Seal Wars! The Second Report from the Frontlines of the Seal Slaughter
The Frontlines of the campaign to abolish the slaughter of seals in Canada is now global. We are now fighting this obscene slaughter on the ice, in the courts, in the media, in Ottawa, and on the streets of dozens of countries around the world. Seal Warriors are musicians, actors, activists, hunger strikers, cartoonists, writers, consumers, chefs, retailers, travel agents, documentarians, pilots, poets, school children, college students, environmentalists, animal rights activists, conservationists, and the person next door. It is a rapidly growing movement against cruelty and ecological degradation.
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Beautiful
Sealers Stuck in the Ice
The Canadian Coast Guard is keeping an eye on nine sealing vessels that are stuck in ice in the Strait of Belle Isle. Hopefully, they will remain stuck. However, one of the hidden subsidies of the seal slaughter is the high costs of Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers that clear paths for the sealing boats to go about their gory business. Canadian tax dollars at work - slaughtering baby seals.
The icebreaker Henry Larsen is monitoring six longliners and three open boats.
A coast guard spokesperson said Friday morning that the sealers are not in any immediate danger. The seals, however, are in immediate danger.
The vessels are near L'anse au Loup in southern Labrador.
Seals Farther North than Usual
The same reason for the lack of ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has also kept the ice floes off the coast of Labrador from drifting south. Normally, these floes drift down to the south of Newfoundland. This year, thanks to global warming, the ice front is hundreds of miles to the North off the coast of Labrador although there is some ice choking the Straits of Belle Isle. This means the sealers will have to travel much further and use much more fuel to reach the seals.
British MP calls for seal hunt ban
Mansfield MP Alan Meale has blasted the Canadian Government for the nation's practice of seal hunting.
The MP has now joined the international animal rights campaigners in opposing the seal hunt and called for the British Government to ban the trade in harp and hooded seal products.
"The seal hunt brings nothing but shame on Canada," he said. "I have been written to by many of my constituents who are wholeheartedly against the seal hunt."
"I have seen no evidence that can justify this high level of cruelty -- the hunt must be stopped and the UK must have no part in the trade in seal products."
Mr. Meale told Chad that Canada's seal hunt quota, which was announced last week, sees the figures equal those seen in the 50s and 60s, with hundreds of thousands of seal pups slaughtered and several thousand thought to be skinned alive.
Added the Labour MP, "This is totally unacceptable -- the British public were opposed to it then, and I am confident that they will actively oppose this slaughter now."
Nations Are Banning Seal Products
Update on national seal bans:
February 23, 2006: Demonstrating the growing momentum in Europe to shut down the markets for seal products, Italy has temporarily suspended the import of seal skins and seal-derived products. According to the Italian Vice-Minister for Trade and Industrial Affairs, no new import licenses will be granted in the coming months. This is a critical step towards putting an end to the cruel and unjustifiable massacre of seals in Canada's commercial seal hunt.
January 2006: Mexico bans the import and export of all marine mammals (i.e., including seals) and their derived products. This regulation is similar to the US Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
Greenland instructs its public state company not to trade in seal pelts originating from the Canadian seal hunt.
December 2005: The Dutch Parliament initiated a legislative proposal to ban the import/export and marketing of harp and hooded seals and their derived products. The proposal is expected to be debated in the Parliament in the coming months.
May 2004: The Belgian Government adopts a legislative proposal to ban the import/export and marketing of all seal products. After notification with the European Commission and WTO, the proposal is due to be presented to the Belgian Parliament.
The European Union introduced in 1983 a ban on seal products derived from whitecoats (newborn harp seals, less than 12 days old) and bluebacks (young hooded seals, less than one year old). Unfortunately, this ban is not effective in order to stop the current trade of harp and hooded seal pelts in Europe. Today, seals are hunted when they are just a few days older and their pelts can therefore be legally traded in the EU.
The United States introduced in 1972 the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which prohibits the import/export and marketing of marine mammal products (i.e. including seal-derived products). The law also applies to live marine mammals.
The Council of Europe adopted in 2004 a Motion for a Resolution (initiated by the Italian MP Azzolini) to stop the commercial hunt of seals and called on its Member States to introduce national bans on seal-derived products. The Assembly also debated a report produced by the Italian MP Nessa, which criticised the cruelty of the hunt. The report will be voted on in April 2006.
On March 29th of this year, Croatia banned seal pelts.
