In the countries competing in the Dumb-Idea Category, Canada takes today’s prize. Canadian Senator Celine Hervieux-Payettehas has proposed a “National Seal Products Day” to help stimulate demand for Seal Products. Her Bill S-208 would designate May 20 to celebrate products derived from seal-clubbing. WTF.
The European Union allows seal imports from the traditional northern Inuit hunt of mostly ringed seals (a species not involved with the commercial hunt) while it bans products from the vastly larger commercial hunt for mostly harp seals off the coast of Newfoundland, Labrador, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
In its heyday, the commercial hunt resulted in the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands—of newly-born harp and hooded seal pups on the ice floes late each winter. The hunt was originally in quest of the fats that were rendered into oil, but after World War II, the hunt became more about obtaining the snow-white pelts of the newborn animals. Most seals killed in the commercial hunt are between three weeks and three months of age, many never having reached the age where they start to feed themselves.
The last commercial seal hunt saw 38,000 harp seals killed—actually one of the lowest kills on record—while a government loan of $1 million Canadian was made to help PhocaLux International Inc. buy about 35,000 seals. Through the years, the federal government has contributed millions of dollars to subsidize and promote the seal industry. Canadian politicians find it easiest to promote exploitation of our “raw resources,” even young seals, as an alternative to promoting new forms of employment.
There are already enough “national days” to be ignored. And the hope is this idea dies in a few days when the Senator realizes few people actually support the harvest outside of the Seal Clubbers themselves. If you’d like to send the Senator a message, here is her email