Dis­hon­est anti-seal­ing cam­paign has done real harm to peo­ple

Cape Breton Post - - COMMENT - BY DAVE PEM­BROKE

To see a pro­pa­ganda piece filled with mis­truths and flat out lies printed in the Cape Bre­ton

Post was very dis­ap­point­ing (Gov­ern­ment Buy­ing Votes with Seal Mar­ket Pro­mo­tion, Let­ters, Jan. 22). While I fully ex­pect to read opin­ions in the pa­per I don’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with, I was not ex­pect­ing to a let­ter mak­ing as­ser­tions that sim­ply aren’t true.

Brid­get Cur­ran states that the seal hunt is un­pop­u­lar with the vast ma­jor­ity of Cana­di­ans. The most re­cent Ip­sos Reid poll shows 60 per cent of Cana­di­ans sup­port gov­ern­ment pol­icy on the seal hunt. Only 23 per cent strongly dis­agree.

I can un­der­stand Cur­ran be­ing mis­in­formed on this point. CTV news re­ported that the An­i­mal Lib­er­a­tion Front and the Sea Shep­herd So­ci­ety cite a 2004 poll by Ip­sos Reid which they say found 71 per cent of Cana­di­ans sur­veyed be­lieved the com­mer- cial seal hunt should be ei­ther banned or lim­ited to seals over one year of age. How­ever, an of­fi­cial at Ip­sos Reid found no record of such a poll, ac­cord­ing to CTV.

Un­til con­tacted by CTV, the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States cited that same, non-ex­is­tent poll. Now it cites uniden­ti­fied polling with the same con­clu­sion.

If the facts aren’t on your side, make up new ones: that’s the motto of th­ese groups.

Cur­ran calls the hunt outdated and un­wanted and claims the vast ma­jor­ity op­pose it, yet she says the gov­ern­ment sup­ports the in­dus­try to get votes. How ex­actly do you get votes by sup­port­ing some­thing that is vastly un­pop­u­lar?

Cur­ran states that the Gov­ern­ment of Canada hopes to trade in­hu­manely slaugh­tered seal pups for Chi­nese cats and dogs skinned alive.

Now that is ap­palling! But it’s not true.

Hunt­ing baby seals, so-called white­coats, has been banned since 1987.

The Post in­cluded the Cur­ran’s web­site ad­dress (www.an­ti­seal­ing­coali­tion.ca), so I took a look. And right there on the main page are pic­tures of white­coats, baby seals that have been pro­tected for 23 years.

This kind of de­cep­tive pro­pa­ganda has achieved re­sults in places like Europe and the U.S. where the peo­ple are un­in­formed about the seal­ing in­dus­try but it won’t work here. We know bet­ter. Cur­ran should try a new tac­tic.

A 2002 re­port in the Cana­dian Ve­teri­nary Jour­nal found that “the large ma­jor­ity of seals taken dur­ing this hunt … are killed in an ac­cept­ably hu­mane man­ner,” ac­cord­ing to CBC News. This study found that 98 per cent of hunted seals it ex­am­ined had been killed prop­erly.

The fed­eral Depart­ment of Fisheries and Oceans cites this study among oth­ers as proof that the hunt op­po­nents are wrong in their ac­cu­sa­tions of wide­spread cru­elty. The Cana­dian Ve­teri­nary Jour­nal is hardly an ad­vo­cacy group for the seal­ing in­dus­try. I trust its find­ings.

I am cer­tainly op­posed to the har­vest of en­dan­gered species but seals are nowhere near en­dan­gered. If there is a com­mer­cial ben­e­fit to har­vest­ing non-en­dan­gered species, we should ex­ploit it. All op­po­nents to seal har­vests who are not ve­g­ans are hyp­ocrites.

Don’t hurt the seals! But it’s OK to kill cows, pigs, lambs, chick­ens, tur­keys, fish. I un­der­stand that the sight of red blood on white snow is dra­matic but do you think it’s any dif­fer­ent in the slaugh­ter­house your ham­burger came from?

I can re­spect a ve­gan’s po­si­tion against the seal hunt. Every­one else who op­poses the seal hunt is en­gaged in cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance.

Rad­i­cal an­i­mal rights groups such as PETA, Sea Shep­herd and Cur­ran’s At­lantic Cana­dian Anti-- Seal­ing Coali­tion have caused real harm to peo­ple I know.

I live in Cape Bre­ton now but I spent 25 years in Nu­navut and Nu­navik, among the Inuit. My wife is Inuit.

The vil­i­fi­ca­tion of seal har­vesters off New­found­land has de­stroyed peo­ple’s liveli­hoods, both on the east coast and in the north. The Inuit cul­ture suf­fered dra­mat­i­cally from the col­lapse of the fur in­dus­try caused by the lies and pro­pa­ganda of rad­i­cal an­i­mal rights groups.

I in­vite you to look at the rates of vi­o­lence, sub­stance abuse and sui­cide in the north, and ask your­self if maybe th­ese peo­ple no longer be­ing able to sup­port them­selves, liv­ing in poverty and de­pen­dent on wel­fare from the south, has some­thing to do with their so­cial prob­lems.

Real peo­ple have died and real peo­ple con­tinue to suf­fer be­cause of peo­ple like Cur­ran.

David Pem­broke lives in New Vic­to­ria.

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