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October 31, 2012

Letter to PM Harper

[NB:  Sent last year, this letter was recently revised & re-sent.  Feel free to use the PM's email address & any info herein to compose your own letter. Click this link to sign PETA's petition:  http://is.gd/Y8QFUl]


Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
E-mail: pm@pm.gc.ca

RE: THE CANADIAN COMMERCIAL SEAL HUNT

Dear Prime Minister,

As a fellow university alumnus (UBC) and native of western Canada (who also loves my cats), I write to you without ego or presumption - but with the respect due my country's prime minister.  At the risk of appearing naive (having been assured this letter wouldn't reach you), I feel the need to correspond directly as (a) my federal MP is great but doesn't have the time/inclination to undertake the in-depth research I have done nor to edit all that data into a succinct letter, (b) nor does our national media, (c) your official actions in this matter are directly at odds with your public image/ stated principles, as well as with the wishes of thousands and with firsthand/ scientific evidence, suggesting the information you have is incomplete or manipulated to serve your sources' political ambitions/ interests, or both, and (d) MP's/ lobbyists who were entrusted by thousands failed to put certain legislation through in Jan. 2013 despite assurances of its inevitable success.    So I'll cut to the chase and strive for brevity by editing out all known/probable redundancy.

I've taken it upon myself to research the yearly event which your DFO Minister Gail Shea has called a "Canadian tradition", a "cull" and a "humane" activity:  the Commercial Seal Hunt. After steeling myself to spend many difficult hours over the past few years reviewing a panoply of material from a broad range of resources I feel equipped to appeal to your consideration of this letter with more objectivity than emotion.

Having undergone what feels like trauma but is merely gut response to firsthand accounts thereof - thus insignificant compared to real effects on actual participants - I must draw your attention to the regrettable reality of the Seal Hunt, which owes its continuation to your government's approval.

It is difficult to accept such approbation upon viewing firsthand documentation of this event in the form of streaming video depicting grown men out on the Atlantic ice floes (i.e. the native habitat where mother seals recover with their newborn young) proceeding to clobber defenseless, petrified seal pups using giant hooked 'hakapiks'.  What can only be described as callous and unwarranted ruthlessness relished by the perpetrators, this repugnant scene negates aLL claims that the Seal Hunt resembles a 'humane' activity in any sense of the word.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su6CGssYM60&list=PL82DF2DB802B9413F&index=3]
Video footage of Canada's Seal Hunt from HSI shows sealers revelling in the sickness of their own sadism, defiantly drawing out - instead of minimizing - the tortured anguish, desperation & distress of their terrified little victims - maximizing the abusiveness of their unfair advantage & openly disrespecting life's beginnings for these gentle creatures. The nightmarish sight prompts more outrage from my fellow viewers than excerpts of Holocaust death-camp scenes in WWII's aftermath (NOT taken lightly themselves).  It would be easier to believe we're witnessing clips of criminals caught in the act, or severely mentally-disturbed post-trauma patients, or a scene from some sick gore-flick, than 'ordinary' citizens carrying out an activity encouraged by the Government of Canada.  That we're expected to dislocate our innate sense of what is right & dispassionately accept something so obviously wrong engenders extreme resentment of those entrusted with our country's leadership.  Mr. Harper, what we've seen ISN"T right & I'm appalled you allow it to continue.

The eyewitness evidence sheds sinister new light on Ms. Shea's public assurances that such cruelty could conceivably be called a 'Canadian tradition'.  What was once considered necessary for surviving Canada's winters bears no resemblance to today's Seal Hunt:  a sadistic 'pastime'/sport indulging torture of baby wild animals played by degenerates/social outcasts/ violent  thugs - i.e. a senseless carnage now banned in most global markets yet supported by the federal govt.  (see this recent post:  http://liberationbc.org/blog/tag/seal-hunt/). Ms. Shea undermines the very people she claims to support in her stubborn refusal to help upgrade their community's obsolete 'industry' into a productive, sustainable operation free from harmful interference in wildlife ecosystems.

As if government's resistance to progress weren't insulting enough, Ms. Shea's defence of last year's quota of 400,000+ seals as a 'CULL' to "stop the [2-week-old?] seals from decimating cod-fishing resources" is either misinformed or a blatant lie.
In fact, young cod makes up only 3 percent of the seals’ diet. The majority of their diet actually consists of fish and squid that prey on young cod; therefore, removing the seals from the equation may actually result in more cod disappearing as predatory fish flourish. The currently low cod population is the result of poor management on the part of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Even the Department of Fisheries and Oceans admits the seal hunt has no positive impact on cod population, explaining that the hunt is "...not an attempt to assist in the recovery of groundfish stocks...Seals eat cod, but seals also eat other fish that prey on cod."17 
http://liberationbc.org/issues/seal_hunt

Ms. Shea's ignorance makes one wonder:  why is she so desperate to condone this sickening bloodbath inflicted by yobbos terrorizing baby wildlife? Why does government keep justifying these yearly massive killing sprees at taxpayers' expense?  And HOW can you justify spending more taxpayers' money to dispute the ban on seal-hunt products (i.e. failing in your duty to our native wildlife) while importing pandas from a country with a woeful record of animal welfare abuses?  It doesn't make sense! I'm EMBARRASSED to admit I'm from Canada now, it's gross...

NO commercial, ethical or scientific argument - much less the ridiculous lies with which Ms. Shea continually undermines your government's integrity - can explain the sickening slaughter of defenseless seal pups.  As you ought to know, the international bans simply reflect contemporary society's growing awareness and must be accepted if we're to move with the times.  Rather than wastng money & resources on a dying industry, sealers ought to be provided with (or equip themselves with!?) alternatives that engender self-sufficiency as opposed to government-funded murder/ waste.  Judging from videos on sites like YouTube most sealers operate outside the limits of professionalism with offensive & unethical behaviour (if not signs of mental trauma) that degrades themselves AND all Canadians.  I cannot stay silent as long as it continues.

I beseech my country to uphold all international bans on trading in these death-skins, & to stop using taxpayers' money to challenge the EU's decision to halt this trade.  Such misuse of public office casts doubt upon your reputation as a democratic world leader.  A decisive move to end this abuse of the wildlife Canada's constitution pledges to protect would be more fitting.  Please do the right thing by allowing wildlife the benefits of being a loved & honoured native of this country:  i.e. protected & celebrated as part of what makes Canada beautiful.

Thank you.

SARAH CHESTERMAN