Real talk


Bob Rae and Bill Maher are apparently feuding—background here and here—over the seal hunt.

“It’s a shame that since you can’t defend the commercial seal slaughter ethically or financially, you instead attack the philanthropy of celebrities involved in many different causes, seals among them,” Maher wrote. “The fact that seals have been killed for hundreds of years is no excuse for continuing to kill them. For thousands of years, people held slaves and treated women and children like property, but tradition is not a justification for cruelty. It’s disappointing that Canadian politicians continue to bail out this dying industry even though there are no markets for seal fur now.”


Real talk

  1. The seal hunt is a lost cause, and politicians should have figured that out long ago.

    Stupid thing to defend anyway.

    • Stupid? Let me guess, you’re one of the people who think that baby seals are killed, aren’t you? Look up some facts about the seal hunt before you condemn it.

      • I probably saw a seal hunt before you were born, but thanks for asking. Time we moved on from the hunter-gatherer era doncha think?

        • Let me guess. You don’t always drink beer, but when you do, you prefer Dos Equis.

          • You lost me at ‘American advertising shit’

            Stay thirsty my friend…..but drink something better

          • Technically, that’s “Mexican advertising shit”. Or, if you prefer, Dutch (the Mexican brewery Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma is a subsidiary of Heineken International).

          • You missed dotting an ‘i’.

          • What, no credit for getting the accent on the e in “Cuauhtémoc”???

            And sure, it’s a little bit pedantic, but I don’t think it’s totally out of line to say that we shouldn’t cast aspersions on the Americans for a commercial for a Mexican beer produced by a Mexican subsidiary of a Dutch multinational.

          • A ‘little’ pedantic?? LOL

            Americans invented modern advertising….so I blame them for all of it.

          • OK, fair enough on the last point. In fact, it was almost certainly an American advertising firm that came up with the ad campaign in question. Still though, it was paid for out of Dutch or Mexican pockets, not American ones.

          • And now you’ve crossed the ‘t’.

          • But no doubt aimed at the North American market, no?

          • Definitely.

      • Adam – Do the research. 98 percent of the seals killed are less than three months old, and that is directly from the Canadian government kill reports. The same reports show that the majority of those seals killed are only one month old or less at the time of slaughter. When they are killed, many of these baby seals have yet to eat their first solid meal or take their first swim. By anyone’s definition, these are baby seals. Notably, 72% of Newfoundlanders support a ban on the killing of seals less than three months old – a move that would effectively shut down the commercial seal hunt as it exists today. Adam, if you can only defend a practice by misrepresenting what it actually is, you’ve already lost the argument.

  2. Anti-sealers always fail to address one key issue, though: Humans are the seals’ primary predator. Take us out of the equation and the most likely outcome is that the population will rapidly outstrip the food supply, causing an imbalance in the ecosystem and leading to mass starvation for the seals.

    So which is more cruel – a population controlled by the hunt, or starving seals?

    • Yeah, and other fantasy moral problems.

    • Take us out of the equation and the most likely outcome is that the population will rapidly outstrip the food supply

      I don’t think that’s actually true.

      There are approximately 5.5 million Harp seals in Canada, and last year the hunt took out 70,000. I’m not sure we’re controlling the seal population much by killing less than 1.3% of them annually. I’m not an ecologist or a biologist, but I’d be willing to bet that if the the food supply can support 5,430,000 Harp seals, it could probably support 5,500,000 seals. In any case, I can’t see how letting that 1.27% of the population live would lead to a “rapid” outstripping of the food supply.

      Also, interestingly, the hunt kills nowhere NEAR the quota that the DFO sets every year. In 2010, the quota was set at 330,000, but the hunt only culled 67,000 seals. It seems as though if we really wanted to control the seal population we’d need to more than quadruple the hunt.

  3. KeithBram – I always wonder about people who distribute false information to justify the beating and shooting to death of three week old seals to make fur coats. I’m from a sealing community, but when I learned of the cruelty of this slaughter, I searched for reasons for it to end. In contrast, you are, without even bothering to do the research, using false information to promote this brutal killing. Do you actually enjoy the thought of a four week old seal pup being shot, bludgeoned, impaled, and cut open in the presence of other four week old seals? If you had bothered to research the issue, you would see that the seal populations that are the targets of canada’s commercial seal slaughter are declining, and that is happening because of the unsustainable kill levels of the past decade (nearly two million killed in that time) and the devastating impacts of climate change on their sea ice habitat. The Canadian government has measured up to 100% mortality of seal pups born in key whelping areas when the sea ice melted too soon in the season, a trend they predict will continue. Moreover, seals, like all marine mammals, are highly responsive to their environment – their fertility rates increase or decrease along with available food sources and habitat. There is no need, whatsoever, for humans to “manage” their populations. Indeed, our “management” has driven many species of marine mammals – including seals – to the brink to extinction and beyond over the years. There is no market incentive for the slaughter to continue, and there is no ecological argument that can be made to justify killing them.

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