As the beer commercial goes: I am Canadian.
And as such, I suppose, it’s my patriotic duty to defend our annual celebration of stupidity, the Atlantic seal hunt.
OK, here goes.
The first thing you should know is that this so-called annual slaughter targets only a tiny percentage of the 5.5 million harp seal population, just a quarter of a million of the cutest and most defenceless.
Keep in mind as well that sealers can no longer target “babies.” Now they have to wait until the seals are “mature:” 12-15 days old and beginning to moult. This corresponds with the time the baby seals are abandoned by their mothers. “Hi kid. Abandoned by your mom? Welcome to the real world. Whack!”
I must, on behalf of the 6,000 sealers who make their livings whacking baby seals, protest the European Union’s ban on seal pelts, passed May 5. Obviously, because the Europeans kill animals (and what about those bull fights, eh? Eh?), they have no right to get all self-righteous about the seal hunt. Don’t they realize the hunt is strictly regulated and humane?
At least as humane as it can be, considering it apparently requires the use of something called a “hakapik,” which looks exactly as it sounds, and that the “mature” seal has absolutely no means of escape, except to close its big, impossibly adorable eyes, and wonder what happened to mom.
And those European dilettantes should respect the grand tradition that accompanies the whacking of baby seals.
Our Inuit friends have been whacking same since before recorded history and our noble maritime fisher guys have been at it for more than 400 years.
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And surely that is one of the great lessons of history: The longer a brutal, pointless practice endures, the less pointless it becomes, but I’m not sure I want to go there just now.
Let’s remember the annual seal whackathon brings 30 million badly needed dollars to the Atlantic economy. When you consider that $30 million about covers the cost of the commodes at the new $1 billion Vancouver convention centre, you have some idea of the epic scale we’re dealing with here. Of course, we could just give the Newfoundland sealers 30 million bucks and a gift coupon for Tim Hortons and tell them to stay home, but where’s the dignity?
Who are we — effete, urban snobs who eat veal probably — to tell the noble sealers to forgo their storied traditions and stop whacking and hakapiking baby, er, mature seals to death?
We simply don’t understand, do we?