Canadian sealing is the sustainable use of a natural resource conducted under the strictest of humane killing regulations with quotas established through rigorous scientific studies of the populations. Everything that can be used is used and the remainder is returned to the ocean environment as feed for birds, fish and crustaceans: what could be more green. It is practiced by east coast and northern Canadians to earn income to feed their families. It is an industry no different than the beef, pork, chicken or any other mammal killing industry in Canada that produces food, leather, fur or medicinal products while providing a living for rural Canadians throughout the country.

The 45 plus year anti sealing campaign conducted by the multi million dollar American headquartered animal rights groups is a travesty factoids over facts. It is simply a propaganda campaign aimed at achieving their goal of ending man’s use of all animals for any reason: seals are merely the tactic not the goal.

Harp seals are not nor ever have been listed as either a threatened or endangered species by any reputable agency such as CITIES. When a management regime triples the population (presently approx. 7.4 million animals) of the species; when all independent studies by international veterinarians (except those arranged and paid for by animal rights groups) demonstrate that the killing is humane; When the food, omega3, leather and fur products derived are natural and renewable the industry should be praised by Canadians as being in tune with Canadian values.

The reality of international bans on Canadian seal products lies in the realisation by these multi million dollar American animal rights groups that less than 3% of western people believe in their philosophy, so they have no choice but to “own” politicians who then pass laws denying their citizens the democratic right to choose for themselves to use or not use products derived from sealing. When you cannot count on 97% of people to do your bidding the only tactic you have is to propagandize politicians and have them do your bidding, which is exactly what has happened in the EU (and in the individual parliaments of many of the member states), the USA,  Russia and other countries. Within the EU citizens can legally kill seals in the North and Baltic seas, and do. The USA  and Russia conduct their own seal hunts. This hypocrisy demonstrates the venality of their politicians who bow to the wishes of the animal rights movement’s hugely funded propaganda campaign though the laws they pass: don’t do as we do but do as we dictate. Nobody is ever surprised when bad laws get enacted by politicians influenced by, in the pocket of, lobbyists with millions of dollars to spend.

The reality of the international markets for seal products – meat, leather, omega3, and fur –   is that they exist as they always have but Canadian sealers are denied access though the actions of international politicians in the pocket of the animal right movement. The animal rights movement floods the media with claims that there is no market and sadly for years the media simply run with that PR and never, as good journalists should, ask —- how do you know there is no market when your political friends have put bans in place denying their citizens the right of choice. As an ex ACTRA award winning journalist it pains me to see animal rights groups manipulating an uncritical, unquestioning press. To paraphrase Winston Churchill – never have so many been so mislead by so few for such nefarious reasons. For decades these groups have said nothing new yet their comments are deemed “newsworthy”. Their celebrity friends utter ridiculous comments and no journalists challenge them. The entire circus is a travesty of fiction over fact and proof that hypocrisy reigns supreme.

The lessoning of income to rural Canadians by the actions of the American animal rights groups combined with the all party support in both houses of the Canadian Parliament has resulted in some subsidies, a minuscule amount of money when compared to the budgets of the anti sealing groups, over the years. Small subsidies that cannot compare to subsidies given to support other Canadian industries by a Government interested in the welfare of workers throughout the county.

The truth is that over decades these American headquartered animal rights groups have raised hundreds of millions of dollars (one group alone has assets of over one hundred million dollars) from well meaning unsuspecting urbanites completely disconnected from the sources of their food or any understanding of nature: the Bambi syndrome run amok. The truth, sad and hurtful to say, is that these groups and their celebrity friends constantly manipulate media to further their goals: an uncritical media lacking skepticism is not much more than a PR tool.

Anti sealing is the epitome of George Orwell’s position in Animal Farm: all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

The animal rights movement have won some battles but not the war. If they win the war you will have to look around you to see whom among you will be the next victim. The beef, pork, chicken, lamb producers?  The trappers,  hunters, fur farmers?  The clothes manufacturer, shoemakers, auto manufacturer, furniture manufacturer? Anyone who uses animals for any purpose at all?

Propaganda is an insidious thing and unless countered by a free press prepared to ask the hard questions it will continue ad infinitum. It is time for individuals, politicians and media to remember the immortal lines of Pogo: I have met the enemy and he is us.

Nobody in the Canadian sealing industry wants people to buy their products if they do not wish to. Canadian sealers only want all citizens to have their democratic right to choose for themselves to use or not use seal products.

Democracy is about the right of citizens to choose. When propaganda, as  history has shown, triumphs democracy loses.

Jim Winter
Founding president Canadian Sealers Association