It was accompanied by the following picture, that really made me feel sick:
Caption: Hunters close in on a harp seal during a
commercial hunt on Canada’s Prince Edward Island in
the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The United States bans
imports of seal products.
Honestly, I was entirely unaware that seals were still clubbed to death. It's become a kind of a joke, really. If someone does something that's utterly inhumane, they've done something like "club a baby seal". I honestly thought it was a relic of the past, something that wasn't done anymore, at least not legally.
Canada's government, of course, justifies it economically. The costal towns need the cash, they say. The hunt last year "made about $16.5 million last year, primarily from pelt sales to Norway, Denmark and China." The USA does not allow import of seal products, and I'm proud of my country for that.
I'm not worried about the killing of the seals, really. It's like deer in the US: if you don't hunt them, they over populate. In fact, Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans noted that at around 5 million seals, this is almost a record population. Shooting them doesn't bother me.
But clubbing them for sport does. It's simply not necessary.
Heck, I'm not even really concerned about aboriginal and Inuit subsistence hunters clubbing the seals, actually. I have a hard time denying people who really want to live in the way of their ancestors the right to live that way. While yes, it's still inhumane and wasteful (and it's not like the Inuit or aboriginal humters are being more "reverent" about it), it is not sport: it's subsistence. It's life.
I have a very, very big problem with clubbing baby seals for fun and profit. A baby seal pelt is worth about $57. That's the highest price it's ever been. The demand is obviously there.
So I read through the article, which is pretty darn balanced, showing both sides. It talks to the protesters, it talks to the government and the independent fisheries. I'm fairly convinced, though, that I can't really pass judgement on the whole thing unless I go and see it for myself.