Seal Clubbing

iBrian

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Well, if they want to make a point of supplying a trendy new fur trade - then let them be plain about it.

But claiming that seals are threatening commercial fish stocks - which have been severely depleted by human over-fishing and mis-management - is a nasty little lie I hope no one is planning on buying.

Canada set for mass seal hunting

The largest single seal hunt in half a century begins in Canada on Monday.The government is allowing more than 300,000 seals to be killed this year, many of them in a 36-hour mass cull.

The hunting of young seals for their fur almost stopped off Canada's east coast 25 years ago in the face of international outrage.

Animal rights groups are hoping to sway international opinion against the hunt, but Canadian officials say it is now both humane and necessary.

The seal hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador withered 25 years ago as brutal images of men clubbing infant seals horrified the world.

The US banned imports of seal products in 1972 and the EU followed suit a decade later with a ban on white pelt imports, taken from the youngest babies. As a result, the Canadian government reduced quotas for seal hunting to as low as 15,000 annually - mainly for meat and local handicraft.

But with fur again in fashion the hunt is back.

Last year Canada increased the quotas again, allowing a million seals to be killed over the next three years.



More: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/3618901.stm
 
I said:
Well, if they want to make a point of supplying a trendy new fur trade - then let them be plain about it.

But claiming that seals are threatening commercial fish stocks - which have been severely depleted by human over-fishing and mis-management - is a nasty little lie I hope no one is planning on buying.

It's both really. And while the point of human over-fishing and mis-management is well taken, the fact is seals do eat fish, do compete with human consumption, and with stocks as low as they are, could threaten recovery of the fish stocks.

But all that given it's still a lot of politics as well. So I'm not going to defend government rhetoric on this.


Animal rights groups are hoping to sway international opinion against the hunt, but Canadian officials say it is now both humane and necessary.

This is the real question. Is the hunt now both humane and necessary.

We should note that the Canadian government has long since banned taking "white coat" pups--infant seals still nursing.

If one is a die-hard animal rights advocate who believes no animal should be killed for any human need or want ever, nothing will justify the hunt.

But if one is prepared to accept that there is nothing essentially immoral in humans killing other species to supply their own needs, then it comes down to the question of justifying it on the basis of necessity.

And the question of using humane methods to kill.


People may not need fur coats; but people in Newfoundland, one of Canada's poorest provinces, hard hit by the closing of the fishery, do need an income. Supplying fur supplies an income to people in need. Seal meat also supplies food for many Newfoundland families.

Is that sufficient justification? For many Newfoundlanders it certainly is.

Method of killing: we don't like to see animals clubbed to death. If we could herd the seals into abattoirs and stun them with electric-shock out of sight of the cameras, few would be upset. But actually seeing blood on the snow turns our stomach.

But what other choices are there? Bullets have been tried and they don't kill any more humanely than the clubs. Knives or arrows are much less likely to kill quickly and efficiently. Traps would be even less humane. All sorts of alternatives have been studied, but the conclusion has been that clubs are the most humane killing tool in this situation.



I have respect for someone who believes all animal killing is needless and should be stopped.

But, if under any circumstance, taking animal life to meet human needs is justifiable, then a humane method of killing is also justified. In the seal hunt, however distasteful it may look, clubbing is as humane as it gets.

I remember the 1980s hullabaloo and those pictures of a tearful Brigitte Bardot with adorable white coat pups. Some Canadian environmental groups began to protest the hunt. But they were brought up short by both Newfoundlanders and Native people whose livelihood was going down the drain with the shrinking of the fur market. Consultation with these groups, investigation of the facts (the seals for example are far from being an endangered species as was implied at the time) led to a more careful approach. Advocacy regarding this and other hunts was cut back to focusing on conservation of stocks, protection of habitat and outlawing inhumane techniques such as leg-hold traps, not on opposing hunting as a livelihood altogether.

So I am not prepared to denounce the hunt or the clubbing. But I am aware of the ease with which we blame our non-human competitors for for our own short-sighted destruction of natural resources. There is definitely a large measure of irony and hypocrisy in the government's position.
 
The issue of animal culling I see as tangential to the argument here - essentially, the Canadian govt wants to cash in on fur but dress it up as a jobs and livelihoods issue.

The simple fact is that overfishing by humans is destroying the world's commercial fish stocks - this is precisely what happened to the Newfoundland cod stocks, isn't it?

I have a real beef against the fisherman mentality that says that they should preserve the short-term interests of themselves destroying the ocean's biodiversity - even if it seriously damages their long-term future. Yet the commercial fisherman as a general Western body don't seem willing to face this.

I'm near the North Sea in the UK - we have the same problem with crashing cod stocks and yet commercial fishermen whining about quotas.

I live in an ex-whaling town, my family comes from the industrial regions of Yorkshire, and worked with coal and steel. All of those industries are either gone of massively reduced - the local populations have been forced to turn to other industries.

I remain astonished that commercial fisherman insist that they will be exempt from change, and instead rush as fast as they possibly can against the inevitable destruction of their industry - and ensure they destroy as much as they can of the oceanic ecosystems they trawl in the process.

Just my 2c. :)

Btw - just because we have different perceptions of the issue doesn't mean it can't be discussed. I'm happy to engage in spirited issues at the moment. :)
 
I said:
The issue of animal culling I see as tangential to the argument here - essentially, the Canadian govt wants to cash in on fur but dress it up as a jobs and livelihoods issue.

The simple fact is that overfishing by humans is destroying the world's commercial fish stocks - this is precisely what happened to the Newfoundland cod stocks, isn't it?

I have a real beef against the fisherman mentality that says that they should preserve the short-term interests of themselves destroying the ocean's biodiversity - even if it seriously damages their long-term future. Yet the commercial fisherman as a general Western body don't seem willing to face this.

I'm near the North Sea in the UK - we have the same problem with crashing cod stocks and yet commercial fishermen whining about quotas.

I live in an ex-whaling town, my family comes from the industrial regions of Yorkshire, and worked with coal and steel. All of those industries are either gone of massively reduced - the local populations have been forced to turn to other industries.

I remain astonished that commercial fisherman insist that they will be exempt from change, and instead rush as fast as they possibly can against the inevitable destruction of their industry - and ensure they destroy as much as they can of the oceanic ecosystems they trawl in the process.

Just my 2c. :)

Btw - just because we have different perceptions of the issue doesn't mean it can't be discussed. I'm happy to engage in spirited issues at the moment. :)


Yes, if you are not taking the position that one cannot hunt at all, or the rather silly position that clubbing a seal is somehow more inhumane than some other form of killing, then we are essentially in agreement.

I think you have defined the "fisherman mentality" well. But I would only say that the "fisherman mentality" is widespread in other businesses as well. Loggers have the same attitudes about forests and miners the same attitudes about mines. And let's not begin on the factory farm attitude to animals. Far worse than the seal hunt folks.
 
clubbing

gluadys said:
It's both really. And while the point of human over-fishing and mis-management is well taken, the fact is seals do eat fish, do compete with human consumption, and with stocks as low as they are, could threaten recovery of the fish stocks.

But all that given it's still a lot of politics as well. So I'm not going to defend government rhetoric on this.




This is the real question. Is the hunt now both humane and necessary.

We should note that the Canadian government has long since banned taking "white coat" pups--infant seals still nursing.

If one is a die-hard animal rights advocate who believes no animal should be killed for any human need or want ever, nothing will justify the hunt.

But if one is prepared to accept that there is nothing essentially immoral in humans killing other species to supply their own needs, then it comes down to the question of justifying it on the basis of necessity.

And the question of using humane methods to kill.


People may not need fur coats; but people in Newfoundland, one of Canada's poorest provinces, hard hit by the closing of the fishery, do need an income. Supplying fur supplies an income to people in need. Seal meat also supplies food for many Newfoundland families.

Is that sufficient justification? For many Newfoundlanders it certainly is.

Method of killing: we don't like to see animals clubbed to death. If we could herd the seals into abattoirs and stun them with electric-shock out of sight of the cameras, few would be upset. But actually seeing blood on the snow turns our stomach.

But what other choices are there? Bullets have been tried and they don't kill any more humanely than the clubs. Knives or arrows are much less likely to kill quickly and efficiently. Traps would be even less humane. All sorts of alternatives have been studied, but the conclusion has been that clubs are the most humane killing tool in this situation.



I have respect for someone who believes all animal killing is needless and should be stopped.

But, if under any circumstance, taking animal life to meet human needs is justifiable, then a humane method of killing is also justified. In the seal hunt, however distasteful it may look, clubbing is as humane as it gets.

I remember the 1980s hullabaloo and those pictures of a tearful Brigitte Bardot with adorable white coat pups. Some Canadian environmental groups began to protest the hunt. But they were brought up short by both Newfoundlanders and Native people whose livelihood was going down the drain with the shrinking of the fur market. Consultation with these groups, investigation of the facts (the seals for example are far from being an endangered species as was implied at the time) led to a more careful approach. Advocacy regarding this and other hunts was cut back to focusing on conservation of stocks, protection of habitat and outlawing inhumane techniques such as leg-hold traps, not on opposing hunting as a livelihood altogether.

So I am not prepared to denounce the hunt or the clubbing. But I am aware of the ease with which we blame our non-human competitors for for our own short-sighted destruction of natural resources. There is definitely a large measure of irony and hypocrisy in the government's position.

From Louis...

I happen to see some measure "hypocrisy" in many
areas, such as referring to clubbing as "humane" .
Seals are clubbed to death because that DOES NO
DAMAGE TO THE PELT. A bullet or spiked weapon
might make the pelt less valuable.
And the animals greatest value is to the FASHION
trade - so some rich female can have a fancy coat .
There's not much market for seal meat, and nobody
has proven the decline in fish stocks is the fault of
seals - it's the Government's fault for allowing
overfishing and failing to stop foreign vessels.
 
louis said:
From Louis...

I happen to see some measure "hypocrisy" in many
areas, such as referring to clubbing as "humane" .
Seals are clubbed to death because that DOES NO
DAMAGE TO THE PELT. A bullet or spiked weapon
might make the pelt less valuable.


True, but these killing methods are no more humane either.


And the animals greatest value is to the FASHION
trade - so some rich female can have a fancy coat .
There's not much market for seal meat, and nobody
has proven the decline in fish stocks is the fault of
seals - it's the Government's fault for allowing
overfishing and failing to stop foreign vessels.

Agreed.
 
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