Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
The Western Star newspaper of Newfoundland went off on a rant about me this week and I have to say I was mightily impressed.
It's always good to have one's work recognized and Ed Smith made my day when he wrote:
"Let's make no mistake about it, and let's not for one moment, one nano-second, forget that the Paul Watsons of this world are killing the seal hunt. There's a strong suspicion in my mind that the federal government are not at all averse to letting them do it. The hunt is a very large pain in the butt to our federal government and they'd just as soon be rid of it."
Ed is right. I've spent over three decades fighting the annual obscenity that Canada calls the seal hunt and we will never surrender until we abolish the slaughter. I very much appreciate the recognition, especially from a Newfoundland newspaper.
Of course, the article vents, rants, and raves about what a horrible person I am and that's good also. It means we are getting under their skin and irritating the hell out of them.
We've seen some good news these last two weeks. A sealing ship burned and sunk in Newfoundland and over one hundred sealing boats locked into ice jams off the coast with many of them badly damaged and some destroyed. Thirty boats continue to be trapped in the ice and it is estimated that 25 boats in total have been lost to the ice. And most importantly, the kill is about 60,000 under the set quota of 275,000 seal pups.
All good news in my book.
But check out this article for a laugh. It gives a glimpse at just how frustrated the Newfoundland sealers and their supporters are these days.
I have inserted my comments in bold:
St. Paul Had a Word for Them
The Western Star
I suppose Paul Watson is laughing his fool head off.
Captain Watson: Oh yes I am.
I know what you're thinking. We've been over this ground before, Smith, so give it a rest. The likes of Paul Watson doesn't bear thinking about anymore, let alone get upset about.
Captain Watson: They have been saying this for three decades yet they still keep whining and writing about me. And I don't think there is any doubt that I upset them. Like Ed here. He seems a trifle upset. But Ed is a little smarter than your average seal-killing Newfoundlander. He actually recognizes that we are making progress in our efforts to abolish sealing.
I beg to differ. Those who oppose the hunt are still at it and they're still having their effect, perhaps more than ever before. Consider the pressure on EU states to boycott Canadian fish products, and there's more. This is largely due to people like Paul Watson who make a career and a fortune on other peoples' backs, whatever the cost to them.
Captain Watson: Great endorsement, Ed. I love that. Thank-you. Ed is admitting that the economic pressure is having an impact. Now I really wish the 2nd part was true. So far, I've not seen much sign of the fortune that I have supposedly been making. The myth in Newfoundland is that anyone who opposes killing seals is reaping in tons of money from the campaign to oppose sealing. I wish. We could use more money to operate our vessels to protect fish, seals, seabirds, turtles, and whales. But my suggestion to the sealers is that if there is so much money being made from saving seals and so little being made from killing them, would it not be wiser to switch jobs and to start saving seals rather than to kill them? Go where ye think the money is b'yes and stop wasting your time on a lowlife, low-paying, low self esteem, barbaric, and ignorant life style.
Mr. Watson seems to get a kick out of distress, other people's distress, that is. We've all seen examples aplenty of that. Where there isn't enough distress for his liking, he'll make heroic efforts to cause more.
Captain Watson: Ed, I do indeed get a kick out of seeing seal killers in distress. I take great pleasure and joy in seeing them trapped in the ice and unable to reach their innocent victims. Yes I do, I most surely do. I would rather get my kicks watching sealers sitting idle on the ice than to watch them kicking seals in the head and skinning them alive. And before you go on about how humane the bloody hunt is, stow it, because I've seen it, for thirty years I've seen the grossest and most despicable cruelty imaginable out there on those hellish ice floes. I have zero sympathy for the sealers and total sympathy for their victims.
Lots of distressing things happening in this terrible old world. Apart from the unspeakable tragedy at Virginia Tech last week, men, women and children, civilians and soldiers are being slaughtered and raped wholesale in almost every part of this world. Lots of places for Brother Watson to find injustice and barbarism in man's inhumanity to man.
Captain Watson: Translation is that I have no right to oppose cruelty and slaughter to seals because some wacko shoots some students in Virginia. Let me see, I've taken aid supplies on my ships to Africa and to South America which is probably more than Ed Smith has done to aid humans in need. Whatever you do in this world, some moronic critic will ask you why you're not doing something else. Ed, you have a job and that is to write silly editorials for relatively minor publications. That is what you do and all power to you. What I do is protect and defend marine wildlife and habitats which is a far more positive contribution to the world than some under-educated thug bashing in the heads of baby seals.
The great Stephen Lewis finds it in the AIDS epidemic in Africa, as do so many others. We have a good friend who probably weighs 90 pounds on a wet day who by herself is operating a Christian mission school in Haiti where her life is threatened almost daily.
Captain Watson: All power to Stephen Lewis and his efforts to fight AIDS in Africa or to people helping people around the world. But why is that the reason for me or anyone else to tolerate cruelty and slaughter to innocent creatures to provide a vain luxury product for insensitive hominid slobs? Ed, perhaps man's inhumanity to man might begin with a firm foundation of kindness by eliminating man's inhumanity to animals.
