Euro­pean lem­mings line up on seal­ing is­sue

Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - FRONT PAGE -

IT is a pity that New­found­lan­ders, Inuit from Nu­navut and other Cana­dian seal­ers can­not vote in Euro­pean elec­tions. If they could, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, one of the world’s most fatu­ously pow­er­ful or­ga­ni­za­tions, might have an en­tirely dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on the Cana­dian seal hunt that has limped off to such a slow start this year.

One of the rea­sons that this hunt is ex­pected to have a dra­mat­i­cally lower yield than usual is the weather, which is keep­ing some seal­ers at home. The main rea­son, how­ever, is a ban on im­port­ing seal prod­ucts im­posed by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment last July to ap­pease groups such as Green­peace, Sea Shep­herd, the World Wildlife Fund and the green goofs who blindly fol­low them and can vote. Since it is, iron­i­cally, the Euro­peans who tra­di­tion­ally buy most of the prod­ucts of the Cana­dian seal hunt, this has elim­i­nated most of the mar­ket and many seal­ers are not both­er­ing to put out their boats this year.

Irony piles upon irony here, hypocrisy upon hypocrisy. As a re­cent ar­ti­cle in The Econ­o­mist pointed out, most Euro­peans, and hardly any Euro­pean politi­cians, ac­tu­ally give a rat’s pa­tootie about seals. If they think about them at all, they think of them as kind of lo­custs of the sea, a plague that de­vours fish stocks and de­prives un­con­trolled Euro­pean fish­ing fleets that scour the seas from white­cap to seabed of part of their prof­its. Be­cause of that, some of Europe’s fish­ing na­tions were un­til re­cently en­cour­aged to kill seals to save the fish stocks.

The Euro­pean Union even pub­lishes a cook­book on how to pre­pare seals in var­i­ous al­legedly de­li­cious ways, such as herb-stuffed seal schnitzel or seal Welling­ton with Madeira sauce.

The cook­book was part of an al­most $500,000 cam­paign by the EU to en­cour­age seal hunt­ing in Europe where, as in Canada, the seal pop­u­la­tion growth has been ram­pant and is rav­aging fish stocks.

The fi­nal irony of all this non­sense — aside from the mouse-that-roared trade war that it sparked be­tween Europe and Nu­navut; no Madeira for the seal Welling­ton in the Meta Incog­nita Penin­sula from now on — is that the EU’s ban on seal prod­ucts has also shut down Europe’s seal­ing in­dus­try and ren­dered the cook­book a quaint anachro­nism. A lot of Euro­peans are an­gry about that. A lot more Cana­di­ans should be

an­grier than they are.

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