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Barrett808 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:25 AM
Original message
Pro-sealing rally set for St. John's
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 11:27 AM by Barrett808
Source: CBC News

On a day when many animal rights groups around the world are planning protests against Canada's seal hunt, the sealers themselves will be holding a rally of their own.

The hunters and their supporters will gather Saturday afternoon on George Street in downtown St. John's.

A spokesman for the Fur Institute of Canada, Dion Dakins, said the industry is important, not only financially but culturally.

Dakins said the hunt has been going on each spring for 500 years and is an integral part of the culture of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.

Animal rights groups have been protesting the hunt since the 1970s, claiming it's inhumane.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has set this season's quota at 275,000 seals.

Read more:

You have to wonder if there will be enough Arctic ice to support the seal nursery this year. Last year, conditions were disastrous for the seal population, with many drowning due to lack of ice.
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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 11:28 AM
Response to Original message
1. sorry I read the subject line as some reference to Mormon marriages
I think I better take a nap.
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MaryCeleste Donating Member (898 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. As did I
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
3. Hideous, grotesque direction for a human being to take. What monsters.
It's too late for them to come to their senses, but public outrage should be far louder than their filthy, vicious, sadistic intention to continue their slaughter.

The entire world's consciousness has been raised since this practise started. The human race is evolving spiritually, moving away from pointless, brutal, barbarous actions against utterly helpless, innocent victims.

If a man/woman finds himself at odds with moving to a better way of doing things, he/she should recognize he/she is sick, and make the necessary adjustment.
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1620rock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Blood is on their hands and on their souls. God damn them to Hell.
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siderap Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Think hard about what kind of people call other people monsters.

I have followed DU for quite a while out of concern for an electoral process that affects the entire world, but as a Canadian have not found it appropriate to intervene in your discussions.

However, I feel I must respond to this posters idiotic rhetoric. I have no personal stake in the seal hunt, nor in the fur industry; I wish both did not exist. It has indeed been barbaric, and though legislation has tried to impose humane killing standards on it, may still be in many instances. The fur industry is a visible reminder of the way that humans barbarically exploit their environments for the most indefensible reasons.

But to simply call the Newfoundland seal hunters monsters is to make a dehumanizing statement that betrays a complete ignorance of history and economics and reveals yourself as an ignorant player in a game with deep, deep class implications. You may believe in spiritual evolution, and Im no expert on the subject being rather more tied to materialist evaluations of things, but your own spirit seems particularly unevolved if you can write off an entire segment of the human population; one of the most vulnerable and victimized segments of that population that exist in North America. While you are evolving spiritually some of the poorest people in North America have to feed their families. And they are not monsters but themselves victims of a far broader kind of environmental barbarism of which your post seems completely ignorant.

First, the seal hunt is indeed several hundred years old and is an economic mainstay of outport culture in Newfoundland and Labrador. That culture is quickly disappearing due to outmigration; it may be largely extinct within a generation or two. The largest reason for that outmigration is the collapse of the fishing economy in the outport settlements. The sudden collapse of a fishery primarily cod, but other groundfish such as turbot and halibut as well that had been sustainable for four hundred years, has primarily been due to the large scale implementation of industrial fishing methods over the past thirty years, by Canadian, but also by American and especially by European and East Asian companies. Industrial bottom trawler fishing effectively drags a weighted net across the ocean bottom, destroying almost everything in its path including fish habitats, catching almost every living thing there is, with most of it being hauled in and thrown away as bycatch. This is an environmental tragedy that dwarfs the seal hunt by any measure except one: cod are not photogenic.

Harp seals are cute, cuddly and look like the stuffed animals modeled upon them. They are among the most charismatic of the charismatic mammals, and even friends of mine in Greenpeace and the Sierra Club of Canada admit that even though the seal hunt as it is currently carried out is not a particularly important environmental concern, and, though this is not saying much, has become as humane as many other forms of legal hunting (and some forms of industrial meat production), it is a huge, primary marketing opportunity which funds many of their other environmental activities. Many of them privately regret making monsters of the Newfoundland outport residents, but feel it is a necessary evil, a regrettable means to justify their undeniably laudable ends.

