I was watching this on Larry King. Apparently there is some government sanctioned "Seal Hunt" that is going to take place in three weeks, and Paul and his new wife Heather are fighting against it. Apparently the meat isn't eaten and they only sell the skin for fashion.
I think seals are beautiful animals (in fact my black lab looks like a seal if you pull his ears back). I'd be willing (if I had the money) to subsidize these "fishermen" (they shoot or club the seals to death) with eco-tourism to see the seals.
Do any of our Canadian friends have any info that would justify Canada's "War on Seals"? (They also use the seals for oil somehow) So, I guess it could be a "War on Seals for Oil".
Of course, I grew up with Warcraft, where if you click the seals that were map critters multiple times in rapid succession, they would explode with a massive flame explosion and splatter blood all around them. It was great fun.
quote:NO DEATH FOR OIL!
How about death for entertainment? I mean, it's not like they have souls.
Posts: 1272 | Registered: Oct 2003
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I dare you to look in my labs (Max) big brown eyes and tell me he doesn't have a soul.
Of course I don't see one when I look in the mirror. But my eyes are blue so maybe that's it?
I hope the seal industry goes the way of the buggy whip industry and I am against subsidizing it. Hopefully there will be enough of an outcry to vote to cut funding.
This does offer an opportunity to bring up a broader issue of environmentalism.
My own opinion is we should approach the environment from the standpoint of stewardship. Unless we live on the moon, mankind is going to have an effect on this environment. Our job as good stewards is to manage the land and its resources in a way that we maintain a healthy diverse ecosystem and be as least disruptive as practical. This is not to say we maintain a completely hands off approach or try to enforce an unchanging stasis on the land. This is impossible to do. Nature is change. Environments are complex systems and are constantly evolving. Unfortunately, we still try to manage these systems with limited understanding and very blunt instruments but we are making progress. Let me give you an example of the good and the bad.
In Connecticut, the combination of urban sprawl and strong anti-hunting sentiment has lead to an explosion of the deer population. There are no natural predators other than the ones made in Detroit and as a result; the herd has become weaker, the population has outpaced food production and in the winter the deer starve. The deer also have brought with them and infestation of the ticks responsible for lime disease. This is very bad for the deer and the people in the area.
Is it more humane to protect the deer from hunters only to let them starve?
We have displaced the predators that kept the deer population in check. It is now our responsibility as good stewards to assume the predator's role in managing the deer population.
In Montana we are implementing low impact logging. The logging companies now have machinery that harvest mature growth and do a lot of the processing right there on site. These machines are amazing to watch. These things grab the trees, cut them to length, limb them and stack them all without tearing the hell out of the ground and surrounding foliage. There is another machine that strips the bark and mulches the limbs and returns this "waste" to the site so that the soil is not depleted and there is less fuel for forest fires. Companies are also responsible for the removal of all logging roads when the harvesting is complete and for replanting. A survey team collects seeds and saplings from the area to be harvested and replant the area with the offspring from the original harvested trees. This ensures the saplings are adapted to their environment ensuring a higher re-growth rate. Smart. This is a vast improvement compaired to the old style strip logging of the past. There are areas here that have not grown back after being logged a hundred years ago. Mountains bare of trees all the way up to the ridgeline. This new way is much better.
What I am trying to say is mankind is not always like a plague of locust. When we practice responsible stewardship we get to make use of the land without destroying it and the creatures in it.
It's not like I can, or would want to, speak for all Canadians, but I'm a Canadian and would love to comment on this topic.
The seal hunt is government sanctioned, and from all of the unedited footage that I've seen (including footage that is pro-hunt and anti-hunt, and some just shot by spectators), is an animal rights disaster. I think I could stomache the hunt if it were helpful to preserve human lives or was done in a semi-humane way at minimum, but seriously, they simply take a jagged-edged club (often with a dull metal hook on the end) and bash the heads of baby seals as their parents run for their lives. The worst part is that they don't kill each seal. They simply want to incapacitate it while they disable other seals. The hook is used to drag the live, but critically injuured seals to the boats.
Canadian activists and regular citizens have been trying to stop this for over twenty years, but recently are finding that the law is designated to protect the hunters.
Posts: 13 | Registered: Mar 2006
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Now I must admit to a jaded view of the establishment line here. It sounds to me that without government subsidy the seal cull would hardly take place at all. The reason for the subsidy would seem to be the claim that seals are depleting fish stocks when the real story is that human over-fishing has killed vast fishery areas off the Newfoundland coast dead. Government and fishery industries expected stocks to recover quickly but they've remained at pitiful levels.
So IMHO we have a broken fishing industry operating in terms of jobs, income and taxes well below it's glory days but still pressuring government to spend other people's taxes on a dubious culling exercise that is not going to wave a magic wand over coastal towns and not going to bring back the huge fish stocks that once were.
Sometimes the hardest thing is to let go of old patterns and stop...
quote:Way up north where it is cold You know they ain't got much gold They all make their living from the seal skins they've sold. Me I like the killing, because it's so fulfilling And I hate to see a baby seal grow old.
You don't bludgeon a seal 'cause you want a meal You do it cause you want to hear those little suckers squeal. You hit 'em on the head, and you do it just for kicks And you poke out their eyes with your eye-pokin' sticks. (Two - Three - Four)
My daddy was a little mean, my mama was a bit obscene, Maybe that's the reason for the way that I feel. You might not believe me, but my woman wants to leave me So I guess I'll take it out on a baby seal.
The Liberals want to lock me up because I kill the seal pups And tie their fur up into little bales. I know that it won't be long 'til all the baby seals are gone So I guess I'll just start wiping out the whales.
Slice 'em, dice 'em, roto-till 'em, chop 'em up or just plain kill 'em, Their fur comes off with just one easy peel (RIP, RIP, RIP) People, people don't you cry cause I know that when I die I'll be coming back as a baby seal....
I'm indifferent to the seal hunt. At the end of the day, it is a legal activity that allows a few rural folks in a down and out part of the country to make some additional money doing something (anything...better than just sitting and collecting social assistance) by harvesting a sustainable resource.
From an environmental perspective, there's lots of seals, and insufficient natural predation (we managed to kill off most of the Orcas on the east coast in an earlier, less enlightened era).
From an ethical percpective, there are troubles to be sure, but, since I like my steak and chicken, and I have hunted and fished, I can't really deny these guys their opportunity to go secure some Flipper Pie (a Newfie delicacy).
The subsidy angle is worth debating. As far as I know, most if not all subsidies are indirect (e.g. regulatory enforcement, search and rescue). Lots of industries have those, and it is not clear that most of those costs could be saved if you terminated the hunt.
If Sir Paul would really like to make a difference, he and some of his friends should start an endowment that would pay Newfoundland fisherman not to go a'sealing. Make it 25% more that they'd make on the ice (don't forget to include the value of meat the sealers provide to their families). It wouldnt be a terrible amount of money. As a starting point, $500 000 000 should do it. Invest it, and distribute the income.
It would sure be better than shrill pronouncements and cheesy photo ops on the ice.
This is interesting - I googled on 'seal cull subsidy' and the second result was the dfo-mpo-gc.ca site. In the google cached version there are 14 myths, here's the one on subsidy;
"Myth #11: The Canadian government provides subsidies for the seal hunt.
Reality: The Government of Canada does not subsidize the seal hunt. Sealing is an economically viable industry. All subsidies ceased in 2001. Even before that time, any subsidies provided were for market and product development, including a meat subsidy, to encourage full use of the seal. In fact, government has provided fewer subsidies to the sealing industry than recommended by the Royal Commission on Sealing."
But in the current version of that page there are only 9 myths busted and the one on subsidy has disappeared. Does this mean their rebuttal was in some way false and subsidy is present and non-trivial?
Posts: 743 | Registered: Sep 2005
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Looks like the problem is there isn't any data showing the Canadian government is subsidizing the practice after 2001. I'm still looking, but all online data points to periods up to, but not after, 2001.
Posts: 8614 | Registered: Sep 2003
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