Can we get any crueler?

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Canadians as far as I’m aware are split down the middle on the eastern provinces’ annual seal hunt. In true Canadian fashion, we have one side that remains sitting on their hands, satisfied, sure of their self comfort and limited space in the world. This group never questions anything, and especially not the legitimacy of being what they are; they can’t be blamed for anything, for they do nothing, and refuse to feel guilty of other Canadians’ actions/crimes.

The other half feels shame at times, and demand rationalization of action, restitution for the victims and policies that advance the overall civilization of our country. These individuals feel uncomfortable being on the sidelines and know that at some expense these shameful situations can be resolved. Personally, I am and have been ashamed of what has been part of what may only be described as a barbaric act of cruelty better known internationally as Canada’s Seal Hunt.

When we look closely at our evolution as humans you’ll determine that 500 years from now in the study of evolution, anthropologists will place us along with some grouping of civilization better known as Homo sapiens. This group, you’ll take into consideration, were the people who, 100,000 years ago, developed language and had just evolved from revolutionizing fire and hunting. However, modern civilization doesn’t see itself at the start of that grouping, but rather at the end of that grouping. Permit me to offer an argument posed by Albert Einstein in a letter to a fifth grade class in 1953. He wrote: “Dear children: we should not ask what is an animal but what sort of a thing do we call an animal? Well, we call something an animal which has certain characteristics: it takes nourishment, it descends from parents similar to itself, it grows, it moves by itself, it dies if its time has run out. That’s why we call the worm, the chicken, the dog, the monkey an animal. What about us humans?” Think about it in the above-mentioned way and then decide for yourself whether it is a natural thing to regard ourselves as animals. So we haven’t evolved that much, now have we?

If we believe we are firmly in an advanced society, then how do you think future generations will understand our society permitting sealing? Fisheries and Oceans Conservative Minister Gail Shea says it’s needed because it “is a significant source of income for many in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the North. Minister Shea unfortunately reflects not only her Conservative government views but also that of the federal Liberals. The Liberal’s Fisheries Critic Gerry Byrne postulates to a greater degree in that “the Liberal government fully supports a sustainable and humane seal harvest.” Did you catch those words which so easily rolled of this man’s lips? Words like harvest instead of hunt and humane instead of kill or slay. OK, walloping a seal with a mallet on the head then carving it up while it may not be fully dead is humane, in his eyes. Then it would follow, that similar actions taken to euthanize our family pets must be somewhat justifiable, right? It’s only a play on words to soften the harshness and uncivilized act of annihilation of seals. There’s an old saying that says,“The more I see of men, the more I like dogs.” Here’s why: “Canada’s seal hunt is both humane and sustainable and those parliamentarians who oppose this hunt need to hear the facts,” says Mr. Byrne. Here are some facts I’d like you to consider Madame Federal Minister and Mr. Liberal Critic: this year 280,000 harp seals with another 8,200 and 50,000 hooded seals and grey seals will be hunted, that’s up from 5,000 from 2008 and 10,000 from 2007 but still less that 55,000 from 2006. That will reduce the harp seals’ population by two-thirds, which given climatic conditions, could be the start of the end of these seals on this planet. If these two federal political parties aren’t tied at the hip on this one, then you ask where is the NDP? Well, I called their office in Ottawa asking for their position and was told “I’ll get back to you.” As of going to press, no email and no phone call must be they have no policy. I fear this is about eastern Canada votes and thus about trading seals for part-time jobs, which leads to votes. I’ve come to that conclusion because as Sheryl Fink, senior researcher at the International Fund for Animals Welfare says, “This is completely indefensible…there are no markets for seal products and with the potential European-wide ban, there’s no sign that the economy for this product is going to grow.” The Liberals see this decline in the European market as “a failure of leadership on the part of the Conservative government.”

Now you know why I think it’s political. Dead seals plus part-time jobs equals future votes. Rings true to me.

We all have a choice, the recognition of many possible ways to life. Our ancestors were limited in their choices. We Canadians, considering ourselves civilized, get much satisfaction in our standard of living. We may be mystic or soldier, businessman or artist. Our modern civilization in which there are many standards, offers a possibility of advancing individually on many different planes given our multitude of diversity and varying interests. We have learned to agree to disagree in the most civilized manner.

Here, I see a cruelty to animals. You, on the other hand, might also see cruelty so we agree on this. But is the level you see of cruelty the same as what I see? I see the level of slaughter as cruelty. You might say we can only agree on cruelty out of necessity for eastern provincial families’ partial revenues. I say there’s no need for that limited income to those individual families when we as a civilized society may replenish that lost family income via other means, thus increasing twofold our international image and simultaneously advancing our standards as civilized people. There have always been slaves who fear to speak for the fallen and the weak. Here it is seals that need champions. Individually we need to tell our federal members of government along with every federal party, that such cruel and inhumane means of earning part-time money belongs to a long-ago generation, and it must be ended, now, on your watch.

Organizations: NDP, International Fund for Animals Welfare

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ottawa

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