen, Pick Up Your Clubs

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

 

There’s another reason to lament Arctic ice melting; as soon as floes break up off the shores of Labrador and Newfoundland, fleets of Canadian seal killers will arrive to initiate the largest marine mammal hunt in the world.

275,000 seals will be killed in the annual bloodletting–up from 270,00 last year–and 98 percent of them are babies.

This year, Canada wants no trouble.

It has banned ships belonging to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose Canadian citizen founder Captain Paul Watson, has protested the hunt for 30 years, from its waters.

“If this order is not complied with you will be subject to prosecution under Canadian law,” Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities told the marine mammal defenders through a fax.

“Do your worst Mr. Minister,” replied Watson. “If we are ready to risk our lives on the high seas to defend marine wildlife, the fear of imprisonment is hardly a deterrent. The seal hunt is a perverse abomination that has no place in the civilized world and certainly no place in Canada in the 21st century.”

Atlantic Canada sealers constitute only one percent of the population yet are highly subsidized by the government, says Sea Shepherd. Besides paying for regulation, market research and public relations, the government provides ice breaker ships, search and rescue operations and surveillance help in locating the seal herds themselves. Nice subsidies, if you can get them.

The biggest seal product junkies are Norway, Russia, Eastern Europe, Japan and China where seal penis is also used as a “cure” for impotence.

There’s also a hot market for seal oil sold by companies like Barry Group, Inc. and Costco as a health supplement despite its high PCB, mercury, arsenic, and DDT content says Sea Shepherd.

And don’t forget seal fur using “luxury” fashion houses Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Versace who don’t mind the clubbing of baby mammals if the price is right.

Animal welfare groups are hoping a pending across-the-board European Union seal pelt import ban will keep Canada from using its ports to ship to China and Russian markets. The recent Rotterdam and Hamburg bans aren’t effective, they say, if British ports remain open.

But some, like Canadian Sealing Association founding member Jim Winter, see the anti-hunt movement running out of steam.

“There was absolutely no media,” he said gleefully of a tepid anti-sealing protest he and two other sealing advocates attended in Trafalgar Square, London. “What we need to do is take that kind of encouragement and build on it.”

The Canadian government is also evincing a new aggression.

Last September, it launched a challenge to the World Trade Organization to persuade Belgium and the Netherlands to reverse their bans of seal products arguing the governments were misled.

“I applaud the efforts of industry, as well as the governments of Nunavut, and Newfoundland and Labrador to up the ante in addressing the unfounded claims of anti-sealing groups,” said Loyola Hearn, Canada’s Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, calling the seal hunt. “humane, sustainable and responsible.”

At a gala in St. John’s, NL in March to kick off the seal hunt, Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries Minister Tom Rideout also relied on oxymorons to leaven his rhetoric.

“We want to tell the world that we have a sustainable hunt, a humane hunt, a hunt that’s based on economics, that there’s no cruelty. >From here on in, we’re going to try to tell the other side of the story,” he vowed.

More than two hundred people attended the festival of seal skin coats and flipper pie sponsored by the Fur Institute of Canada including Mark Small, a sealer for 27 years.

“I want to say to the protest movement today, we are not dead. We are on our way up. People think we got a dying community, but you go down on that wharf and we got pride,” he affirmed while cautioning fellow sealers, “The eyes of the world are upon us and when you go to the ice, be a professional.”
Michelle Dawe, Small’s niece took up “tradition” cudgel. “This is a livelihood that the sealers are entitled to,” she explained. “This has been for hundreds of years what Newfoundlanders have done.”

“They lived and died for it on the icefields,” elaborated her brother, Randy Dawe.

So have millions of seals, critics say.

MARTHA ROSENBERG is staff cartoonist on the Evanston Roundtable. She can be reached at mrosenberg@evmark.org

 

 

 

 

 

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail