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).

Weekend Edition
April 29-31, 2016
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail