Canadians go out clubbing
Annual seal cull provokes annual protests
Canada has declared its annual seal cull - which this year will see off more than 280,000 seals - as "humane, sustainable and responsible", despite protestors' claims to the contrary.
Canadians are expected to go out clubbing in force* in the next few days in the Gulf of St Lawrence and around Newfoundland to reduce the 5.5 million harp seal population by 275,000 and the 600,000 head count of the hooded seal by 8,200, the Telegraph reports. It last year authorised the extermination of 224,000 individuals - of which 98 per cent were pups under the age of three months, according to cull opponents.
While Harp seals have" never been considered endangered", Robbie Marsland of the International Fund for Animal Welfare claimed the slaughter of so many pups will "inevitably have serious consequences for the future of the harp seal population".
He elaborated: "Scientists predict that annual hunts at this level could reduce the population by 70 per cent in the next 15 years."
Protestors have launched a combined thespo-maritime assault on the cull, throwing Brit actress Alison Steadman into the fray backed by direct intervention by ecowarriors Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
The former was in Canada ealier this month to "raise awareness about the impact of the fur trade on seal populations". Having seen seal mums nursing pups on ice sheets off Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St Lawrence, Steadman declared: "It is tragic that Canada's pristine ice floes are now remembered as the place where millions of seal pups are bludgeoned to death, where the largest most brutal marine mammal hunt in the world continues to take place every year."
The latter, meanwhile, says its vessel the Farley Mowat will sail to the Gulf of St Lawrence and the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland to "intervene directly in the hunt". Canada has warned any such action would be in contravention of international maritime law. ®
*As the Telegraph explains, the commercial seal hunting season "lasts from mid-November to mid-May but most of it occurs in late March and the beginning of April".
Yes they do eat them
Seal meat is available in a variety of butcher-type meat cuts, all rich in protein and iron. Seal meat has similar nutritional benefits as fish protein. See:
Here's a recipe:
Seal meat is even available in high-end restaurants in distinctly non-rural Montreal:
Incidentally, seal oil is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids for supplementation. Seals are mammals, much higher in the food chain than fish, and they use their metabolic and digestive systems to filter out the many natural impurities found in fish oils. The "bio-filtering" provides an essential component not found in most fish oils and naturally enriches the Omega 3 content and adds an essential element not found in most fish oils: DPA. Seals in Newfoundland also grow in an unpolluted area.
Omega 3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) is abundant in seal blubber and especially well-suited for human nutritional supplementation. Bioavailability of seal oil into the human body is easier and more thorough than with fish oils. Technically-speaking, in seal oil, the Omega 3 fatty acids are in the -1 and -3 positions of the triglyceride molecule (same as humans) while in fish oil they are in the -2 position. The Omega 3 content of seal oil is 20%-25%, which is higher than most fish oils, making seal oil capsules a much more effective source of Omega 3 than fish itself. Seal oil is virtually free of cholesterol, while many fish and fish oils are relatively high in cholesterol. Because seal oil comes strictly from seal blubber, it is much purer than fish oils which are obtained by grinding, cooking and pressing fish offal, or whole fish.
Seal oil can supply up to ten times more DPA than fish oils, and is is an excellent source of DHA.
Another Comment from based on lies
It's a funny feeling when you read someone say they wished you were dead for expressing a opinion. That was one of replies concerning my last comment on this discussion. The ironic part of this debate is that the obsession for violence seem to come mainly from the ones who complain about cruelty from others. Sealers do not not go onto the ice because is is fun. On the contrary it is a hard and dangerous way to make a living. For the fisherman in Newfoundland it is a matter of survival. With rapidly declining fish stocks and a lack of other industry these people are fighting for survival.
As for the cruelty of the hunt it is no more cruel then just about any other food related industry. When you buy your bacon do you worry about the fact that you paid for someone to hang a poor pig up in the air. Electrocute it until it is stunned but not killed and then has it's throat cut to drain the blood. That's how it gets that white color. When you paid for that chicken at the take out you indirectly paid for a poor animal to live it's entire life in a tiny metal cage in horrible conditions. How about that tuna you bought. Even when the tuna trawlers try to avoid them which is rarely dolphins still get scooped up with them and get to slowly die from suffocation while trapped.
The difference is that the baby seal is prettier then these other animals and people can create images intended to create a purely emotional response. I am not a cruel person. I don't hunt. I don't fish. The idea of killing a poor helpless animal horrifies me, but I eat the chicken, the tuna, and the pork. To me unless you are a vegetarian who refuses to wear any furs or leather to condemn the Newfoundland fisherman as cruel is the act of a hypocrite.
But what about the poor lobsters? (they're not cute)
This ridiculous article makes it sound like all Canadians take part in the seal hunt or at least support it, which obviously is not the case. As a matter of fact, many Canadians are opposed to the hunt. Farley Mowat, the author, not the ship, is one of them. So while you're at it, why don't you comment on the lobster, cod or salmon trade? These industries I'm sure are much more detrimental to the maritime environment than the seal hunt. But....oh ya....we love our lobster and fresh fish don't we? Oh but the little seals are so cute and cuddly! Me thinks Mr. Haines needs a good whack up side the head with a seal club!