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How will we end the cruel seal hunt?

How will we end the cruel seal hunt?

A couple days ago I wrote about two boycotts that are directed at ending the cruel Canadian seal hunt: syrup and seafood. The Humane Society of the US is encouraging their members to boycott Canadian fish and PETA is telling their supporters to boycott Canadian maple syrup. Today I want to take somewhat of a historical look at the global effort to end the seal hunt and explore how we are going to win.

These two boycotts did not happen in a political vacuum, animal activists have been organizing against the Canadian seal slaughter for years. There have certainly been some victories along the way, but we have not yet won. We still have a battle ahead of us. It is a given that no one should be buying products of the seal hunt. (In fact, it’s even better to avoid buying any fur or leather.) But is boycotting the direct products of the hunt enough? In order to continue to be effective activists we need to keep increasing the pressure on the Canadian government and the fishermen who are brutalizing innocent animals. That means trying new tactics and expanding the scope of our boycotts.

Looking back, the first step in the campaign against the seal hunt was to look into which companies were selling seal pelts and who was financially supporting the hunt. We petitioned, boycotted, protested, called companies and mail letters. And we saw victories: many of these companies stopped selling seal pups’ fur. Next, our movement worked on banning the products where ever possible. Last month, we saw a huge victory in that regard: The European parliament voted to ban the products of the seal hunt. In the coming years I’m sure we’ll see even more progress, but we need to support each other and not cut down other activists who may be using tactics that we choose not to use. The truth is that no single tactic will win this one, we need a diversity of tactics. I may think the seafood boycott is silly and you may think the maple syrup boycott is too expansive, but we both need to recognize that both are important.

The seal hunt is a terrible example of how viciously humans can treat other animals. This annual blood-fest is on its last legs. It is an industry on it’s way out. By working together and supporting many different tactics we will win this one.

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photo cred: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurek_durczak/

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53 comments

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6:52PM PDT on Jul 1, 2009

Join the Seal Cub Clubbing Club! My friends and I clubbed/slayed over 250 seal cubs this past winter. I must say, I have never enjoyed any activity so greatly. Here are some of the positions included:
-The Seal Search Team. This team searches for the seals' breathing holes and mark them on a GPS.
-The Seal Watcher. They observe the marked locations for activity.
-The Seal Hunter. This is my personal favorite. When a Seal Watcher notices increased activity at one of the holes, he radios in to the Seal Hunter. The Seal Hunter then drives over on his snowmobile and brutally massacres the seal cub.
-The Seal Skinner. This is the most honorable position in the Seal Cub. This highly respected individual skins the seals when they wake up from consciousness from the brutal clubbing. After they do this, they dump the remains into the icehole they were clubbed at as bait for even more baby seal cubs.

11:39AM PDT on Jun 22, 2009

We might succeed one day if we keep on fighting by boycotting and by getting the canadian goverment on the nerves so long till they have to give up. For sure, it,s gonna take awhile, Rom was not built in one day too but if we all keep together we can manage this.

11:37AM PDT on Jun 22, 2009

We might succeed one day if we keep on fighting by boycotting and by getting the canadian goverment on the nerves so long till they have to give up. For sure, it,s gonna take awhile, Rom was not built in one day too but if we all keep together we can manage this.

6:34PM PDT on Jun 7, 2009

Boycott Canadian salmon as well.

6:32PM PDT on Jun 7, 2009

Pancakes taste great in that "tastes just like butter" stuff with sugar sprinkled on top of that. Pancakes lend themselves to just about anything - jelly, chocolate chips, etc. Also, you can buy tofu at the grocery store - any grocery store - and in many different forms. There are tofu hot dogs (they are ok with ketchup, mustard, and a bun). If you go to the frozen food section, you'll find all kinds of vegan meals that will taste just fine and keep you healthy. And remember high school health class - red beans and rice is a complete protein. Remember that?!?! It's not expensive to kick the red meat habit, but you need to hunt around and try different things to see if you like them until you find what's just right for you. I had meat cravings, but I feel so much better now that I have been off that stuff for a while. And as for maple syrup, well - nobody needs to buy that.

Hope this helps.

8:01AM PDT on Jun 6, 2009

LaJana - I actually agree with most of what you said. I think the key phrase is "it takes people who care and don't take the easy way out". Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who do not care and that is the main reason there are stray animals. I am glad that your colonies of feral cats are not suffering. They are fortunate to have you looking out for them. Unfortunately, there are billions of strays that suffer due to the people who are negligent.

As for this being a forum about Sea Shepherds, I am not the one who initiated the comments about PETA. That was Chuck Roomi on May 30th who suggested googling The Dark Side of PETA. I felt he deserved a response.

10:18PM PDT on Jun 4, 2009

Agreed Lindsey. Another alternative would be to grow your own vegetables (if one has space and if one doesn't live in a climate that's prohibitive to do so).

8:27PM PDT on Jun 4, 2009

Actually, you can be vegan or vegetarian without ever setting foot in a health-food store. You don't have to buy organic and you don't have to buy unusual items. And you don't have to go to expensive or long-range stores. I only shop at regular grocery stores such as Food World or Wal-Mart and find everything I need there: veggies (fresh or canned or frozen, doesn't matter - they're all veggies), fruits (same here - fresh or canned or frozen, all are fruits), rice, dried beans, bread, pasta, cereal, oatmeal, Campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup, tomato soup, vegetarian baked beans, canned spaghetti sauce, milk, cheese, yoghurt, cottage cheese, vegetarian frozen dinners by mainstream manufacturers - all sorts of things. I don't "do" health foods or organic - too expensive.

8:17PM PDT on Jun 4, 2009

I can't believe how many angry self-righteous vegans there are out there. Reality check: for many people, like poor people from urban neighborhoods, don't have access to the food they'd need to become vegan. Sure, it may be easy for me; I have a Whole Foods right nearby and a car to get me there. But in many neighborhoods just feeding your kids vegetables at all is tough. The produce at the local groceries is often overpriced and half rotten. But there's a McDonald's with a dollar menu right on the corner and chips for 4 bags a dollar, so that's what people eat. They're not "ignorant" and "unwilling to change," they can't afford the ride on 2 or 3 buses each way to buy from high-priced health food stores. We should promote the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle without calling names. People are "pathetic" for not going all vegan. If they eat mostly veggies and free-range meats they're trying at least. And that's worth something. And I doubt many people are "patting themselves on the back" just for signing a petition that take like 5 seconds to do. (Although thank you, Samantha, for attacking them; maybe next time they won't sign the petition at all and then where will we be?) I work with inner-city youth all day. That's my cause. But I care about other causes too and if spend my very little spare time signing a few petitions and writing a couple of letters my effort doesn't deserve to be mocked, an neither does anyone else's.

12:57PM PDT on Jun 4, 2009

I have taken the pledge not buy any seafood from canada and another one for maple syrup. I am holding true to that and will till this horrific act stopped once and for all. I also have told a few people as well.

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