My mixed feelings have a personal basis. I grew up in the bush of Northwestern Ontario find Duluth Minnesota on a map and go straight north a few hundred kms and I remember that May to October was when the Americans came. And American meant only one thing beer swilling, rude, arrogant, ignorant hunters, rich beyond sin driving huge vehicles that usually towed more huge vehicles who were generally despised locally, but whose American money kept alive whole communities dying off when the mines or mills closed. Feeding the families of friends of mine, friends who were not monsters, even though they held their noses and baited the bear blinds so that American hunters could kill a black bear often a sow with cubs: whoops in cold blood so they could put a head up wherever the hell they lived.

Ive since traveled the world and even taught at American universities, in the process meeting Americans who are completely unlike and would not want to be grouped with the Americans of my childhood. But there are also many like yourselves, who (though of a different political stripe perhaps) share with the rednecks of my childhood a kind of knee-jerk arrogance and presumption that you can pronounce life and death judgment on anybody around the world, from the idiot sanctity of your reality-proof American exceptionalist ignorance. Your spiritual evolution sounds a lot like manifest destiny to me, and your willingness to damn people to hell sounds a lot like the sanctimonious fundamentalists you pretend to despise.

Please. Feel free to criticize; there is lots to criticize about the seal hunt. But be informed, and refrain from turning real human beings into monsters when in reality they are people who live a life far different, and probably far more impoverished, than your own and are trying merely to keep their families and their culture alive.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. The seal slaughter operates at a loss, so it's hardly a boon to the economy
Edited on Sat Mar-15-08 02:59 PM by LeftyMom
As the market for seal pelts is in decline and likely to decline further (a lot of European countries have bans on sale of seal pelts and the EU is considering one- as the US already has a ban that would effectively mean no big fashion designers would use seal pelts) it would actually cost the Canadian gov't less to just pay the sealers to quit than it does to maintain the hunt. But the sealers seem to think that if they kill enough seals the cod fishery will come back, when the problem is that they caught all the cod, and actually the seals eat the predatory fish that eat the cod much more than the seals eat the cod themselves.

The seal hunt is horrifically abusive, it's an environmental travesty, and it's an enormous waste of money. Being born where I was doesn't mean I shouldn't point that fact out.

And as for your criticism of the OP- bashing any animal in the head is barbaric. Anybody who would do so is a monster. She's defending the innocent, and you're defending animal abusers.

edit: Once more, with spell check.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:03 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. No matter what defense is thrown up,clubbing any creature to death is unforgiveable.U R rite.n/t
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:00 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. I have always felt exactly the same way toward ALL hunters, thanks. No exceptions. n/t
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gula Donating Member (619 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Welcome to DU and thank you for the insight
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. nice post siderap
at the end of the day i find i'm less and less interested in the "spiritually evolved," they seem to be lacking something essential -- a little thing called compassion for their fellow struggling humans

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Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. very well stated
(disclosure time: I am viewed as barbaric by a segment of the sanctimonious, self-perceived "spiritually evolved" as well. Rancher.)

I often wonder how some of these folks would fare if dropped into the middle of a really foreign culture. I have seen them traveling in more mainstream travel locations (Mexico for example) and to me they are more embarrassing than the stereotypical, black sock, camera wielding, Bermuda-short tourists or idiot bear hunters you describe.
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Posteritatis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 04:16 AM
Response to Reply #5
14. Amen, and welcome aboard! (nt)
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okasha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
20. The seal hunters' actions dehumanize them.
They made themselves monsters, wilfully and in full knowledge of what they're doing.
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Number9Dream Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
9. Canadian govt subsidizes the seal slaughter /

snip> For political and bureaucratic reasons, the Canadian government directly subsidizes the Harp seal hunt for about $3-4 million annually, including capital costs, infrastructure, subsidized salaries, and other services.

