April 19, 2014: – St. John’s Jim Winter pens this opinion piece about Canadian musician Bryan Adams misinformed views about the seal harvest in Canada. (Jim is a journalist and an Association of Canadian Radio and Television Artists best documentary writer award winner. He is also the founding president of the Canadian Sealers’ Association.)
Bryan Adams is an extremely active supporter and photographer for PETA, a group that for years has been running a campaign calling on people worldwide to NOT visit Canada: an anti Canadian tourist industry campaign.
Tourism in Canada is an industry that provides a livelihood for tens of thousands of Canadian citizens in a wide variety of businesses: hotels and b&bs, tour and outdoor activities operators, bus and taxi operators, fishing and hunting camps, The Calgary Stampede, restaurants and anything to do with utilising animals including ranching, fur farming, trapping, beef and pork production, etc etc.
The anti Canadian tourism campaign run by PETA and actively supported by Bryan Adams is aimed at a minimum in reducing the incomes of the above people and if possible eliminating many of these jobs regardless of the financial impact upon the families dependent on the income derived from these them.
Yet, while he actively supports destroying the incomes of Canadians he feels no compunction about earning his own income from those very same people: talk about hypocrisy.
Bryan Adams has every right to play wherever he wishes, despite the hypocrisy. People who wish to attend his concerts have every right to do so but they should do so knowing what his support of PETA’s anti tourism campaign is doing to them or their neighbours.
Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are all Provinces whose jobs are threatened by Tourist ban demanded by PETA and Bryan Adams yet here he is adding to his wealth by playing in these provinces while destroying the wealth of our citizens.
I guess he rationalises his hypocrisy by saying that he and PETA are calling for a tourist ban and he is not a tourist but simply a working man.
Below is another letter in the same vein sent to US celebrity talk show host Ellen DeGeneres
It saddens me to see that you have bought into the vicious propaganda of the animal rights movement and have both financially and verbally supported their attacks on the lives of so many rural Canadians whose sealing contributes a part of their annual livelihoods People whose earnings to support their families are derived from a number of activities which include farming, fishing, logging and other rural activities as well as sealing. They rarely have salaries and it is the sum total of these earning that allow them to live in their communities and support their families.
It saddens me because as a gay person you undoubtably suffered from the outrageous propaganda that is employed against all gay people as they grow though childhood to adulthood. I would have hoped that this experience would have made you more sensitive to the dangers of propaganda and aware of the effects of it on people’s lives.
The propaganda aimed at gay people is no different in kind or intent than the propaganda aimed at sealers – whether they be Canadian, American, Namibian, Russian, British or European; whether they be Caucasian, African or Aboriginal. The difference is simply in the content not in the intention, which is to hurt the recipient and to further a worldview that is reprehensible and is not the view of the vast majority of society.
As a gay person you are aware that such propaganda, whether aimed at gays or sealers, is based in malicious mistruths (lies), misconstrued interpretations of scientific or religious texts, outrageous statements about these people’s alleged behavior. It is a general presentation that portrays these people as being “bad” and thus worthy of condemnation by the propagandists and all “reasonable” people who are enlightened their propaganda. Of course the subtext always is: please support us financially so we can continue our campaign to marginalize or outlaw these people.
You may think that because you are a vegan that I would be against your animal free lifestyle but you would be wrong. I (we) accept that some people prefer to live a vegan lifestyle (including in my own family) and that is certainly their right. I certainly do not feel we have any right to tell you otherwise: it is your right to make such a choice.
Conversely, it is our right to choose not to be vegan and to use the resources available to us to earn a living and feed our families. Always, as with any animal killing, within the proper constraints of sound conservation through scientifically supported quotas, approved killing techniques, proper training and licensing, and utilising the animal to the maximum possible. Which is what we do and which makes us no different than any other group in society involved involved in animal killing to provide food, clothing, medicinal or other products such as shoes, purses, furniture and so on: all of which we do with the animals we kill.
It saddens me that as a victim of propaganda for being gay you are now becoming a victimizer by supporting a propaganda campaign, no different than the one you suffered, when you support groups like HSUS, PETA and the rest of the animal rights alphabet. Animal rights is not animal welfare.
I am sure we both agree that animal welfare is a very important aspect of a civilized society. To make a point, animal welfare on a personal level would be looking after the welfare of our own pets whereas animal rights is, according to these groups, not owning a pet as it is slavery.
The fact that animal rights is a view held by a very small segment of western society explains why these animal rights groups use their vast (hundreds of millions of dollars) financial resources to target politicians in your country (and in the EU and its individual member states) to ban our products and deny millions of citizens of all these countries the right of choice: completely anti democratic. If someone chooses a vegan lifestyle that is their right but when their fellow citizens are denied the right of choice though the actions of politicians co-opted by the money and propaganda of these groups that is undemocratic in the extreme.
When victims become victimizers it is very sad.
Sadly but sincerely,
Founding President Canadian Sealers Society
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
* Views expressed in Opinion sections of sealharvest.ca are not necessarily those of CSA staff or website owners)