Seal defenders internationally are working to have seal products banned in every nation of the world.
"We will not rest," said Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, "until we have abolished the market for every vile and despicable product made from seals in every nation on this planet."
"I Can't Break the Law, I am the law."
- "Judge Dredd" Loyola Hearn
Front Slaughter to Begin April 12th
Now that the massacre in the Gulf is over, the killers are heading to the coast of Labrador to ply their vicious, obscene, and bloody trade.
Captain Paul Watson condemned this slaughter again this year saying;
"As a 12th generation Canadian whose roots go back to 1650 in New France and Acadia and as an 8th generation Maritimer I must say that I am so terribly ashamed to be Canadian and to hail from the Maritimes. The blood on that ice each year washes away any pride that I had for my country. Red blood on white snow, the colours of the flag are appropriate. We are so pathetic as a country, so trivial and so cowardly, a nation of baby killers, hewers of wood and haulers of water, a nation obsessed with our inferiority and impotence on the international stage. Perhaps if we joined the 21st Century, we could leave the barbarism behind and shine with compassion and kindness, ecological integrity and honour. It seems unlikely to be soon with a Prime Minister who chooses death over life and ignorance and arrogance over living in harmony with nature. Oh Canada, the true north savage and greedy, land of hopelessness for all who care, land of opportunity for the greedy. I live in exile until the slaughter ends"
Sealers Violate Quota with Impunity
The seal killers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence have officially gone 1,000 seals over quota. But it appears that these quotas are not really legal - more like guidelines, because the Canadian government never penalized sealers for going over quota. According to enthusiastic seal-hating DFO spokesperson Roger Simon in the "Maganderthal" Islands, "These things happen. What can you do?" Try enforcing the law, bozo.
Canadian Fined for Documenting the Killing
Meanwhile as the killing continued, Montrealer Lisa Shalom was sentenced to pay $1,000 for her "crime" in approaching within half a nautical mile of a sealer engaged in the act of killing a seal. Lisa was filming for a documentary project she is doing on seals when she was arrested. Prior to being arrested she was physically assaulted by sealers from the Newfoundland boat Brady Mariner. She documented the assaults on the Sea Shepherd crew who were also arrested. The Mounties refused to lay charges of assault against the sealers.
Dr. Jerry Vlasak in 12th day of Hunger strike
Dr. Jerry Vlasak who was arrested along with Lisa Shalom was also sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine but chose instead to not pay the fine and go to jail. The California-based trauma surgeon was sentenced to 22 days.
He opted to hunger strike for the seals in prison and has gone 12 days without food. He will most likely be released after serving 15 days of his sentence.
[Pictured above: In the spring of 2005 on the ice floes of Eastern Canada, Jerry's nose bled after being punched in the face by a sealer. The sealer was never charged.]
Report from A Canadian Citizen Who Did Week long hunger Strike for the Seals
By Svetlana Fotinov
I'd like to explain why I decided to go on a hunger strike.
The very first day the seal hunt began on Saturday, March 25, 2006, Vadim, my husband and I went to the Parliament Hill. The day was very nice and there were quite a few people there. I was holding in my hands a magazine published by Fondation Brigitte Bardot with photos of last year's seal hunt. I heard people saying: "This is a Seal Hunt Protest!". When we came to the Centennial Flame people who were there started asking questions and we answered them. Some wanted to take pictures of me and Vadim. Everyone we spoke to on that day said that they were against the seal hunt: they thought that better alternatives existed today for people involved in seal hunt. After all, the Canada of today and the Canada of 300 years ago are two very different realities.
I realized that something had to be done to stop the seal "hunt" now, and I wanted to let the politicians here in Ottawa know how people in Ottawa felt about the seal "hunt". The objective of my hunger strike was to draw the attention of the politicians and the media to the issue of the seal hunt, the issue that was obviously becoming a hot topic of discussion on the international arena. I thought that the Parliament Hill and the Centennial Flame with the emblems of all Canadian provinces and territories was just the right place to draw attention to this issue.
