Commentary by Paul Watson
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

It was like a tale from the Middle Ages or torn from the pages of Tolkien's Middle Earth.

A famous Knight of the Realm and his Lady drop by to visit the baby harp seals and all hell breaks loose.

In a televised jousting match with Danny Williams the emotionally out-of-control Premier of Newfoundland, the Knight and his Lady humiliated the wicked defender of baby killers and left him sputtering incoherently about how he could not get a word in because of her Ladyship calling him out for what he is - a politician, which anyone must admit was a deep and cutting insult.

But the fact remains that Newfoundlanders are proud of their barbaric history. A recent film defending the killing has been released in Newfoundland entitled My Ancestors were Rogues and Murderers. And they were, indeed.

The annual slaughter of baby harp seals is a national disgrace and the price Canada has had to shoulder since 1949, the year that Ottawa allowed Newfoundland to join the Dominion. That was the year Newfoundlanders won the collective lottery: Job opportunities across the nation, hefty Federal government subsidies, and a monthly baby bonus cheque just for having children. It was like Christmas came and stayed forever for Newfoundlanders.

In return, Canada seems to have received a rock full of club-toting, knuckle-dragging Neanderthals out in the Atlantic.

But Newfoundlanders don't see it that way. They think that Canada has been ungrateful for the gifts they have bestowed upon the rest of the nation. Canadians can't name much that Newfoundland has given them in return except that the worst gift of all is the association with that nasty bit of gruesome cruelty that they call the Seal Hunt.

No one else sees it as a hunt. Strolling through a nursery whacking helpless seal pups in the head with a club is hardly a hunt. More like a sadistic and gruesome slaughter or a messy massacre of innocents - but definitely not a hunt. A hunt means you have to actually look for the prey, stalk it, outwit and kill it. Not much of that going on with the seals - just lots of screaming seals, torrents of blood and corpses littered across the ice.

The visit by Sir Paul McCartney and Lady Heather Mills McCartney has opened up the raw cruel wound of Canada's national disgrace and once again revealed our shame to the world.

Danny Williams, who shoots from the hip without thinking made himself look ridiculous in his debate with the legendary Beatle and his wife. Williams demonstrated that he knew little about the seal slaughter and not much about the groups opposing the slaughter of the seals.

The World Wildlife Fund has responded to the accusation by Williams that the WWF supports the hunt. They do not and they have said so in a letter to the Premier's office.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has responded to the accusation by Williams that they support the hunt and are threatening to sue the Premier over his allegations that IFAW is under investigation for terrorism. They do not support the slaughter and they are not under investigation for terrorism.

The Premier named Greenpeace as an opponent of the Newfoundland seal slaughter despite the fact that Greenpeace has not opposed the killing of seals for two decades. Williams did not mention Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which also illustrates just how out of touch he is with what is actually going on.

Williams also mentioned PETA as a group actively opposing the slaughter and claimed PETA is a terrorist organization. They are not actively involved in the seal issue and they are not a terrorist organization.

He said that the sealers did not kill seals with clubs, a bold-faced lie as illustrated by recent video clips being aired showing seals being killed with clubs.

The Premier of Newfoundland spewed out one piece of disinformation after another even claiming that the screaming, writhing, convulsing, young seals were being killed "humanely." Williams brought his three kids into the picture saying that two of them loved animals which implied that the third could be out torturing kittens for all we know, getting ready to be a sealer perhaps.

The plain truth about this is that Danny Williams has never seen a seal being killed. In fact, he has never been on the ice to see a seal. Those of us who have spent years going to the ice to oppose the seal slaughter know the facts; the Premier of Newfoundland does not.

Finally, Danny Williams resorted to accusing the organizations opposing the slaughter of seals of doing it only for the money and implied that hundreds of millions of dollars are raised from the campaigns to oppose the sealers.

This is certainly not true for Sea Shepherd. We wish it was so that we could do even more for the seals to permanently end the "hunt," but alas, it is not.

If Canada and Newfoundland really believe that this is true, then I think they do something about it by ending the flow of contributions going to anti-sealing groups by simply ending the annual massacre of seals. There will be no need to raise money to oppose a seal slaughter if there are no seals being killed.

Meanwhile, in Prince Edward Island, Premier Pat Binn is under attack by the sealers for not defending Danny Williams by speaking out against Paul and Heather McCartney who were guests in his province.

Premier Binn was quick to realize that jumping into bed with Danny Williams was not in the best interest of his province. Why should Prince Edward Island agree to associate themselves with the humiliating performance of the Newfoundland Premier?

The Prime Minister of Canada and the Canadian Minister of Fisheries did not enter the fray. They tossed Danny Williams in instead. Better to have him on the hot seat than themselves. At least Prime Minister Stephen Harper has an out if he is forced to end the slaughter of seals as he eventually must in order to save the Canadian seafood industry from escalating losses.

All in all, it has been a great week for the movement to oppose the slaughter of baby seals. Thanks to Paul and Heather McCartney for making it so and thanks also to Premier Danny Williams for stepping in to fill the shoes of the recently retired John "kill 'em all" Efford.

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