Friday, March 03, 2006
I just want to cry. This upsets me so much every year. I remember when I was young I would see it on TV and I was horrified. I still am. I can't look at any more pictures.
Paul McCartney and his wife, Heather, were in the Maritimes today to bring this disgusting, shameful thing back into the spotlight. Good for them! Here's the report that was on Yahoo Canada.
"SOMEWHERE IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE (CP) - The annual seal hunt off the East Coast is a "stain on the character of the Canadian people," music legend Paul McCartney said Thursday as he and his wife Heather staged a high-profile, anti-hunt protest on barren ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The megastar couple called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end the centuries-old commercial slaughter by buying back hunters' licences and promoting eco-tourism instead.
"We don't want to see the local people suffer," McCartney said after the couple got on their bellies to get a close-up look at newborn harp seals sprawled on an ice pan about 20 kilometres northwest of the Iles de la Madeleine.
"But, from what we hear, it is quite a small amount of their annual revenue and this could be easily sorted out by the Canadian government, if they care to do it."
Under partly cloudy skies, the McCartneys travelled by small plane from Charlottetown to Iles de la Madeleine, 160 kilometres to the northeast of Prince Edward Island. They then boarded a helicopter and flew to the ice floes.
Dressed in bright orange survival suits, the former Beatle and his wife posed for photos with a snow-white, newborn harp seal as a media entourage of about three dozen looked on.
"We're calling upon Stephen Harper and the government to consider looking at this problem . . . in the light of the international objections," McCartney said.
"Canada is known as a great nation . . . But this is something that leaves a stain on the character of the Canadian people and we don't think that's right. I don't think the vast amount of Canadians think that's right."
The most recent figures suggest the industry, which started in the 1700s, was worth between $15 million and $20 million annually and employed up to 10,000 people, most of them in Newfoundland. Supporters of the hunt argue that income from the harvest is vitally needed in remote communities with few other economic opportunities.
The McCartneys, longtime animal rights activists, noted the Canadian government had approved a three-year management plan in 2003 that set the total quota for harp seals at 975,000 - a move that prompted renewed outrage among conservation groups.
Thursday's protest was organized by the Humane Society of the United States and the British-based group, Respect for Animals.
"I've observed the seal hunt at close range for seven years," Rebecca Aldworth, director of Canadian wildlife issues for the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.
"I routinely witness conscious seals dragged across the ice with boat hooks, wounded seals left to choke on their own blood, and seals being skinned alive. The commercial seal hunt is inherently cruel. It is a national disgrace."
The McCartneys cited a 2001 independent veterinarian report that concluded close to half of the seals killed were likely still conscious when skinned.
The federal Fisheries Department says it has an independent report that suggests otherwise.
"Sometimes a seal may appear to be moving after it has been killed; however seals have a swimming reflex that is active - even after death," the department says on its website.
"This reflex gives the false impression that the animal is still alive when it is clearly dead."
The youngest harp seals, known as whitecoats, cannot be killed until they lose their white fur. That can happen in as little as 12 days. But most of the harp seals taken are about 25 days old, the Fisheries Department says.
The department has also insisted Canadians support Ottawa's policies, citing a February 2005 Ipsos-Reid poll that concluded 60 per cent of those surveyed were in favour of a "responsible hunt."
The date for the start of this year's hunt has yet to be set, though it usually starts in late March. The 2006 quota is also under review."
Write or e-mail your MP, The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, (Hearn.L@parl.gc.ca) The Prime Minister, Stephen Harper (Harper.S@parl.gc.ca). Sign every petition you can and end this Canadian disgrace! You can start here.
Do a google search for more sites with petitions to sign. I'm sorry I can't post more. I'm scared to open up any more links for fear of what I might see.