“BERTHED SWILER” is unique. It was recorded live on the sealing vessel Arctic Explorer and is a combination of
the feelings and reactions of a neophyte sealer mixed with the memories of veteran sealers, as well as comments
from DFO fisheries officers monitoring the hunt.
“BERTHED SWILER” personalizes the sealing experience for those who have never been there and presents the people
who seal in the context of their lives as Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans and what sealing means to them and
their families in their struggle to live in a difficult rural environment. The feelings of the people in the
documentary are the same as those of sealers in Quebec and Nunavut.
Despite the fact that in this post “Malouf” era there is no “whitecoat” or “big boat” hunt the actions described
and feelings spoken are exactly the same as those of “longliner” and “speed boat” sealers today as they hunt
“raggedy jackets” and older seals in Newfoundland & Labrador as well as Quebec and Nunavut.
“BERTHED SWILER” is an ACTRA award-winning documentary. It is in the permanent collections of the National
Archives of Canada and the Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Department of Education of the Government
of Newfoundland and Labrador has placed copies of “BERTHED SWILER” in the curriculum of the Province’s schools.
For decades the animal rights groups have had the emotional side of the battle. “BERTHED SWILER” can help shift
In terms of Parliamentarians: we do not have to convince all of them that the Canadian Seal Hunt is a prime
example of the appropriate, sustainable use of a natural resource (the ultimate Green activity), we only have
to convince (or cause them to be reluctant to be used by the animal rights movement) enough of them to de-rail
the attempts of the animal rights groups to get legislation passed in their Parliaments.
In terms of the media: After decades of chasing the one side of the story many journalists are open to looking
into the issue in a more profound manner but they have difficulty doing so. However, give them human-interest
stories (little guys vs. big groups - rural life and the role of sealing – sealing families), insights into the
orkings of the animal rights movement ( ego driven – hundreds of millions of dollars – abolitionists not
conservationists – factoids not facts – media manipulation), which is something non-governmental people can do,
and the media will be inclined to follow-up: the Pulitzer Prize is not in yet another bloody seals on the ice
story but is in the exposure of the animal rights groups for what they are.
JIM WINTER is the founding president of the Canadian Sealers Association (CSA) and has years of experience
dealing with media, governments and the animal rights groups on the “sealing issue”. He has done major
television and radio shows in the USA, the UK and the EU (bilingual – English/French), as well as symposiums
and speaking engagements in the same locales. He has maintained an extensive network within the sealing
industry and allied groups, as well as the media.
The Following are scanned images of the booklet which accompanies the CD:
Front Cover and Credits
It is interesting to point out, Mr. Winter received large amounts of hate mail concerning the image on the back
cover. Many unknowledgeable urbanites from abroad thought the red spot on the seal pups belly was a gun shot wound
when, in fact, it is the reminants of the umbilical cord.