snip> The DFO allows hunters to kill any seal pup over two-weeks-old, the so-called raggedy jackets, and "beaters" sporting a silvery coat flecked with small dark spots. Although a few adult seals are taken, some 90-95% of all the Harp seals taken are still infants, 2-6 weeks old. Killing babies in their nursery feels morally reprehensible, and ecologically dim-witted.

snip> This deception betrays scant understanding of marine ecology. For several millennia to the 18th century, some 30 million Harp seals lived in a North Atlantic teeming with cod, capelin, herring, and so forth. If 30 million seals did not deplete the fish stocks, it is inconceivable that 3 million seals will deplete the fish stocks.

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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-15-08 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. the fisheries are already depleted in the north atlantic
the little that remains is a joke -- there is no such north atlantic in existence now that teems with "cod, caplein, herring, and so forth," who do they think they're kidding? the crash of the fisheries and the resulting poverty to a formerly independent people should be a pretty well known tale this time of century

in any event if it's morally wrong to hunt then it is morally wrong to hunt regardless of place of birth or color of one's skin, the article you cite says no one objects to indigenous folks hunting the seals, so it ain't about saving any baby seals, is it? not clear then exactly what it is about other than wasting activists time with bright shiny objects -- folks, there's a war on, stopping a canadian man from earning a living from a very difficult job is probably not real high on my priority list at the moment, sorry

the fact that the north atlantic could sustain 30 million harp seals in 1800 is neither here nor there, we don't live in 1800, there were a good number of passenger pigeons and bison right here in the good ole usa in those days also, doesn't prove anything about what our ecosystem is about today, does it?
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Barrett808 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. It's common for the fishing industry to blame wildlife for the depleted fisheries
For example, Iceland uses this excuse to take Piked whales. Of course, the decline in ocean biomass is entirely caused by human overexploitation, but that doesn't prevent fishing nations from blaming marine mammals -- and then slaughtering them.
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Number9Dream Donating Member (574 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. Try re-reading the article objectively
It said the N. Atlantic WAS teeming with fish in the 18th century, not now. It was over-fishing that caused the lack of fish.

Concerning indigenous people: "If the landsmen and indigenous hunters retained their right to hunt adult seals, this would have almost no appreciable impact on the seal populations."
"Hunt ADULT seals". Indigenous people are known to kill only what they can eat and use, not slaughter BABY seals by the hundreds of thousands for their pelts. So, yes, it is still about baby seals.

The point about the number of seals is that the sealers still claim that the seals are responsible for the lack of fish, not their own fishing practices.
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demgurl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
16. People cross from Mexico into the US illegally...
because they have a will to live, not just barely survive. They have something inside of them that wants something better. People do things because they benefit from their actions, not because there are negative consequences. There are a lot of people on this board who would defend people who cross the border because conditions down there are so bad.

Has anyone here researched conditions in Newfoundland, let alone St.John's? I ask because I had to leave there and move to the US because we had the highest amount of unemployment in Canada. We also had the highest taxes - I believe it was 23% the last time I visited. You think milk and gas are high here? Glad you have not been living there the last 10-20 years!

An amazing amount of our people live in outports where the only way they knew how to make a living was to fish. Then technology came along and trawlers from areas overseas came in and scooped up all our fish. We were very much hurt by the cod moratorium that we had to follow while overs still fished and made their living. What job do you do in an outport town where there are only 50-200 people and you can not fish any more? What do you do when 95% of those families were fishermen, when this has been a way of life for as long as you can remember?

Along with the fishing industry, the seal hunt has been a way of life for many of our people as far back as they can remember. For an uneducated person, trying hard to support their family, this may be the only way they know how to survive. These people are poor simple folks who can not afford to move or get an education at this late date in life.

