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