Canadian soldiers find injustice and suffering in Afghanistan halfway around the world, and are fighting and dying for the rights of people there. It's when I think of people like the two soldiers being buried last week, and our friend Karen, that even the thought of people like Paul Watson turns my stomach.
Captain Watson: Canadian soldiers have no business in Afghanistan where they are occupiers fighting and dying for the oil companies and opium growers. I would rather fight to protect the rights of seals and whales than the "rights" of petro-corporations. Believe the lie about fighting for human rights in Afghanistan if you wish Ed, but why are these soldiers not fighting for human rights in Darfur, Zimbabwe, China, or a hundred other places more deserving of attention than Afghanistan? Human rights! Rights for the humans if the price is right more like it.
Watson isn't fighting for the rights of the people in Afghanistan, or the poor and ignorant in Haiti, or the AIDS-orphaned children in Africa. These are distresses he chooses to ignore. Watson is fighting Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and their right to hunt the seal in the spring as our forefathers have done for five centuries.
Captain Watson: Well, Ed ignores the fact that I did bring aid supplies to Africa and to South America and I did human rights work in Cambodia in the past. But I am from the Maritimes and I find it shameful that my people are engaged in wholesale cruelty and slaughter not to mention devastating overfishing and environmental destruction. I have an obligation to address these issues in my own country and region. No Ed, I'm not fighting for the rights of people in Afghanistan. Other people are, or at least pretending to be. I'm fighting for the survival of aquatic species and I'm fighting for the rights of these species to be allowed to live harmoniously on this planet without some deranged ape sticking a harpoon in their back or bashing in their newborn brains.
So we're compelled to wonder why he's chosen this particular battlefield. Is it because he himself is distressed by the "cruelty" to seal pups? If he takes one little moment to look around this world and see all the cruelty little children have to suffer, do you think he'd ignore them in favour of seals? Could any sane, compassionate human being on the face of this earth make that kind of decision?
Captain Watson: I first began to oppose the slaughter of seals as a child living in New Brunswick, Ed. I witnessed it and it angered me. Why? Because through the eyes of a child, I saw it as horrifically cruel and, yes, I was distressed and the slaughter distresses me still, Ed. I don't inflict cruelty to children, Ed, in fact, I express empathy for their compassion in wishing to protect and defend animals including the seals. When I was a child, adults told me I was silly to be concerned about the feeling of animals, Ed. I consider that child abuse. I don't abuse children by telling them that their feelings and concerns are silly or trivial. I empower them and I show them that there are some adults who agree with them, and most importantly, will act to address those legitimate concerns. You see, Ed, I protect seals, whales, sea turtles, etc, for children today and children unborn. I happen to think that it is a sane compassionate position and there are thousands of children around the world who write to me and thank me for fighting for what they believe in.
No, but Paul Watson could.
Captain Paul Watson: Absolutely, Ed.
Perhaps he's worried about the possible extinction of the harp seal from the face of the earth. That must be it. All those scientists and professionals who have estimated that there are at least 10 seals for every man woman and child who breathe the sacred air of this demi-paradise are out to lunch. Wrong. In total error. Don't know what they're talking about.
Captain Watson: You mean the same biostitutes, Ed, that claimed the cod was not threatened by overfishing up until the very day the cod fishery collapsed? Do you mean the same "scientists" who claimed the pilot whale population of Newfoundland was healthy until they disappeared? Yes, I believe the harp seal is endangered. Endangered by hunting, by overfishing, and by global warming. There were once a billion passenger pigeons and now not a single one. Yes, Ed, they are wrong and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans is the most incompetent, mismanaged bureaucracy of the Canadian government. The "experts" who advise on resources are simply whores who are paid to supply scientific rationale for political decisions.
Could any sane, rational human being with a Grade 1 understanding of mathematics come to that conclusion? Could anyone at all with any amount of reasoning power left in his poor demented mind determine that a couple hundred thousand animals culled from this great herd will mean it's imminent destruction.
No, but Paul Watson could.
Captain Watson: Gee, Ed, My background in mathematics does include calculus, geometry, algebra, and practical navigation but there is no mathematical calculation that can account for the human greed and ignorance factor. The seals are in trouble just like the cod were/are in trouble and you can call it demented as loudly and as hysterically as you wish but the evidence of extinctions in Newfoundland at the hands of greedy industry is evident with the extermination of the Labrador duck, Newfoundland wolf, giant auk, the sea mink, and the extirpation of the polar bear and walrus. Not to mention the genocide of the Beothuk peoples. Now these consequences were the product of demented minds, thank-you very much.
A fishing vessel, the means of livelihood to several people, burns to the water and Watson, on the assumption that someone may have set fire to the boat, gleefully calls that someone a hero. Could anyone with any sense of justice and fair play characterize an arsonist as a hero who would destroy the means by which several families made a living?
No, but Paul Watson could.