For your information: I was born in 1953 in the former Soviet Union. My height is 176 cm. On the first day of my hunger strike my weight was 55 kg 400 g, dressed as you see me on the photos. On March 31, 2006, the last day of my hunger strike, my weight was 51 kg 800 g (again, dressed in the same outfit). Throughout my hunger strike, when I was on the Parliament Hill, I was holding the open magazine in one hand and an Inuit sculpture in the other hand (Ptarmigan - Transformation by the famous Inuit sculptor David Ruben Piqtoukun www.davidruben.com On April 16th an exhibition of his recent works will open at Galerie d'Art Vincent at Chateau Laurie here in Ottawa www.galleryvincent.com My favourite piece there is The Pearl of Wisdom). To me, Inuit sculpture is one of the great examples of alternatives available today. The alternatives can be different in different parts of Canada. The point is, - there are alternatives!
On Friday, March 31st, 2006, I began to feel the impact of my hunger strike on my body: my hands were shaking and I could hardly hold the small alabaster sculpture in my hand. I was experiencing palpitations, I had stomach pains, I felt dizzy and I was moving slowly. Now I will have to explain that during my hunger strike I was doing everything I normally do, although I had to do a lot of things at night, since my energy level was low. Thus, I did not eat anything and I hardly had time to sleep. But let me assure you that for my family it was "business as usual": I cooked for everyone and everyone was taken care of (you can see some members of my immediate family at my site at www.wellnessuniverse.ca ). Besides, I was attending to all business matters and I was doing everything else I was supposed to do. I am a business person!
I was on the Parliament Hill every day for 6 days at different times, - in the daytime, in the evening, at night. I wrote letters and appeals to the Prime Minister of Canada, to MP Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, to Member States and Observer Countries of the Arctic Council currently chaired by Russia (I am a Russian Canadian), to Canadian media (the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star) and to many other people and organizations.
To me, it became clear that you cannot achieve much in Canada by a hunger strike alone! I would not be surprised that, if I were to fall dead right in front of the Peace Tower, the MPs, including the PM, would have simply stepped over my dead body and would have proceeded with parliamentary debates about the future of Canada!
So, I decided it was time to draw the line: I stopped my hunger strike, officially informed everyone about my decision and explained the reasons behind this decision.
I firmly believe that there is a lot of work to do, - for everyone. If we want to live in a kinder, better and safer world, we must learn to treat Nature and all living creatures with respect. We must first learn to give to Nature, and only then take from Nature, - just a little bit, leaving the rest for the future generations of humans, - and all other species on this Planet.
I am a teacher by profession. This is why I believe in the power of education and awareness. I will do everything I can to explain to everyone I meet during my life that we, humans, are part of the Global Mosaic of Different Species, that we are part of living and non-living Nature.
"Let us never forget our roots - not just the long-ago ancestors we call prehistoric humans, but the wilderness from whence we arose. If we ever cut ourselves apart from wilderness, we will no longer be human." Don Hamilton, DVM. Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs: Small Doses for Small Animals. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California. 1999.
HSUS GROUNDED IN PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Canadian and Newfoundland native Rebecca Aldworth and her crew from the Humane Society of the United States have been grounded by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
After having seal guts thrown at them by sealers and after their inflatable boat was rammed by a sealing vessel, Rebecca, five other crew, and a reporter from Reuters were charged with approaching within 10 meters of the sealers who attacked them. The HSUS boat was damaged.
They all had permits to document the slaughter, however, the permits restrict the approach to the sealers to a distance of 10 meters. Alternatively, the sealers are not restricted from approaching the people with the permits. When a sealer approaches a person with a permit, the permit holder is required to withdraw and maintain a 10 meter distance. Therefore, when the sealers came toward and attacked the HSUS crew, the victims in the attack automatically were in violation of the regulations.
Of course, no sealers were charged with assault or damage to property. The law is one-sided in favor of seal killers in Canada.
So Much for Swedish Sophistication
The Swedes give the impression that they are a civilized people despite the fact that they are one of the world's leading manufacturers of weapons like land mines, small arms, and fighter planes. Now, add "seal killing" to their resume
The annual culling of gray seals along Sweden's Baltic coast is set to begin on Easter Sunday. This must be how the Swedes pay homage to Christ by slaughtering some seals.
The number to be shot, 170, is the same as last year.
According to the Swedish Environment Protection Agency the population of gray seals in the Baltic has increased to around 22,000. (Oh my Gawd, it's a hostile takeover of the Baltic!)
The hunt will continue through the end of the year.
According to the agency, seals cause around 7 million dollars of damage annually to Swedish fishing, including nets, and other equipment.
