Caution: At Incoming BYTES we recognize that some issues are extremely controversial. Some readers may find the nature of this article upsetting and are advised to read the following *summary:
*In 2010 the European Union legislated a ban on products derived from the annual Canadian seal hunt. Basing the new legislation on claims of cruelty, the legislators seemed to unwittingly condone blatant hypocrisy, ignoring the brutality of bullfighting for sport, the slaughter of the endangered Bluefin Tuna for nothing more than profit, and other atrocities that taint their own macabre history.
|A young seal|
The Ban: A Ban on Canadian Seal Hunt products has been Approved But Temporarily DelayedA legislated European Union ban that was to halt the import of seal products from Canada beginning August 20, 2010 was temporarily delayed. The import ban, reportedly based upon unfounded concerns of cruelty in the annual Canadian seal hunt, has been ordered suspended by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, pending a requested injunction against the ban by the Canadian Inuit. The Inuit hunters maintain that such a ban would also negatively affect their traditional life and economic base .
The EU ban specifically prohibits the importation of seal products into all European Union countries from Canada, Greenland and Norway, and bans all products other than those specifically produced by the traditional Inuit hunt. Seal products include fresh and canned seal meat, sealskin fur, leather, and derivative oils used for health purposes.
The EU has thoughtlessly ignored the economic necessity of the Canadian seal hunt by traditional native Inuit hunting seal for food and their very survival, and by a few poor commercial fishermen that hunt seals to obtain a large part of their tiny annual income.
The risky and limited, highly controlled seal hunt is carried out on ice floes, and the seals are quickly killed by shooting or by a sharp blow to the head using a traditional tool called a hakapik specifically designed for that purpose. The steel hakapik also conveniently has a spike that is used to move the heavy carcasses and pelts on the ice. It does not take much common sense to recognize the additional necessity of that spiked tool to climb back onto the ice, should a hunter fall into the freezing water . Over-active imaginations however, automatically and erroneously attribute “hunt brutality” and imagery thereof to mis-use of the spike on the hakapik.
Clearly, a reality check is required. To restore reason, the reader must be equally allowed to compare the seal hunt to horrific EU practices that historically were not prohibited, not controlled, and remain unchallenged by EU legislators.
Bullfighting: A Macabre and Brutal Blood SportWith much hypocrisy, the EU parliament has claimed the high road condemning the historical and necessary seal hunt while completely ignoring the brutal, macabre torture and slaughter of bulls in Spanish, Portuguese and other bullfighting arenas for no reason other than barbaric entertainment. Willfully allowing the torture and vicious killing of bulls as a chilling spectator blood sport is nothing less than bloodthirsty barbarian practice. Let all civilized people be honest enough to call it what it is.
In the bullfighting arena, bulls are ceremoniously, inexcusably and systematically tortured and weakened by picadors, riders mounted on heavily padded horses. Using highly decorated barbed spikes or banderillas which are thrown and plunged deep into the animal’s neck , the picadors ensure the tortured animal will become weakened and angered enough to charge the matador. The spinal cords are intentionally damaged, resulting in the bull dropping his head lower, and making him more vulnerable to further torture and the inevitable, vicious slaughter.
The matador, a highly-decorated, traditionally uniformed “gladiator”, after an arrogant display of “bravery” which involves systematically taunting and avoiding the weakened animal’s impotent charge, taunts and lures the exhausted, injured bull to it's own death. The matador methodically kills the distressed animal using a sword, a javelin, lance, or dagger, depending upon the specific ceremony demanded . The ears of the dead or dying bull may be cut off and awarded to the “hero” if the “skill and display of the contest”enough titillation to the savage mind of attending dignitaries who may arrogantly direct the outcome of the match.
The carcass of the dead or dying bull is then unceremoniously dragged out of the arena leaving a trail of blood in the sand in preparation for the next “heroic” bullfight, - much to the arcane delight of the cheering, bloodthirsty audience.
