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Seal Hunt 2010 - Protests and Opposition Actions

 


 

Canada's annual seal slaughter just ended. Should there be another?

Emily Barca
Jun 19th, 2010

harp seal pup
Sue you, EU! The Canadian seal hunt continues despite a ban on seal products by the European Union.

Another Canadian seal hunt has come to an end.

On June 15th, it was over. Warm weather made hunting conditions dangerous, Nelson Kalil, media spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said. "The quota was something like 300,000, but my understanding is they didn’t get anywhere near 200,000."

The 2009-2010 hunt wasn't good and dimming the prospects even more for hunters was the ban on seal products by the European Union that was adopted in September of 2009, but is scheduled to come into effect in phases beginning on August 20. The prohibition will result in a $2.4 million loss for the Canadian sealing industry. "I imagine that finding a market will remain a challenge for sea hunters," the Fisheries and Oceans spokesperson said.

From videos depicting the blood of baby seals soaking the purity of ice to images of Governor-General Michaëlle Jean gobbling down raw seal meat in Rankin Inlet in Nanuvet, the seal hunt is one of Canada's most divisive issues. As the seal hunt draws to a close this year, the Vancouver Observer decided to take a closer look at a cultural tradition with an insecure future.

Seal hunt debate

The hunt, or slaughter, as some anti-sealing activists describe it, is either a violation of animal rights or a vital source of economic revenue, a basis of regional pride and a link to Canadian cultural heritage.

Within Canada the debate is polarized. During the 2010 Olympic Games, Liberation B.C., an animal rights group, and other anti-sealing organizations took advantage of the increased international attention on Canada by staging protests calling for an end to the hunt. The federal government, meanwhile, is seeking new markets. Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans spent a week in China in January trying to find buyers for seal meats and products.

"China is a huge market. The EU was a small market for Canada and of course we're disappointed in their actions. (But) there are many other markets out there," Shea said in a teleconference call from Beijing to the National Post on January 11."

She attended China's thirtieth annual fur and leather fair and said currently China imported seal pelts and oil capsules that produced "millions of dollars for the Canadian economy." She said the opportunity was there to expand other seal products; specifically meats and organs.

This does not please anti-sealing activists. In the past year, PETA deployed a seal mascot to trail Stephen Harper as far away as Germany, while a group of politicians feasted on seal-meat – a double-smoked, bacon-wrapped seal loin in a port reduction to be exact – at the parliamentary restaurant.

In 2009, the seal hunt grabbed international headlines when the European Union passed its ban on the importation of all seal products in a bill stating that commercial seal hunting, which also occurs in Russia, Namibia, Norway, and Greenland, is “inherently inhumane.” The practice is so infamous that it has attracted condemnation from both President Obama and Vladimir Putin, who restricted his own country’s hunt after denouncing the clubbing of baby seals for the fur industry as a “bloody trade.”

seal hunt stamp
Illustration by Alley Kurgan

Celebrities like Canadian Pamela Anderson, and non Canadians Paul McCartney, Paris Hilton, and Mick Jagger have added their voices to those who are opposed to the hunt. Anderson, who was born in Ladysmith, B.C., has called the practise an “embarrassment” to Canada. "When I travel all over the world, the Canadian seal hunt is a huge issue that people talk to me about. So I'm trying to save some embarrassment," she told a crowd outside Ontario's legislature in 2009.

There are two main seal hunts that occur each year in Canada. The commercial seal hunt takes place in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence and off the coast of northeast Newfoundland or southern Labrador (an area referred to as the “Front”).

Seals are also hunted in the Arctic by Inuit people, primarily for subsistence as well as for economic revenues. However, much of the controversy is directed toward the commercial Atlantic hunt based on the distinction that, unlike the Inuit hunt, it is allegedly not necessary for the survival of the involved communities.

"Not a good way to die"

The question at the heart of the debate is whether or not it is ever ethical to kill animals, particularly when their products are not used for subsistence. According to Tom Regan, an American philosopher specializing in animal rights theory at North Carolina State University, takes issue with the term “hunt,” preferring instead to call it “slaughter.”

“There is no hunt,” says Regan. “The seals are defenceless, with no serious means of escape. To describe the savage slaughter as a “hunt” is like saying I go hunting for pickles when I remove one from a pickle jar.”