I can not believe how many people are blindly calling a person, trying to get by, a monster. These are good people who would give you the clothes off their backs. Right out of high school I got a job as a door to door saleswoman and went around to those outports. When it got late in the day I was always offered food or drink of some kind by these 'monsters' and lucky they offered because most of these places did not have restaurants (too small a town) and my company was not feeding me as promised. These are good people with solid values.

I do not believe in the seal hunt but if you are interested enough to find out more, please read "Death on the Ice" (required reading in high school) about one of the biggest sealing disasters in history. So many men died but it will tell you about our way of life and what people will go through when they are desperate to make a living.

I am from Newfoundland and I really take exception at people calling my folks 'monsters'. Say what they are doing is wrong. Tell me you do not agree with their actions. Do not call someone you have never met or talked with a monster.

The seal hunt makes me sad but so do the words being flung about.
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siderap Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. "The seal hunt makes me sad but so do the words being flung about": exactly
When people start dehumanizing identifiable groups by calling them monsters and dammning them to hell, especially when it is a member of a powerful group damning an economically marginal group and making a claim to some self-serving notion of social evolution, it shows that person has learned nothing from the horrors of the last century and a half. I would expect this of right wingers, but I expect people on the left to be able to understand history and to be able to make critically informed distinctions. Like it or not, it is always easy, convenient, smugly self-satisfying and wrong (and a favourite practice of right wingers) to look at a problem and blame not the people who are driving the problem through consumption, but to blame workers who are involved in the production of a product because they are poor and have no other options. For better or worse, the seal hunters are providing a legal product to a legal market using legal means. Horrible yes, but legal. I dearly hope they are bought out by either the federal or provincial governments or given other economic opportunities. But they haven't been, and until they are, the hunt keeps bread on the table for many families. You want monsters? Look to the people that actually profit from the fur industry, or the people that wear furs by choice. The seal hunt may be monstrous, but the hunters are not the monsters: there is a big difference between hunters who hunt for pleasure or principle, and those who hunt out of economic necessity. Members of my family hunted and trapped for at least the last couple of hundred years; they lived on the land. My father did not hunt, and I do not, because economically we haven't had to, and for whatever reasons, didn't want to. But I don't judge my ancestors. I do judge contemporary pleasure hunters buying a thrill kill, though, without being convinced, I respect the arguments of some who can defend certain of these practices in terms of tradition or some such. One of my close friends stood a picket line that was run by a busload of scabs trying to break a strike at a remote paper mill. He was in the hospital for two weeks and in a cast for five, and he is one of the most progressive people I have ever met. And he hunts. And I am proud to call him my friend. He did not go to university and he may not be spiritually evolved, and you may call him a monster, but I wish I had half his guts to fight -- I mean really fight, body on the line -- for what is right. That is what I mean by a historically informed critical distinction.

My friend here is quite right: in my experience I've never met bigger-hearted, friendlier, more hospitable people in all the world that I have in Newfoundland. If they're monsters, so should we all be, and the world would be a better place for it.

BTW, a quick word of advice. When you get lefties with environmental concerns that make them more committed to spiritual evolution than to social justice turning against the most destitute of the working classes, and when both of those spatting groups are then so easily made to seem unpalatable to the soft-progressive soccer mom center, you get Canada, where 65-70% of the people support either progressive (Liberal), social democratic (NDP) or Green parties (and a progressive, albeit nationalist, party in Quebec, to boot) ... but you have dictatorial rule by a Conservative party. It is imperative that you Americans keep your left coalition intact, else you have a recipe for perpetual conservative administrations.

I take little pleasure in arguing, and I've said my piece. Here's begging that you folks put aside your current differences, quit making best the enemy of good (and apply either term to H or O as you see fit), and help deliver the rest of the world from 4 more years of Republican rule.
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ohio2007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-16-08 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
18. Maybe the Japanese can start on the Cannucks after the Roo rage they put on down under. nt
Edited on Sun Mar-16-08 03:27 PM by ohio2007

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