Captain Watson: What you see as a means of livelihood I see as an implement of marine destruction, Ed. I rejoice with every fishing boat, whaler, or sealing boat sunk and lost. I rooted for the storm in the movie The Perfect Storm. The greed of those longliners in wiping out the swordfish was the same greed that destroyed them. I know fishermen, Ed. I was raised in a Maritime lobster town. Don't give me this noble fisherman crap. I've seen them shoot anything that moves on the water just for the fun of it. I've seen them throw garbage over the side and pump waste oil into the sea. I've seen the dark, seedy, ruthless, insensitive sides of the fishing industry and I hold it in the deepest contempt. We would never allow the rapacious stripping of life from the land that we allow in the oceans. The fishing industry is an ecologically destructive and immoral enterprise and those engaged in it are criminals who will be despised by the future generations they are presently robbing.
So now we have upwards of a hundred vessels and 500 people at the mercy of the pack ice. Hopefully they'll be free by the time you read this but the damage will have been done by then. Could any person, realizing the courage of these hunters who know what they're up against the moment they leave harbour, see them as anything but totally heroic figures?
No, but Paul Watson can.
Captain Watson: Isn't it wonderful, Ed. It made my day, my week, my month. Especially, seeing them pathetically begging for smokes to feed their addiction. Loved it, Ed, loved every minute of it. Heroic figures! Give me a break. They are dirty baby seal bashing thugs. To call a seal killer a hero is to cast a stench over the name and to sully it with associations that are so sinisterly vile that it is sickening to even contemplate. Heroes, hardly Ed, only in the most warped of minds can such barbarous sadistic creeps like these sealers be considered heroes.
Strange, but of all the footage shot by camera people and television crews over the past two weeks not once did I see any sign of a Lady Heather Mills, or Brigitte Bardot or any of the legions who make life miserable for sealers. I know they were there. I just couldn't see any sign of them. Probably busy shuttling supplies to the stranded vessels with their helicopters.
Captain Watson: I can assure you that Heather and Brigitte would not have entertained the idea of bring aid and comfort to those thugs. Nor would I. Nor was there a need. The Canadian taxpayer footed the bill so that the Coast Guard could run errand boy for those on the glorified dole. Why would you expect any seal defenders to be rushing to aid and help the very thugs responsible for inflicting such heinous cruelty upon the seals?
I once shook Paul Watson's hand. I did it not knowing what he stood for and having no idea of what he would achieve at the expense of my brothers and sisters who hunt the seal. Now every night I feel like washing those hands in Gillette's lye. I'm paralyzed, remember. Wouldn't feel a thing.
Captain Watson: I don't recall shaking Ed's hand. I was never running for office in Newfoundland. I've always opposed the seal hunt so if he met me in Newfoundland it had to be in my capacity as someone who opposed the slaughter. The last line in the above paragraph makes little sense, Ed. What are you saying? I am flattered that you think of me every night and that I am the reason you keep up with your personal hygiene.
Let's make no mistake about it, and let's not for one moment, one nano-second, forget that the Paul Watsons of this world are killing the seal hunt. There's a strong suspicion in my mind that the federal government are not at all averse to letting them do it. The hunt is a very large pain in the butt to our federal government and they'd just as soon be rid of it.
Captain Watson: Ed, I absolutely love that above paragraph. Thank you for the recognition. It is much appreciated.
So what do we do about it? We continue to rail against the Watsons as long as it takes to shut them up. And if they never shut up, we never stop railing.
Captain Watson: I'm not going anywhere, Ed. I won't shut up, so keep up the railing. Not that it will do you any good. Economics will end the slaughter of seals and we will continue to economically undermine the shameful sealing industry.
We never allow our federal representatives to fall victim to the idea that the best to do is simply give in to international pressure and get ourselves out of the embarrassment.
Captain Watson: Yes you do and yes you will. It is an embarrassment, isn't Ed? Thanks for admitting that.
Like St. Paul, we should continue to kick against the pricks.
Captain Watson: Is this a quote from the Bible, Ed? What exactly are you saying here? I'm afraid this bit of theological drivel went clear over my head. But let me tell you something about theology, Ed. Your great Newfoundland missionary, Sir Wilfred Grenfell, you know the guy who preached to the Beothuks before the Newfoundlanders exterminated them. At least their souls were saved before they were wiped out and I guess that is what matters, but Grenfell used the word "Kotik" (baby harp seal) to describe the idea of "the lamb of God" to a people who never saw a lamb. The baby seal was innocence incarnate, and thus the idea was carried across cultural lines.
What this means is that we, the Shepherds, are protecting the Lamb of God and you are on the side of the demons turning the peaceful, pristine white paradise of the ice nurseries into a blood drenched, screaming hell where the unimaginable cruelties inflicted on the ice against innocent creatures bellows to the entire world just how barbaric and evil mankind can be.
You side with the demons who torture and kill and I side with beauty and innocence.
I'm on the side of the angels, Ed, and you, well you've cast your lot with the lowlifes and the thugs and the cruel imps of Satan.
Your choice, but you know I sleep very well at night with the choice I've made.
Readers can contact Ed Smith by e-mail at [email protected] or by mail at 4 Brinex Ave., Springdale, NL, AOJ ITO.