From the government’s perspective, the issue is not whether seals should be killed, but how to kill them humanely. Alice Crook, a veterinarian at the University of PEI, is a member of the Independent Veterinarian’s Working Group (IVWG), The group was formed in May 2005 to promote animal welfare during the hunt. Crook says that based on the scientific reports she has seen, the “large majority” of seals are killed humanely using a three step-method. In this process, seals are stunned, checked for irreversible unconsciousness, and then "bled out."

Sheryl Fink, senior researcher at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), argues that the competitive nature of the seal hunt and the difficult environmental conditions of the hunt make it impossible for the authorities to regulate it.

“During the seal hunt you have a gold rush mentality, where sealers are trying to immobilize as many seals as quickly as possible. There are poor weather conditions, sealers working on a moving pan of ice and aiming for the head so they don’t damage the pelt.” These conditions, says Fink, create a situation where the proper killing methods are not being followed.

Geoff Urton, Animal Welfare Coordinator at the BC SPCA, agrees. “[Imagine] how painful it would be to be incorrectly knocked on the head without being knocked unconscious immediately. When ice conditions aren’t good, if the shot is not accurate, the animal would suffer as it died. It’s possible that if the animal is not killed properly it might escape into the water where it would drown.”

“The animals that are shot and escape into the water [are] injured. They might bleed to death, they might drown. It’s not a good way to die.”

The BC SPCA has been opposed to the seal hunt since the early 1960s, along with the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies because of concerns about the methods used to kill seals.
Seal as resource

Veterinarian Dr. Crook suggests, however, that compared to farm animals who are killed in slaughter houses, seals are better off. “When animals are killed in a slaughterhouse they have to be transported and are susceptible to injury. When I look at the seals who are just leading their lives until the moment they are killed, that looks pretty good to me.”

Urton, of BC SPCA, disputes Crook’s analysis, arguing that animals in slaughterhouses are treated better than seals. “Between 14 and 17 percent of the [seals’] skulls were not completely crushed which is some indication that the seals weren’t clubbed hard enough to kill them on the first attempt. You can still say that it’s the majority. It’s still not good enough. If you look at slaughterhouses, it’s only considered acceptable if you’ve got less than 1 % [who aren’t killed on the first try]. 1% is excellent. We think that no matter what kind of killing you’re doing, 1% is acceptable.”

Since the government views seals as a resource, a precautionary approach is used to keep the resource renewable by setting annual quotas. The total allowable catch (TAC) or the maximum number of seals that can be hunted commercially each year is set by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans through consultation with scientists and the industry. Canada’s current population of harp seals, the most heavily harvested species, is 6.9 million, a record high.

According to David Barry of the Seals and Sealing Network, a pro-hunt advocacy group, the robust seal population is evidence that the precautionary approach is effective. Barry is critical of efforts that aim to stop the hunt on the basis of conservation. “Of course we need to conserve the species, but arguing against its use is not the way to do so, especially when the very people who now hunt seals for use also rely heavily on the seals’ prey, for example crab, capelin, codfish, etc, to earn their living.”

whitecoat and seal rib cage
Is the seal hunt sustainable in the long run? (Wikipedia creative commons photos of baby seal and plate of seal ribs)

Russell Leaper, a scientist from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, isn't sure the current approach is sustainable in the long-term. According to research by Leaper and his colleagues, the management approach used for the commercial harp seal hunt cannot be considered precautionary.

“The effects of harvest and environmental impacts will not be observable for at least 5-7 years (i.e. less time than the current management regime has been in place). There are too many examples of justifying continued high levels of exploitation because everything seemed fine but ending with disastrous consequences.”

Leaper suggests that in order to make the hunt more sustainable, the management approach should be properly tested and catches reduced until more research is completed.

But there may be another reason to be concerned about the seal population. “There are those who think that the abundant seal population is part of why there hasn’t been a return of cod,” says Dr. Crook. This reasoning is sometimes used as justification for continuing the hunt. However, Leaper argues that the science just does not hold up to this speculation. “It simply is not possible to predict the effects on cod stock (or other fish stocks) of either fewer or more seals.” Similarly, he argues that is it impossible to predict the effects of the seal hunt on the marine ecosystem, another reason to proceed slowly.

