Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Canada, You're Better Than That

We have a visitor here in the Hudson Valley...and he's cute as hell. Marine rescue experts say he's a young Arctic harp seal, probably wandering south looking for some fish and a comfortable place to molt.

We're delighted to have him. People are lining up along the shore to watch him shove himself around the ice, roll around and generally act like a healthy, happy seal.

I'm working on a story on his visit today - I won't be interviewing him as it would be rude to impose on someone who might find a microphone in his muzzle a little stressful. But my co-worker sent me a link to a story from Ottawa that, frankly, made my stomach turn.

Seal hunting is apparently big business in Ottawa and politicians want to make it clear to the industry that they support them. So they're getting together for a lovely seal meat meal. Seal meat and its fat, the organizer admits, is awful. The only way to make it palatable is to wrap it in bacon or somehow add fat to it. But they are so dedicated to proving that they support killing seals that they'll figure out a way to choke it down.

Seal's On the Menu

And here I've been so envious of Canada, so impressed by its openness to diversity, it's honest character. Guess there's some major room for improvement.

I don't believe eating animals is defensible. I do not believe that cruelty to other creatures is excusable. And I sure as hell don't admire people who have lost their humanity to such an extent that they'll actually line up (it's a sold out event) to join in.


Reya Mellicker said...

Nobody's perfect, not even the Canadians. The seal, though, is adorable.

Susan said...

No one's perfect, especially me. I'm just so discouraged that so many legislators would line up for something so repugnant.
If you're starving, if this is life or death, different standards apply.
But not here. Not this time.
And the seal is most definitely adorable. We're hoping he hangs around awhile.

Anonymous said...

The seal looks soooo cute.

That is unbelievable. Beggars belief.

Anonymous said...

The seal is very cute. I am Canadian, I don't know anything about seal hunting; however, we have to keep in mind that seal hunting was once part of the traidtion of aboriginal people in Canada. Sadly, there is still a lot of political tension here when it comes to Native Canadan groups,and our gov. is often trying to strike a balance. The seal hunt is traditional to aboriginal cultures although I don't really agree with it and I think the aboriginal culture argument is true but also an excuse for the government to do good big business and appease traditional cultures.

Susan said...

Anon, it's a tightrope, I'm sure. But as someone who not only respects Native traditions but whose lineage includes Native blood, I've got to tell you that unless you have no other food source, this is a tradition which should be set on the shelf.
If a tribe hunts for its food, I may not agree but I understand.
If someone hunts to sell the pelts, eats a burger made from meat bought at the store and sits down to watch television, I think it's a new world and it's time to admit it.

Liza said...

Yeah, us Canadians are definitely not perfect, just look at who we voted in as Prime Minister.
I just had to get that in!
This issue has moved way beyond tradition. PETA has tried to bring light to it, but their use of Pamela Anderson as a spokesperson takes away from it in my opinion.
ps...I absolutely loved your sleepnumber post!

Jo said...

Brigitte Bardot has visit the seal hunt many times, to try to stop it. Unfortunately, it's big business here in Canada, and big business always has the final word.

As far as the Aboriginal tradition, they have been allowed to overfish the cod and salmon, and they are now almost depleted. The same thing will happen with the seals. There should not be a double-stand when it comes to preservation of the wildlife. They belong to all of us.

Jo said...

I meant double-standard. But you knew that. :-)