Criticism of seal snack unwarranted: Professor - Metro US

Criticism of seal snack unwarranted: Professor

The Governor General’s eating of a raw seal heart is not an animal-rights issue, and any suggestion of its incivility smacks of colonial bigotry, says a University of B.C. global studies professor.

Lawrence Berg said when Michaëlle Jean took part in the traditional Inuit ritual, she was supporting a practice that its opponents condemn out of ignorance.

“(Jean) is supporting indigenous communities in the North when she’s doing this,” said Berg. “If she’s offered something like this, it would he a slap in the face of the local community to refuse it.”

Berg said Jean is being pilloried by animal-rights groups in a “re-inscription of colonial attitudes of savagery and civilization.”

The seal wasn’t clubbed or hunted for commercial use, and its meat was used to feed the community.

“This is quite a different context from the seal hunt that’s being talked about in Europe and (leading to a potential) ban on seal products,” Berg said.

Earlier this month, the European Union voted to impose a ban on seal products after years of intense lobbying by animal-rights groups.

But seal hunters in Canada’s North say the ban would devastate the region, which relies heavily on the sealing industry.

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