Monday, July 27, 2009

European politicians are breathtakingly hypocritical about sealskins

In light of the EU seal product ban, this is worth a read. From the Economist, this article points out that the seals that die mercifully in the east coast harvest is near nothing compared to the millions of minks, foxes and sheep that meet a painful fate each year in Europe, yes Europe... Now imagine that! .. Here's the article:

ROUGHLY handled, and incompetently stunned, terrified animals may awaken several times before they are slaughtered. Some have their throats slit fully conscious. Europe’s industrial farms dispatch 1m sheep, cattle and pigs every day. You cannot cater to the welfare of a large animal like a pig when the line must kill five in a minute.

If the European Parliament were really interested in animal welfare, then it might look rather more closely at the farming industry that the European Union so lavishly rewards with subsidies. But it has more pressing business. On May 5th MEPs, suddenly disgusted by the cruelty of people far away hunting seals, voted to endorse a ban on the trade of seal products, most of which come from Canada. Their hypocritical recommendation, which still has to be approved by the European Commission and Council, isn’t even much good for the seals.


Bash it on the head, quick
Every year, 300,000 seals meet their end not by mauling from a polar bear, but instantaneously from gunshot or a blow from a club. Four years ago the WWF, an environmental organisation, commissioned an independent vet’s report which concluded that seal clubbing is not cruel if it is properly done by competent and trained professionals. The report judged that the Canadian hunt was professional and highly regulated. And the vets said that popular horror of the seal hunt seemed to be based largely on emotion and on images that are difficult even for experienced observers to interpret.

By the grim standards of Europe’s farrowing sheds, millions of seals enjoy a blissful life fishing and breeding on the Canadian ice. At least Canadian seals have the luxury of being stunned before they die. Compassion in World Farming, a lobby group, says that half the sheep killed in France are conscious when their throats are slit. Such treatment is possible through a loophole that allows for religious slaughter—a loophole that the same champions of animal welfare in the European Parliament voted to avoid closing on May 7th.

A few seals are killed to protect fish, others as a source of blubber or food. Most are indeed killed for their fur. That may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is hardly unEuropean. Europe’s fur farms produce over 30m mink and fox pelts a year. Every four or five days Europe kills more animals for their fur than the entire annual Canadian hunt does in a year. Seal hunting sounds unfair; but Europeans are reluctant to ban the hunting of similarly defenceless game birds, deer or wild boar.

A ban on the seal hunt would spare individual seals, but it may not do much for the seal population as a whole. When wildlife cannot be traded, it loses its value and thus the incentive for people to conserve it. Today the hunters exploiting the seals have an excellent reason to maintain a healthy and growing population. A trade ban would mean that the management or maintenance of a wild population becomes just another drain on resources. Sometimes ecotourism pays the bills, but it works only in places that are easy for tourists to get to.

Why did the European Parliament overlook all this? Seal-murdering foreigners are a soft target and animal-welfare groups have been lobbying MEPs for years. It may not be a coincidence that they finally voted for a ban just a month before they face elections. Having been invisible to their constituents for the past five years, what better way for MEPs to save their own skins than to fight valiantly for those of baby seals?

5 comments:

Inky said...

"I pledge not to buy seafood products produced in Canada—such as snow crabs, cod, scallops, and shrimp—until Canada ends its commercial seal hunt for good."

I saw this a few years back
I found the link, I so agree with your views on this. Funny how thinks get over looked
check this one out.
http://www.hsus.org/marine_mammals/marine_mammals_news/eu_seal_victory_050509.html

Charlie said...

I've read/researched enough on ARAs (animal rights activists) groups who exploit things like natural seal tears, and say they are crying, exploit peoples' ignorance, and regurgitate lies year after year to get $millions in donations from probably many well meaning but innocent people. It's amazing that hate-filled slime like Paul Watson gets away with his venom. He ought to be charged with hate crimes, but it wouldn't surprise me if he is nominated for an Order of Canada, though I could not see Madame Michelle Jean bestowing it. I've said it many times on this blog, especially in 2006, that research has shown that seals are killed as humanely, as the 100s of millions of other animals in slaughterhouses around the world, and many times, more so. It must have been proud moments for English hunters to chase terrified foxes, with the help of their hounds. Bravo ye moral vanguards of the world, and good luck with the fox, sheep, beef, pork, poultry industries, and the bull fights, running of the bulls and various recreational hunts. That will teach us a lesson!

Inky said...

Perhaps instead of breeding generation after generation of fishermen/sealers to live in alleged poverty while working in a failing industry, they will stop claiming there are no alternatives and will accept what has been suggested to them numerous times -- there ARE alternatives to slaughtering seals for a living.


I cannot believe he said this, This really made me MAD.

all who consume beef, pork, chicken, or anything made from eggs and milk products need to learn, educate themselves and stop complaining. The next time they put a pork chop, t-bone steak or eat bacon and eggs, before you gulp this down THINK? how did this get here?

Charlie said...

Exactly!

Anonymous said...

If hunting is banned.Its more likely a block of land like this one http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing.aspx?id=229645977 will likely need to put into grass for farming.

People need to be able to made money somehow.There is rates and bills to pay no matter what is on the land.

Its about finding a balance.Rather than getting to far either way