Why the Green Party should support the seal hunt

Apologies up front – a bit of a controversial headline to grab your attention. But conditional support is what I propose. And here is my argument why: if we support the chicken hunt, we should also support the seal hunt!

If we as a society not only permit the eating of animals (chicken, cows, pigs, sheep, goat, lamb, fish, etc), but also permit the large-scale breeding of such animals for the sole purpose to become food for us, then why should seals be any different?

I agree that slaughterhouses are often quite rightly named – many put animals through barbaric cruelty and needless suffering, in the name of efficiency and mass production. Animals are often subjected to horrible conditions, as if they were plants rather than animals that feel pain.

But if we can conveniently ignore such details for a moment, my point is that we as a society permit the large-scale breeding and consumption of animals as an acceptable practice. And if a chicken can be conceived for the sole purpose of ultimately becoming breaded chicken fingers in the frozen foods section of a supermarket, then why differentiate between chicken and seals?

Consider these points:

  • Argument – Seals are particularly cute (especially the pups), therefore should not be killed.
  • Reality – The babies of all animals are cute – chicken, pigs, and even cows.
  • Argument – Seals are defenceless, they have never hurt humans, and thus killing them is barbaric.
  • Reality – When was the last time a chicken went on a rampage and killed dozens of humans? They’re equally defenceless. They’re just as (if not even more) frail.
  • Argument – The method used to kill seals during the seal hunt (i.e. clubbing a seal to death) is a lengthy process which causes severe pain and trauma – to a fellow mammal, no less!
  • Reality – Have you ever seen the conditions and practices that take place in the average slaughterhouse? Such an experience would likely put you off conventional meat for a long, long time. And cows, pigs, goat and lamb are all fellow mammals – yet we happily put them through such conditions in order to consume them.

I hope you can see where my argument is going. I’m not necessarily in favour of the seal hunt – instead, what makes me mad is the hypocrisy of those who decry the seal hunt, but then head to their local fast food outlet to tuck into the flesh of an animal that arguably went through much less humane conditions than any hunted seal.

Having said that, I will admit that I am not a vegetarian – nor is the majority of society.

I can fully appreciate if a protest group (such as Greenpeace) or an advocacy group (such as the Sierra Club) cries out while our televisions relay images of seals being bludgeoned to death, their warm blood steaming in contact with the ice.

But the Green Party of Canada is not a protest group, nor an advocacy group. We’re a political party. And as such, we should be differentiating ourselves from the others. Not because we’re better than them, but because we’re different. If protest groups, advocacy groups and political parties all share the same opposition to something, they should each oppose it by their own unique methods. Such would be much more effective than if protest groups and political parties were to behave in identical ways.

We as Greens should not be protesting the seal hunt. Instead, we should be making coherent and over-arching policies that relate to the cruelty and suffering that humans inflict upon animals – not just seals, but all animals that we consume.

So my point is – why all the outrage against the seal hunt? Surely those who condemn cruelty to seals but permit the same practices against other animals (even fellow mammals) are hypocrites.

The Green Party of Canada should either adopt policies relating to the humane practice and treatment of all animals, or we should keep our noses out of this area altogether. But to single out a single species for special consideration smacks not only of hypocrisy, but of merely adopting policies to suit the demands of trendy and celebrity-endorsed causes.

No coherent government would operate in such a manner – so why should the Green Party of Canada? We’re a political party, and as such, we need to be presenting a different and thorough vision of how we would operate the country if we were to assume government. Basing our policies around single causes isn’t going to win us Greens many recruits come the next election.

If we’re going to support the chicken hunt, then surely we should also support the seal hunt.

(N.B. Please note that this post does not mean to deride such protest groups nor advocacy groups. Instead, I feel that they and political parties each have their own unique niche roles to play, and should work in unison to form a more coherent and resounding umbrella network of opinion, which both society and the media would give more attention to, and thus would cause greater practical change.)