Seal hunt history

The hunt has a long history in Atlantic Canada, dating back to the first permanent settlements established by the European colonists. According to Reade Davis, professor of anthropology at Memorial University, seal was initially used primarily as a subsistence resource. "People relied on marine resources almost exclusively and seals were an important source of fur, oil, and meat. In later years, seals became increasingly important as a source of income." Davis explains that during the Industrial Revolution the industry took off when bigger boats began to travel out to the ice flows. “Historically, oil was the big commodity, but in later years there became a market for the fur of white coats.”

"There was a commercial sealery in British Columbia until the seals were brought to extinction," Charles Menzies, a professor of anthropology at UBC, explained." Seal was harvested all the way up and down the coast. They were hunted to make seal skin coats. It was over by World War II. There was also a whale fishery on the Queen Charlotte Islands."

He also said that First Nations in BC still hunt seal. "It’s a traditional food. It’s an aboriginal right. A regular food that people eat in Haida Gawai, the Johnson Straight, up the West Coast."

In the 1960s and 70s, the commercial hunt was catapulted onto the international stage, when images of white-coat baby seals being killed were broadcast around the world. Celebrities such as French actress Brigitte Bardot began to voice their opposition to the practice and animal rights groups including Greenpeace and the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which formed to oppose the hunt, staged demonstrations in protest.

Pamela Anderson abhors Canada's seal hunt

In response, the Canadian government introduced new regulations and, according to a report by CBC news, in 1972 the Ministry of Environment recommended that the hunt be phased out. The hunt was scaled back in 1987 with a ban on the killing of white coat seals, but it was expanded again in the 1990s.

Traditional Inuit Seal Hunting (Wikipedia)

While anti-sealing activists describe the hunt as an unnecessary violation of animal rights, many of those who live in communities where sealing is important understand the issue very differently.

“Sealing was an incredibly hard and dangerous profession and a lot of people died," Davis said. "There have been a lot of sealing disasters; a lot of people have been killed over the years.” To these people, the language used by animal rights campaigners tarnishes this history and misrepresents their communities. “People have lost loved ones at sea only to have them painted as senseless barbarians or savages, as though they were engaged in some sort of blatant act of cruelty.”

As a result of the negative attention, Davis says that there has been a rise of a political movement in support of the hunt and in support of rural livelihoods. “Hunters feel that they have been singled out because they’re powerless. Many seal hunters feel that their voices have not been adequately represented in discussions about the future of the hunt.”

To counteract the presence of animal rights groups, some people have taken to wearing pro-seal hunt tee-shirts. A particularly noteworthy top riffs on the ubiquitous “I heart NYC” slogan, to read “I club baby seals.”
Seal liberation?

Those who support the hunt often point to its economic importance for communities in regions where jobs are scarce. Fink, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, challenges this perspective, arguing that revenues generated from the seal hunt are simply not that crucial. “No one does the seal hunt for a living. If we took it away I don’t think that the impact would be all that great. Seal pelts are only 15 dollars. People would move on.”

In fact, Fink argues that the hunt is actually costing Canadians money. “Our government could save seven million dollars a year if we put an end to it. There have been delegations overseas and the government is challenging the EU ban at the trade organization.” Fink proposes introducing a licence buy-out program and skills training to help sealers who want out of the industry find new ways of generating income.

The seal hunt may not make up the primary source of income for sealers, but according to Professor Donald Barry, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, it is nonetheless a significant part of their earnings. According to Barry, whose 2005 book Icy Battleground: Canada, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Seal Hunt chronicles the debate, “It fills an important gap in their annual cycle of fishing activities. While the amounts may be relatively small in global terms, they are part of sealers’ annual income cycle.”

His opinion is corroborated by David Barry of the Seals and Sealing Network, a pro-hunt lobby group. He explains that for sealers in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, revenues from sealing can often account for 25-35% of annual income. “It is available during a time of year when other employment opportunities in these rural areas are very limited to non-existent – this is very much a seasonal activity like other forms of fishing or hunting.”

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) does not keep statistics on the market value of seal pelts or the income generated by sealing, however, it does state that the price of a seal pelt varies significantly from year to year. For instance, the average price per pelt in 2007 was $52, compared to $14 in 2009 and $22 this year. According to the DFO, between 5000 and 6000 individuals receive some income from sealing, which amounts to approximately two percent of the labour force. This may appear to be a very small percentage but the DFO argues that it is a significant number of people in the context of small rural communities.