The question, of course, is that if it is true that 22,000 seals are in the Baltic and attacking fishing gear than how can removing 170 of them make a difference? I suppose the Swedes think that killing 170 will be a lesson to the rest, sort of deterrent. You think the seals would have learned a lesson from the 170 murders of their brethren the year before. What this is, of course, is a lame make-work plan by Swedish bureaucrats.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is encouraging people to not use the language of the seal killers and to refrain from repeating their words.
This is not a seal hunt. It is a slaughter. Walking up to a helpless seal on the ice that can't swim or defend itself is not hunting. It is a slaughter of baby animals in a nursery.
It is not a seal harvest. You harvest oranges - not seals.
It is not sustainable. Sustainable is the new catch phrase for business as usual.
There are no seal stocks. There are populations of seals. Stocks make it sound like the seals are on a warehouse shelf somewhere.
The slaughter of seals is not humane. Canadian politicians and some media don't seem to understand what the word means. The kicking of a seal pup in the face and ribs, the skinning of a baby seal alive, the smashing out of eyeballs, and leaving the pup to writhe in its own blood is not humane. It is abject cruelty.
It's all very ugly - especially some of the Canadian media. Apparently, political correctness goes out the window when it comes to attacking seal defenders. Thus Brigitte Bardot was dismissed by numerous Canadian media as an "aging actress." Pamela Anderson was dismissed as a "dumb blonde." Anti-French and anti-American comments circulated. Seal hunt defenders were called dumb, terrorists, liars, racist (as if sealers are a race amongst themselves - they should be) and they were slandered from the left, the right, and the centre.
Meanwhile, there was a call in Newfoundland for Captain Paul Watson to be charged under Canadian hate crime legislation for stating that the title of Anne Troake's documentary on sealing, My Ancestors were Rogues and Murderers was appropriate.
One thing is for sure, this seal slaughter controversy has gotten Canadian politicians, media, and all sorts of people hot and bothered but most importantly it has got them thinking.
This issue is now a full-blown international media event and it will not be going away. The seal defenders have celebrities, drama, compassion, international support, and dedication driving their cause, and the seal killers have what? A few lackluster politicians and Jann "Cruella" Arden, whoever she is?
Seal Oil Tycoon Cozy with Premier of Newfoundland
In the scandal department, we have this little fact: The Barry group that processes about 900 tons of seal oil each year is owned by Bill Barry. Bill Barry is a multi-millionaire who is a close personal friend of Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and multi-millionaire Danny Williams. One source in Newfoundland said the two are "passionate" about each other which we presume means they must be very close buddies, indeed. So perhaps Danny's passionate defense of seal killing is not in the interest of the sealers of Newfoundland at all but is more in the interests of his good and close friend Bill Barry. Inquiring minds would like to know.
Seal Oil is Just Another Snake Oil Remedy
It is interesting that when Costco pulled the seal oil capsules from their shelves in Newfoundland, Danny Williams immediately threatened a boycott of Costcos. This was his friend's product, after all.
What is truly amazing is that the public can be sold on this snake oil "health" supplement: It is a product that contains two to three parts per million of toxic heavy metals.
In a laboratory test conducted by Sea Shepherd in 2004, two types of PCB's as well as arsenic were present:
PCB content: 3 types registered between 0.27 ppm and 1.18 ppm. Arsenic: 1.2 ppm
Trace amounts of boron (7.3 ppm), calcium (9.9 ppm) and sodium (10 ppm) were also present.
Even the "good" Dr. Cosmas Ho (owner of Terra-Nova seal oil refinery) lists the toxins of his brand on his website: He lists DDT and mercury. His site can be checked out at:
Consumers should know that Omega-3 is available from organic flax oil without the toxins and it is cheaper.
Bill Barry should be "tarred and feathered" as was done to the snake oil salesmen many years ago! Sea Sheperd is doing our job telling the truth about him and his products - a kind of 21st Century tarring and feathering in the media.
More Tax dollars for Propaganda
And just when we thought the government could not waste anymore money supporting the barbarism of sealing, we get this report from the Newfoundland House of Assembly:
March 30, 2006 [NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR] HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS (Newfoundland)Vol. XLV No. 5
MR. SULLIVAN: Mr. Speaker, we are also looking to the future of our fisheries. We will invest $350,000 over two years to increase the province's capacity for coastal and oceans management and to prepare an oceans strategy and policy framework.
