Res­tau­rant un­der fire for serv­ing seal meat

Lethbridge Herald - - HEADLINE NEWS WEATHER -

There are many dishes on the menu at Kukum Kitchen that re­flect chef Joseph Shawana’s up­bring­ing on the Wi­ik­wemkoong Unceded Re­serve on Man­i­toulin Is­land, but one in par­tic­u­lar has at­tracted a great deal of con­tro­versy: seal tartare.

An on­line pe­ti­tion launched last week called for the Toronto res­tau­rant to re­move seal meat from its menu, stat­ing that “seal slaugh­ters are very vi­o­lent, hor­rific, trau­ma­tiz­ing and un­nec­es­sary.”

The pe­ti­tion has at­tracted over 4,500 dig­i­tal sig­na­tures from around the world and prompted a slew of one-star re­views for the res­tau­rant on Face­book and Yelp.

Toronto-based Anishi­naabe artist Ay­lan Couchie launched a counter-pe­ti­tion in re­sponse, which has been shared by mu­si­cian Tanya Ta­gaq and has nearly matched the sup­port of the orig­i­nal cam­paign.

Lenore New­man, the Canada Re­search Chair for Food Se­cu­rity and En­vi­ron­ment and au­thor of “Speak­ing in Tongues: A Cana­dian Culi­nary Jour­ney,” con­sid­ers some of the prac­tices in rais­ing chicken and pork for con­sump­tion to be far more cruel — and far more com­mon — than the seal hunt.

“Even if (the orig­i­nal pe­ti­tion) is wellinten­tioned, there are lit­er­ally thou­sands of restau­rants in Toronto that serve meat that is pro­duced in much worse ways,” says New­man, adding that seal meat is an easy tar­get for crit­i­cism be­cause its roots are Inuit.

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