Nonetheless, trying to pin down exactly how much revenue is generated by the hunt may be overlooking a larger ethical problem. Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, points out that many industries that damage the environment provide jobs for people.

Singer, whose 1975 book Animal Liberation is often cited as a seminal work in the modern animal liberation movement, insists that the economic benefits provided by an industry do not absolve it from causing harm.

“If we think that the killing of seals is wrong and that it’s not necessary, then that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong to end it.” Singer makes a comparison to the logging and mining industries, which have been described as wreaking environmental damage at the same time as they create job opportunities.

Brutality and beauty

These small, mammalian sea creatures, members of the phocidae family, have inspired what is probably the most impassioned ongoing debate over animal rights in Canadian history. To Professor Singer, animal rights philosopher, the fascination with seals is understandable and yet not easily explainable. “It’s common that issues about killing wildlife evoke more emotion and get more attention from the general public than issues about killing domestic animals. I don’t know exactly why that is...maybe people have less sympathy for domestic animals, maybe they think seals are more beautiful, maybe because they themselves are eating cows and chickens and pigs.”

Dr. Crook, veterinarian at the University of PEI, argues that the conditions in which the seal hunt occurs contribute greatly to public interest and condemnation. “It takes place out in the open against a background of white ice. If you see the pictures of the sealers striking the seals it does look brutal.” Crook believes that people misunderstand the hunt because of their distance, geographically, culturally, and materially, from it. “To a lot of people the seal hunt is foreign. They don’t wear seal products and they don’t eat seal meat. Most of the furs are sent over to Eastern Europe.”

Animal rights activists have been responsible for much of the public attention given to the seal hunt. According to political scientist Professor Barry, the nature of this issue has provided these groups with a way to challenge public policy. "Modern society's interest in protecting the environment makes urban publics vulnerable to images that exploit their concern. Animal welfare and environmental groups are skilled at doing this.” Barry says that these tactics are neither illegitimate nor a necessarily a bad thing. “They are trying to overturn existing policies and need to dramatize issues in ways that attract popular support.”

Canada's "black eye"

As the 2009 EU ban on the importation of seal products suggests, the seal hunt is viewed in a negative light by certain members of the international community. In turn, this has changed some people’s feelings toward Canada, a country often praised for its humane and socially conscious society. It has, according to Professor Barry, “given us a black eye.” Canada is not alone in attracting negative press for an animal rights issue. Professor Regan, one of the foremost leaders in animal rights philosophy, points out that Japan’s reputation has also been tarnished by their “harvesting” of whales. “The plain truth is, no country is ‘pure.’ The same for people.”

In Canada, poor environmental conditions and a questionable market for seal products increasingly jeopardize the future of the sealing industry. Veterinarian Dr. Crook explains that this past season when there was less ice than usual, many seal pups drowned because their mothers had no solid place to give birth. On April 21st, about a month and a half into the hunt, the DFO announced that only 57, 000 seals or 20% of the TAC had been killed. The small catch was also blamed on low prices for seal pelts. In a somewhat contradictory move, the DFO actually hiked the TAC from 280, 000 to 330, 000 in mid March, despite the unfavourable ice conditions,

Another problem facing the sealing industry is its aging work force. “Most sealers are between 50 and 60 and they’re trying to get through to retirement,” says Davis, the Memorial University professor. “A lot of young people are moving away because of many things that have made it difficult to earn a living through sealing. Some don’t want to, some people can’t afford to get in. It’s become very restrictive.”

None of these problems are necessarily a serious threat to the industry, says Barry of the Seals and Sealing Network. “Poor ice years have been known to occur in the past. There was one in 1981 very similar to this year’s. In large part we have seen seals responding and finding ice to pup along their normal migration routes.” Barry also disputes the speculation that an aging work force will spell the demise of the sealing industry. He argues that a similar trend is occurring in other fishing sectors in rural Newfoundland and despite this, opportunities still exist for young people. “As long as the viability of this way of life can be determined by fair market value, without prejudice, there will be incentives for a younger generation to be involved.”

If the sealing industry stays intact, it is likely that the seal hunt will continue to gain support from Canadian politicians. According to IFAW’s Fink, politics play a major role in the continuation of the hunt because “no one wants to lose the seven seats in Newfoundland.” Lately, politicians have reason to be concerned about the reputation of the hunt beyond Canadian borders. “It’s become a matter of pride; politicians have been defending it internationally. The government’s response has been to get their backs up.”

