Monday, March 27, 2006

Brits being Hypocrits on Seal Hunt

The seal harvest is a hot button issue in Europe and North America. Why? Because seals, especially young seals, have what the marketing industry calls sex appeal. Pictures of woeful-looking seal pups are just tailor-made to stir the public's passion, and make anyone with a heart dig deeper in his pockets to support PETA, Greenpeace and other eco-activist organizations.

But just where were all the animal rights activists in the UK in 2001 when over 7,000,000 cows, sheep and other cattle were "culled" to prevent the spread of what basically is a relatively benign medical condition?

I can still see Bruegelesque images in my mind of dead cattle being burned en masse across Britain's pastoral countryside as hysteria seemed to grip the nation. While the smouldering pyres received world-wide television coverage, I cannot remember a single word of protest against this commercially-motivated specicide.

Hoof and mouth disease, while quite contagious, is not a big killer of cattle: it justs renders them non-commercially valuable. And unlike variant KJD (mad cow disease), it rarely passes into humans and, when it does, it is a non-fatal condition. Vaccination was used in Holland to stop the spread of hoof and mouth, but was not used in the UK due to a then-existing EU regulation against exportation of vaccinated cattle, and the British government felt the economic impact would be too great.

Bluntly put, the hoof and mouth disease cull was nothing more than certain groups protecting their commercial interests. And the silence of the British public in 2001 was deafening.

So it seems we have two classes of animals: those which are exotic, attractive and whose life has perceived value, and domestic animals which are treated no better than breathing meat/milk/egg factories, in whose death we reap their worth.

I've been ragging Paul McCartney a lot recently in this blog, but at least he has the virtue of consistency being vegan. But how many others decry Canada's seal harvest, yet tacitly support animal brutality through consumption of animal flesh often raised in the most appalling and inhuman of conditions?

At least animals which are hunted exist in their natural ecology until the last few moments of life.

So, seal hunt protesters, either be consistent right across the board, or shut the fuck up!

8 Comments:

Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Hear, hear!

Despite the McCartneys coming across as total boobs due to their not knowing what seals are actually killed, or how, or even where, exactly, they were, at least they're vegan.

If anyone wants to make a real difference? Go after the beef industry, or poultry or any other source of meat commonly found in supermarkets. Then I'll be impressed.

They only protest the seal hunt because it affects no one they personally know and they have no idea that the animals they eat/wear are killed just as inhumanely and are housed even more inhumanely. At least seals are permitted to live in their natural habitat.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

You've made some very relevant and salient points here.

However, I have to disagree with you on the issue of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Like its cousin from which it takes its name, this disease is indeed rare, but it is also fatal and does not have a cure.

3:27 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

WoD: Another thing I'm noticing with store-bought chicken, say, is the number of broken bones. I can't believe that all the broken bones are post-mortem, either. Moreover, I'm told feed lots for beef are disgusting. I wonder if there is a bigger market for "ethical" meat.

T&Betc: Thanks for pointing this out. I thought I was being clear in pointing out that vCJD is fatal, unlike Hoof and Mouth disease in humans, which is more a case of fever and ulcerations. I really need to work on my proofreading.

5:32 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Anthrax is a nasty one that livestock can pass along.

If "Bossy" is healthy I can pet her while I eat a cheese burger.

You are what you eat may apply to seals - I would expect them to be a bit on the fishy side, though the trigycerides are probably pretty high.

9:42 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

TPK: but just chocked full of omega-3 fatty acids. We're actually looking at selling rendered seal oil to the pharmaceutical industry.

7:34 AM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

Heart healthy seal? I guess they are just not for coats anymore...

6:59 PM  
Blogger SC said...

Eek! I see I may have started an international incident! From your comments on my posting on this issue, I didn't realise you felt so strongly about this, Nanuk. I think what confused me was the fact that, when I offered to withdraw the post, you replied:

"No, please leave the post as is. It is accurate and I don't believe in censorship. I read you taking some flak for the visual aesthetic, but if thine eye offend thee . . . "

I do try to go out of my way not to offend individuals, but it is sometimes unavoidable to offend some people when dealing with political issues. Please accept my apologies for any offence caused. I have made my point, and have now removed the post.

I don't happen to eat much meat myself, but that is a side issue. I too find it puzzling to accept the way we humans categorize other animals as being of different worth: wildlife, domestic pets, working animals, livestock, vermin and so on.

The issue I was dealing with was the ghastly brutality of the seal cull. But you're quite right, the culling of cows was equally, if not more ghastly. I dare say we may see a lot more culling of birds soon too, right across the globeā€¦

8:32 AM  
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8:31 AM  

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