SOME [Dis]HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SULLIVAN: We will also invest $100,000 for a sealing industry communications strategy to counter the fiction and fabrication with facts -
SOME [Dis]HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
So another subsidy of $100,000 for propaganda! You see, the facts that need to be countered are convincing the public that three-week old seal pups are not baby seals. They also want to convince the public that kicking seals in the face, skinning them alive, and leaving them to choke to death on their own blood is humane. And the funds will also be used to present the seal slaughter as some sort of "aboriginal native cultural necessity" despite the fact that all the sealers are ignorant, white rednecks.
Has anyone noticed that the Canadian politicians are whining about money freely given to seal protection and conservation organizations yet seem to have no problem in allocating public funding to seal killers? The difference, of course, is that donations to protect seals are voluntary whereas the taxpayer has little say in how the government wastes their money.
Exporting Jobs as Premier Cries Crocodile Tears for Workers
As multi-millionaire Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Danny Williams laments for the poor sealers so he can do favors for his real friends like Bill Barry, his government is allowing the export of hundreds of jobs to China. Fish packing plants are laying off workers. 650 jobs lost in Marystown, Newfoundland, alone. Redfish are being shipped whole to China to be processed there, removing the need for fish plant workers in Newfoundland.
Seal Basher in Chief, Loyola Hearn - Now We're Talking Ugly!
Loyola Hearn, another goofy Newfie in the position of Fisheries Minister, is setting his sights on being the ugliest, meanest, hardcore, unyielding, seal-hating politician of them all.
Of course, he has to compete with his predecessors like Newfoundlanders Brian Tobin, John Efford, and John Crosbie, all of whom were champions of mass slaughter. Crosbie, of course, came from the Crosbie Sealing Company family. But, Loyola is doing a fine job of being a bigger seal-hating jerk than those who came before him.
He is a firm believer that the soul of Newfoundland rests on the tradition of mass massacring of seal pups. Newfoundland males have traditionally demonstrated their manliness by whacking baby seals. Apparently, according to Loyola, it's in their blood because as Newfoundland film maker Annie Troake titled her documentary supporting sealing as My Ancestors were Rogues and Murderers. Ah yes, they were, Annie - great title, hit the nail right on the head with that one, b'ye.
Two words. Pamela Anderson.
Pamela hosted the Juno Awards in Halifax. These awards are Canada's answer to the Grammy Awards in the United States.
Pamela Anderson is without question the most famous Canadian in the world. She receives more Google hits than any other Canadian alive or dead.
Pamela used her position as host of the Juno's to bring attention to the slaughter of the seals. Even in the midst of a hostile crowd she stood her ground firmly and said she was committed to the end of the slaughter.
Which brings us back to the Ugly. Canadian singer Jann Arden used her time at the podium to say her bra was made from baby seal eyelids. Oh, perfectly droll, Jann. Quite amusing, ha ha.
Pro-seal-killer Jann "Cruella" Arden and seal defender Pamela Anderson. I think Jan could learn a thing or two about vegan beauty tips from Pam.
A Generous Offer they Should Not Have Refused
On the subject of beauty, Cathy Kangas, the CEO of PRAI Beauty and a member of Sea Shepherd, HSUS, IFAW, and many other animal organizations offered the Canadian Government $16 million dollars to compensate the sealers to not kill seals. The ugly side of this story is that Prime Minster Stephen Harper turned her down without even talking with her or having the decency to reply to her in person. He informed the media instead. Obviously, the killing is not about money.
One Newfoundland politician said it was welfare. Let me see, using taxpayers money to subsidize a mass slaughter of seals for luxury items in demand by a few is not welfare, yet a private person willing to purchase the lives of beautiful creatures for the benefit of millions is considered welfare.
Cathy Kangas is a beautiful person. Stephen Harper and Danny Williams are definitely ugly. And this slaughter is the ugliest thing of all.
Quote of the Week:
"One beater among the pile lifted its head and started to scratch his way around, his eyeballs two swirling pools of blood. His lower jaw was hanging down from his mouth by a thread of skin. "Darrell, kill that, will you?!" Gerard said.
Grabbing the hakipik, he did not kill it immediately. Instead he pressed the wooden handle up against the top teeth of the suffering creature. "Bite that if you can." The poor thing had no bottom teeth and all it could do was crawl around in the swath."
- Newfoundland Sealer Mickey Dwyer from his book, Over the Side Mickey