Sue you, EU!

In response to the EU’s restrictions, Canada has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization on the grounds that the ban is an improper use of trade policy. In January, a number of organizations that represent Inuit in Canada and Greenland also filed a lawsuit. They claim that despite an exemption that would allow products from the Inuit’s seal hunt to be imported, there are no guarantees that their interests will be protected. In a statement released by the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents Inuit in Canada, Raymond Ningeocheak, Vice-President of Finance for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., stated, “The exemption in the Regulation is uncertain and was adopted without the participation of Inuit. Not surprisingly, the Regulation does not reflect the reality of the Inuit commercial seal harvest, which is both humane and necessary to the survival of the Inuit.”

Meanwhile, activists continue to devise imaginative strategies to pressure the government. According to spokesperson Emily Lavender, PETA is aiming an anti-sealing campaign at prospective tourists to Canada, exposing what they see as the shameful cruelty of the hunt. “PETA has just launched its new TV spot and it’s going to be aired around the world. We’re asking tourists to travel elsewhere,” she said.

 


 

Israelis rally outside Canadian Embassy against 'barbaric' seal hunt

Anti-fur coalition seal hunt protest Israel 2010
Anti-Ffur Coalition seal hunt protest in Israel. Photo: Ronen Machleb
Kids wave handmade signs reading, 'Don’t Kill Babies for Fashion and Money' during annual demonstration organized by International Anti-Fur Coalition. Group claims sealers made obscene gestures at animal rights observers just before slicing pups open

Ynetnews Published: 05.06.10, 07:46 / Israel Activism

 

The International Anti-Fur Coalition (IAFC), with assistance from its local associate "Let the Animals Live," held its annual rally on April 29 at the Canadian Embassy in Tel-Aviv against the "brutal slaughter of baby seals."

The Canadian ambassador's press agent Signe Katz came out to greet IAFC representative Mitzi Ocean and was handed an envelop filled with letters calling on Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper to end the slaughter.

Among those present at the rally were numerous school children, who waved their handmade posters and drawings bearing the key message, "Don’t Kill Babies for Fashion and Money."

According to Ocean, this year's hunt "was more barbaric than in previous years, with a total disregard for even the inadequate laws provided for the doomed pups that are being dragged by hooks through their faces to be skinned, frequently still conscious, their little flippers clenched in anguish and fear."

The IAFC claims that the sealers, just before slicing open the pups, blatantly made obscene gestures at the animal rights observers in the helicopters above. This year they could find only one buyer, with merely 28 boats going out, a significant decrease from prior years of around 1000 boats, the group claimed.

IAFC said and end to the seal hunt would also Canada would also bring an end to the global boycott on the country's seafood. "Canada would regain its reputation as a civilized nation that considers the voice of their people and that of world opinion," the group said.

According to IAFC, half of the sealers are in favor of a federal buyout of the commercial sealing industry, which would compensate them for any lost income.

For more information: www.antifurcoalition.org

 


 

'Bloodied' Spanish activists protest Canada seal hunt

(AFP) – Mar 15, 2010

BARCELONA, Spain — A group of several half-naked women covered in fake blood staged a protest in front of the Canadian consulate in Barcelona on Monday to denounce the country's annual seal hunt.

The animal rights activists lay in Barcelona's Plaza de Catalunya while men dressed as hunters pretended to beat them with sticks.

The annual hunt on Canada's Atlantic coast "is a bloody reality" every year, said the animal rights group AnimaNaturalis which organised the protest.

The hunt is allowed for "commercial reasons" and "hides behind the spurious argument that an overpopulation of seals harms cod stocks off the Canadian coast," said Jonathan Torralba, the head of communication at AnimaNaturalis in Spain.

"Actually, this is due to overfishing and not to an excess number of seals."

Around 6,000 Canadians take part in the seal hunt every year.

The European Union in July 2009 adopted a ban on seal products, ruling the goods could not be marketed from 2010.

In November, Canada filed an official complaint at the World Trade Organization against the EU ban on imported seal products, saying it violated trade rules.

