Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Understanding the Ban

"They could have more understanding from our side of the picture, especially with propaganda used when they say we are clubbing baby seals when in fact the sale of whitecoats (baby seals) has been banned for over 20 years."
"They're going to still go hunting. They always will, we always have. But it does affect them economically -- that's one way a lot of our hunters make a living."
"It is okay for us to eat hamburgers and cows and pigs when they are raised in slaughterhouses and they have very small quarters, and it's done with no regard for the animal's life. I think there is a huge prejudice there, and it is really unfair."
"There is a direct link between the people that hunt it, the people that eat it, and the people that wear it. One seal will feed many families and it is within our tradition to share our meat and share our food with other families."
"The seal skin shirt that I am wearing -- I know who made it. I know that it wasn't made in a sweat shop. I know that [those who made it] were given money for it and their kids were fed."
Terrie Kusugak, Inuit student protester

"The European Union is concerned about the animal welfare aspects of the seal hunt. Doubts have been expressed about some of the methods used for hunting seals, such as shooting, netting and clubbing, that can cause avoidable pain and distress."
European Commission's Environment Directorate-General statement

"It's like you are outside, you are not equal with others."
"When we catch the seal, we eat the meat, use the fat, use the skins for clothing and we use the bones in our arts and so on. We use all the seal, nothing is wasted."
Icelandic Inuit Jens Olsen
Canada and Norway are appealing to the European Union to rescind its ban against seal products, a ban that has impacted deleteriously on Canadian and Norwegian seal hunters, as well as those who have traditionally hunted seals elsewhere in the world, in a once-vibrant trade, now in decline as a result of the impassioned propaganda campaign of environmentalists and animal-welfare activists.

Inuit students stage sealskin fashion show on Parliament Hill to protest EU ban
Inuit students pose in sealskin jackets during a rally on Parliament Hill Tuesday March 18, 2014 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
In hopes of helping to counteract the effects of anti-seal activism, Inuit from Canada and Greenland held a fashion show in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, speaking publicly of the difficulties they face as a result of a ban supposedly exempting them, but which in fact does not. The ban has destroyed the once-thriving market, and makes no exceptions in the marketplace for anyone.

An Inuit student from Nunavut shows off a seal skin jacket and boots during a fashion show/protest on Parliament Hill, March 18, 2014. (Matthew Little/Epoch Times)An Inuit student from Nunavut shows off a seal skin jacket and boots during a fashion show/protest on Parliament Hill, March 18, 2014. (Matthew Little/Epoch Times)
Propaganda, hysterical and slanderous at times reveals a cultural bias that harms Inuit hunters and communities reliant on seal hunting throughout their history who have attempted to participate in the modern world's cash economy to pursue a living wage for themselves and their families. They hold out high hopes that Canada and Norway manage to succeed in their appeal to the World Trade Organization to have the ban overturned.

In acknowledgement that the Inuit have economic and social interests in the seal hunt the EU granted them limited ban exemptions. Ignoring the effect of the ban in destroying the seal products market. A move that the protesters speak of as hypocrisy and cultural bias, stigmatizing seal products, and in effect the people who hunt and harvest and create the products.

Hunters have lost their income as a result of the ban. Lower prices for meat and sealskin have resulted from the ban, making it difficult for Inuit to support their families. Even while the EU recognizes that the species of seal hunted in Canada, Norway and Namibia in Southern African (where in fact 60% of seal products originate) are not endangered, it is the methods of the hunt they claim to take exception to.

This, despite assurances from Canadian authorities that the methods used to kill the animals are humane, guaranteed to deliver instant death, and that no pain to the animal results from the process. And where the great wide world accepts the conditions that prevail in abattoirs the world over, and where in commercial animal husbandry no such concerns for the welfare of the animals humans eat every day are expressed.

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