April 23, 2008

The seal hunt: a means of survival

There are few issues more controversial in Canada and around the globe than the annual hunt of seals that takes place in the waters and on the ice floes off Atlantic Canada.

Finally, the Canadian Government have put their foot down and done something about the sealing protesters who have no business harassing the men out on the ice floes trying to earn their living.

For example, the meddlesome Sea Shepherd Society's ship Farley Mowat was captured by the RCMP and towed to Cape Breton by the Coast Guard on April 12.

Officers in boarding parties from two coast guard ships approached the Farley Mowat around 11 a.m. local time in the Cabot Strait on Saturday, according to Paul Watson, head of the Sea Shepherd Society, an organization known worldwide for its hard stance against sealing and whaling.

Federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn described it as a joint operation carried out by his department, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Mounties. However, only members of an RCMP emergency response team boarded the ship and detained crew members.

Speaking from New York, Watson told CBC News that two icebreakers dispatched four inflatable boats, carrying armed officers.

The 17 member crew was placed under arrest. Charges were dropped against all but the captain and first officer. The two men, captain Alexander Cornelissen and first officer Peter Hammarstedt, have been charged with approaching within one half nautical mile of the seal hunt. Cornelissen is also facing a charge of obstructing a fisheries officer.

Like farmers, sealers harvest these animals for food and for a living. And nothing is wasted from a seal - every part of them can be used for something. And the "baby seals are cute" argument made by the rich irksome celebrities such as Paul McCartney is invalidated too, as its illegal to hunt them at that age. The baby harps haven't been hunted in Canada since the 1980s. Only adults are harvested now.

Harp seals are not endangered. The number of the Canadian herd is estimated at 5.5 million - three times what it was in the 1970s. The federal government has set a quota of 275,000 animals in this year's hunt, up 5,000 from last year.

While the seal hunt takes place in the open air, slaughterhouses are completely contained, hidden from the public view. I don't hear of protesters breaking down the doors of these slaughterhouses with cameras to film what goes on. No matter what kind of animal it is, killing them is grotesque. I certainly wouldn't want the job, but I salute those that do, because otherwise, we would starve. Pigs are cute, and are very intelligent. Go after them and let the sealers alone, b'ys.

What is your opinion of the seal hunt and the protester's methods? Write me at ian_travis_h416@live.com, and your responses will be posted on my online archive navigating-the-issues.blogspot.com.

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