Mis­in­for­ma­tion about the seal hunt abounds

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - Capt. Wil­fred Bartlett, re­tired Green Bay South wil­f­bartlett@hot­mail.com

The snow and ice are here and the ter­mites are com­ing out of the wood­work — what I call the ill-in­formed bleed­ing hearts. I am re­fer­ring to the seal hunt protest that took place in St. John’s in front of Jen Shears’ store, Nat­u­ral Bou­tique, on Dec. 11.

Re­nee Gosse, one of the pro­test­ers, was in­ter­viewed by CBC Ra­dio’s “On The Go.” When asked why she was protest­ing the seal hunt, she stated we are try­ing to ed­u­cate the peo­ple of this prov­ince about the seal hunt; it is cruel, waste­ful and un­nec­es­sary.

I have been hunt­ing and eat­ing seal for more than 70 years. I have watched my grand­fa­ther kill pigs, goats and sheep, and chick­ens when they could no longer lay eggs and, yes, seals; also seabirds, be­cause if he didn’t we would not have sur­vived.

Killing any an­i­mal is not a pretty sight, es­pe­cially killing seals on white ice, the pan red with blood. Seals are shot with high-pow­ered ri­fles, with the shot aimed at the head, so as not to dam­age the most valu­able part of the seal, the pelt.

The pelt will al­ways be the most valu­able part of the seal. It is a beau­ti­ful skin used for clothes, the same as mink, fox, beaver and other an­i­mals.

The fat is used in a lot of food prod­ucts, as well as in Omega-3 cap­sules. For health purposes, I con­sume eight ev­ery day.

As to the claim that 95 per cent of the meat is thrown away, that is not true. Ninety-five per cent of seals killed to­day are less than a year old. All the flip­pers are brought ashore and sold, which would ac­count for half of the meat. The rest of the car­cass would pro­duce about five pounds of meat af­ter the bones are re­moved. While not all car­casses are brought ashore, they are put back into the ecosys­tem to feed other things, the same as a farmer does when the part of the crop he can’t sell is plowed back into the ground and used as fer­til­izer for next year’s crop.

Gosse said the hunt is un­nec­es­sary and tax­pay­ers sub­si­dize it. That is also not true.

It is nec­es­sary be­cause we have hunted most things in the ocean al­most to ex­tinc­tion, and we have al­lowed the seal pop­u­la­tion - 2.2 mil­lion prior to 1990 - to ex­plode be- cause of peo­ple who are ill-in­formed and want to im­pose their val­ues on oth­ers. We have lost seal mar­kets and the pop­u­la­tion of seals has ex­ploded to ap­prox­i­mately eight mil­lion or nine mil­lion seals.

All the fish in the ocean have predators that feed on each other, and the seal, which no longer has a preda­tor thanks to the anti-seal­ing groups, is the big­gest preda­tor and will eat what­ever it can get.

We need to have a seal hunt to re­store the bal­ance of na­ture. Un­less the seals are kept in check our oceans will never be able to pro­duce their full po­ten­tial.

We need a seal hunt to bring in much needed money for our coastal com­mu­ni­ties to sur­vive.

In Gosse’s let­ter to the ed­i­tor on Dec. 5, she stated: since I’ve learned about the seal hunt, I’ve come to real­ize that it re­flects poorly on our beau­ti­ful prov­ince.

Re­nee Gosse, you have learned noth­ing about the seal hunt.

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