The Mediterranean Bluefin Tuna KillEqually horrific is the virtually uncontrolled and sickening capture and willful slaughter of a seriously depleted and endangered species, the beautiful Bluefin Tuna, using a system that is far removed from the honorable concept and occupation of clean and traditional “fishing” but is mere entrapment and decimation of a species, with the herding and systematic slaughter of thousands of tuna into long- walled curtain nets that are dropped to the sea floor. The wall of nets ensures there is no escape from the blockage of known, specific and traditional tuna migration and spawning routes. Elsewhere on the high seas, using modern electronic sonar fish-finding equipment and spotter planes to locate large schools of tuna that may include thousands of individual mature fish, the same barbaric method is is used to slaughter the prized fish.
Once a school of tuna has entered the walled curtain, the nets are closed, the enclosed area is systematically reduced in size , with the factory ships crowding and confining the tuna ever closer together until the sea violently thrashes blood-red as the tuna are sickeningly and systematically stabbed to death, slaughtered to the last one --in a froth of their own blood and seawater. The tuna are hooked savagely with gaffs while still frantically thrashing and hoisted, live onto the deck of the surrounding ships where they are killed , gutted, and refrigerated.
This horrific and revolting scene is not conducted to feed a mere “starving fisherman” and his family; but is systematically repeated on the high seas by Spanish, Italian and French corporate commercial processing ships to greedily “harvest” what remains of a nearly-depleted species. Tuna are fast becoming dangerously close to being extinct. Shiploads of this now highly- endangered species of tuna are shipped to Japan’s insatiable market --for nothing more than greed and profit. A single Bluefin tuna may command a price of $15,000.00 or substantially more to feed an insatiable Japanese market for sushi.
The EU offers no specific control over illegal and under-reported catches, and ignores the potential extinction of this prized species in the world’s oceans that scientists believe is not only possible, but almost effectively guaranteed.
Other AtrocitiesIf needlessly torturing and slaughtering bulls for blood sport, or decimating endangered Bluefin tuna stocks in a revolting, inhumane and bloody slaughter is not enough , perhaps the EU parliament might also recall in shame other aspects of it’s own bloody and horrific history in it’s other “uses” of animals in centuries past:
--The famous, and now-popularly-condemned fox hunts of Great Britain
--Europeans needlessly and selfishly decimated a herd of an estimated 20 million buffalo in North America, taking only the hides for the European market. The meat was left to rot. Native North Americans had coexisted with and depended upon the same herds for food and resources for millennia.
--Uncontrolled, European factory ships also contributed substantially to the illegal over-fishing and demise of the once-prolific but now virtually decimated Canadian cod fishery.
-- The Slaughter of Farm animals: Today the population of Europe kills millions of cattle and hundreds of millions of chickens, geese and ducks raised in highly-crowded production facilities and killed for food, leather, and other products.
Shall the world also politely ignore the force-feeding of geese to ensure their livers become grossly enlarged to ensure a large and profitable industry that produces 'Foi gras' or 'fat goose liver pate’ for the palate of the discriminating, modern barbarian ?
–Cock Fighting, a now supposedly illegal activity, is still conducted underground.
– Dog fighting , also an illegal activity, is still practiced to the delight of the bloodthirsty.
Reality or Hypocrisy? A ChoiceLet us be realistic. The fact remains, the use of fish, animals of all types and poultry for food and other uses is traditional in culture, deemed necessary --and has been so since the beginning of time . Clearly the killing of animals and other creatures for the purposes of feeding human beings is distasteful and offensive to many individuals. Modern society is desensitized and isolated from the blood and gore of the slaughter of animals by out-of-sight processing plants and convenient supermarket packaging. Animal-rights groups are becoming more vocal and prevalent, and the message by special interest groups is becoming ever more highly publicized via the internet, --but reason must prevail.
Perhaps the EU legislature should wisely choose to reconsider the blatant hypocrisy in their homelands prior to so quickly condemning and banning the Canadian seal hunt--- which is conducted as humanely as possible under very difficult conditions, and also --most notably, -- controlled with a strict quota to ensure survival of the species. In fact, the Canadian seal hunt is conducted in a clean, sub-arctic natural environment, where the animals sacrificed of necessity are not killed for blood sport, the titillation of a cheering audience, or killed merely for greed, -but only taken as humanely as possible as a part of a traditional way of life for food and economic necessity –as has been done for centuries.