Copyright © 2010 AFP

 


 

Fisheries Minister Gail Shea pied during speech

By THE CANADIAN PRESS
Mon. Jan 25 - 3:14 PM

 
Gail Shea - Fisheries Minister
Gail Shea gets pied
Gail Shea pied
Gail Shea pied

Gail Shea pied

From The Chronicle Herald video - thechronicleherald.ca

BURLINGTON, Ont. — Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea says getting a pie in the face Monday from a woman opposed to the East Coast seal hunt only strengthens her resolve to defend it.

``If this is what it takes to defend the Canadian seal hunt, then I'm very proud to do it,'' Shea told the Charlottetown Guardian after the incident in Burlington, Ont.

Emily McCoy, 37, of New York City was taken into custody and charged with assault.

Shea was delivering a speech at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters when a woman stood up and pushed a tofu cream pie squarely into the minister's face.

``Shame on you Gail Shea. ... It is a shame on Canada. It is a shame that she has not denounced this bloody seal hunt,'' the woman yelled before being led away by officials.

Shea said the bright lights from the television cameras prevented her from seeing the woman coming toward her.

``I could kind of see something was coming in front of the lights, but I couldn't tell what it was until I got it right in the face,'' she said. ``I didn't know what was happening until I actually got the pie in the face.''

The animal-rights group PETA later took responsibility for the incident. It said in a release that it was part of its campaign ``to stop the government's ill-advised sanction of the slaughter of seals.''

Shea, who represents a P.E.I. riding, didn't require medical attention and returned to the podium after wiping the pie from her face.

While not injured, Shea said she does considered it assault with a weapon. She said the woman could have had something much more dangerous than a pie in her hand.

``You just deal with so many people. You can't know that everybody that we come across is rational,'' she said.

Politicians have often been targets for demonstrators wielding pies, some of whom went to jail.

Former prime minister Jean Chretien was hit in the face with a pie by a protester in Prince Edward Island in 2000. His attacker initially was given jail time but eventually received a conditional sentence.

A woman who missed Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach with a pie at the annual Calgary Stampede breakfast in 2007, and hit a security official instead, was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

So was a woman who threw a pie at Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier in the summer of 2007.

In 2003, a protester who hit then-Alberta premier Ralph Klein in the face with a pie at the Stampede breakfast was convicted of assault and ordered to serve a 30-day intermittent jail sentence.

Jean Charest got it in April 2003, two days before his Liberals ousted the Parti Quebecois and he was elected Quebec premier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

2010 Olympics & PETA seal hunt protests

December 27, 5:37 PM

Vancouver Environmental News Examiner

Bev Yaworski

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) plan to target the Vancouver 2010 Olympics as part of the PETA campaign to stop seal hunts.

PETA recently demonstrated outside the International Olympic Committee, IOC, headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Demanding an end of Canada's annual "seal cull," PETA says its campaign will continue up to and through the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

According to PETA’s publicity materials, organizers have planned an international campaign to protest the “shameful Canadian seal slaughter and bloody massacre” and will be targeting the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. PETA is calling the campaign Olympic Shame 2010 and requesting the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee use its influence to help stop the slaughter. They are also urging a boycott of Canadian products such as maple syrup.

Not everyone is in agreement with the radical tactics of PETA that try to draw attention to animal rights. A recent article in the Georgia Strait Canadian newspaper titled "Abolitionists in animal rights movement push for vegan society" by Lisa Mickleborough, questions the protest approach of PETA.

The writer points out the tactics of PETA may “generate headlines, but some animal advocates are wondering whether or not they garner the right kind of attention. Law professor Gary Francione, who is spearheading an “abolitionist” shift within the animal-rights movement, says these crusades are sending the wrong message. “Why don’t animal advocates recognize that [these] campaigns trivialize…animal rights and give people even more reason to dismiss the…issue altogether?” (Georgia Strait Dec 2009)

Earlier this year Governor General Michaëlle Jean sparked a global controversy by eating seal meat on a visit to Nunavut in support of Inuit culture. Seal meat was recently added to the menu in the Canadian parliamentary restaurant and is also eaten by many residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.

There is presently a European Union ban on seal products.

According to the Sea Shepherd Society, “the clubbing of seals has no place in the 21st Century. It must be eliminated as an industry and seal populations must be allowed to restore in order to recover the prey-predator balance that has been lost in our oceanic ecosystems.”

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics have also been attempting to meet environmental targets for the winter games.


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