Date: March 01, 2007
Author: Jim Winter
Origin: March 2007 Fishing News International

Harp seal populations have doubled in size and harvesting is humane, argues Jim Winter

IT'S NOW four decades since animal rights groups started their anti-sealing campaigns in Canada that have raised for them hundreds of million of dollars.

During this time Canadian sealers have taken their yearly quotas while more than doubling the population of the harp seal herd to over five million animals.

So is sealing a conservation issue? Obviously no. Harp seals are not and never have been on any respected international list of either endangered or threatened species.

During the same time the vast majority of studies - other than those sponsored by animal rights groups - have determined that both the hakapick and the rifle are humane killing tools.

The killing - while not pretty - is simply an outdoor abattoir and it is as efficient and as humane as any abattoir in the western world. So, is sealing a humane killing issue? No.

Also over the same period, many species of seals and other marine mammals have multiplied dramatically in countries where there is no hunting.

Their increased numbers are now impacting seriously on both fishermen and beach-going families. Yet, when anyone proposes a cull or hunt - as UK and US fishermen have done, along with families on the US west coast - there is an outcry from the animal rights movement.

This is followed by ill-informed and outrageous stories in the mainstream press by journalists who accept the word of animal rights proponents rather than checking the facts.

The animal rights movement is an urban-based phenomenon whose ultimate goal is the ending of man's use of animals. They are seeking to do this by targeting rural people who need to kill to provide food and clothing for society and income to feed their families.

Seals are merely a means towards achieving a larger goal. It's seals today. But what about tomorrow: will it be sheep, lambs, cows, calves, fish, pigs, crab and/or prawns?

The animal rights movement has hijacked or co-opted the phrases 'animal welfare' and 'animal conservation.' The same is true of the mainstream media, whose non-critical, non-analytical, knee-jerk coverage has turned them into little more than the movement's PR arm.

This has enabled the movement to disguise its goals because they know that most reasonable people will accept these two concepts, while only about 4% of western society accepts the philosophy of animal rights.

This is the cultural imposition of the views of the few on the lives of the many. And it is working.

Canadian sealers are rural people earning a living from the sea: there is only one seal hunt in Canada carried out by Inuit, Innu and Caucasian for the same reasons in the same way.

Like all rural peoples - whether fishermen or farmers - they do not have salaries. They sustain themselves through a series of work activities.
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