My initial E-mail to Ms. Southey,
Ms. Southey,

My roots are also South African but alas this would seem to be the only thing we have in common. One thing my South African father taught me was to keep my mouth shut unless I knew what I was talking about, a lesson your South African lineage seems to have failed to teach you. To add to the debacle you display your complete incompetence and ignorance of the sealing issue in a public forum.

The Canadian seal hunt not only exists because of an industry but also because there is a real need to manage harp seal populations. Wildlife management extends to a great number of species around the world with the Canadian seal hunt being the most regulated, monitored and scientifically scrutinized of all. Presently, there is talk of a grey seal cull off of Nova Scotia. The initial estimates from last year's harp seal population survey put their population at over 7 million. The estimate till now was 5.5 million. At the 5.5 million mark it was recognized that harp seals were over-populated or at least very close considering their available food source. Considering all these points, what do you think is going to happen if the commercial hunt of harp seals ceases to exist? There will in all likelihood be a cull and nothing of the animal will be used. I don't know about you but I would rather see what exists today where by body weight 60% of the animal is used

You claim government subsidy? What exactly do you mean by this? If you are referring to anything to do with the Coast Guard or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans please remember that they are there in response to the outcry of animal rights groups for increased monitoring of the hunt and not at the bequest of sealers or industry. If you are referring to Canadian politicians traveling abroad to counter propaganda and lies spread by animal rights groups I would have to ask, are you for real? If you are worried about the amount of money managing seal populations will cost the Canadian taxpayer then you should be fearful of a cull which usually entails the government paying hunters a bounty on each seal, 100% taxpayer funded.

Like many you fail to see the big picture here and only view the issue in the present when considering the income to be garnered from the activity, "hardly an earner" as you put it. There is no reason other than the dissemination of animal rights propaganda that has decreased the value of the Canadian seal hunt. The sealing industry could very well be a bread winner for many people living in small communities all along the east coast of this country. In fact, up until the last season sealing was still an intrinsic part of many fisher-people's income and unless it makes a recovery we will see the real negative effects this will bring. Also, I find it highly annoying that people such as you can talk so definitively about the income of others. I would like to see how you would feel if I said, "no big deal, Tabatha Southey is only going to lose 25% of her salary."

The groups fighting the seal hunt do not have any science to back their perspective. Even though they make the most money from the seal hunt they don't use any of it for research. For some reason you seem to have ignored this fact and the fact that the Canadian Government has been monitoring this hunt and studying harp seals for over 60 years. All independent peer-reviewed research has been favourable to the pro side of the sealing issue so how, in your infinite wisdom, can you ignore these facts?

What is the basis for your conclusion that we, as Canadians, are perceived in a certain way based on the Canadian seal hunt? Are you privy to some statistical data that I am not? Do you base this on a couple of news stories? Or is this just some fantastical assumption you are making based on your own personal beliefs? Let me ask you this, if world opinion is so slanted in favour of ending the Canadian seal hunt then why did only 75,000 people respond to an Online sealing survey done by the EU which was open to the world? Keep in mind that not all 75,000 were anti sealing, not even close. Not a reigning endorsement for the hypothesis you proclaim in your article.

What I find enormously sad and just a little pathetic is your attitude as a landed immigrant to this country. The real focus of your angst should be pointed not at your adopted country or should I say the country that was willing to adopt you but rather the foreign special interest groups who use propaganda and outright lies to paint this country and the people therein in a negative light. If you have a problem with Canadian politicians supporting Canadians in contradiction to US based animal rights groups than maybe you should pack your bags and leave, bon voyage! If you are willing to learn more about the facts relating to this issue don't hesitate to contact me as I will give you all the time necessary to answer any and all questions you may have. Until then or until you make an effort to understand and educate yourself in regards to the issue I would suggest you take my father's scholarly advice and "keep your mouth shut".

Best regards,
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