FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Gentlemen, Pick Up Your Clubs

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

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
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail