The Canadian Seal Hunt

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Everythingisnt, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Everythingisnt macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #1
    Recently encountering a spate of anti-seal hunt ads has stimulated me to the extent of making this thread. I'm rather tired of hearing the media's one-sided view on the whole issue, and seeing celebrities jump onto the "anti seal hunt" bandwagon for what appears to be only popularity - not humanitarian - interests.

    Here are a few facts:

    Every year in the United States, and average of 15 million cows are slaughtered to provide for different kinds of food. (http://www.ers.usda.gov/news/BSECoverage.htm)
    105 million pigs were killed in 2006 to provide for food such as Bacon, pork rinds, etc. (http://www.nppc.org/about/pork_today.html)
    And every year more then 8 billion chickens are raised and slaughtered on farms, often spending their entire lives cooped in one pen with up to 20 other chickens. (http://www.chickenindustry.com/cfi/broilerindustryreport/)

    Needless to say, if we judged these acts with the same criteria that animal rights groups judge the seal hunt, they would be seen as equally horrific.

    And when I see an ad proclaiming it a "horror" that 250,000 seals will be slaughtered during this years seal hunt, I have to admit that I feel quite irritated at the blatant hypocrisy of these so called 'animal rights' groups and their campaigns which attempt to appeal to our emotions rather then our reason.

    Perhaps I'm biased - but consider the facts about the seal hunt: That the seal population in itself has sustained itself easily over the past decade despite the fact that the Seal Hunt has been going on since the first Inuit First Nation settled in the north; That compared to the way in which cattle, pigs, and chicken are slaughtered, seals are killed in no less of a 'violent' fashion; and that this is a cultural tradition for the First Nations of this area that has been going on for a very long time. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/sealhunt/) (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/seal-phoque/myth_e.htm)

    Furthermore, allegations frequently made by anti-seal hunt groups that baby seals are "skinned alive" have repeatedly and conclusively been proven wrong. "A 2002 independent veterinarians’ report published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal and numerous reports mentioned by the Malouf Commission (1987) indicate that this is not true." (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/seal-phoque/myth_e.htm)

    So why is the seal hunt considered to be such a barbarity? Is it simply because seals (especially baby ones) are "cute" when compared to cows? Unfortunately, that would seem to be so. In today's age of media persuasion and emotional campaign tactics, perhaps that is all what counts.


    Opinions, please.
     
  2. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #2
    You realize that most animal rights groups are also vehemently opposed to slaughterhouses, and most encourage vegetarianism?

    And how exactly would they appeal to your reason as opposed to your emotions? Where's the reasonable ground for killing 250,000 of seals?
     
  3. Everythingisnt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #3
    There's no reasonable ground for killing 250,000 seals. I didn't mention that I'm against it all - slaughterhouses, seal hunt, etc.

    It's just the hypocritical attitude of people that bother me.

    While we're at it, where's the reasonable ground for forcing a population into a situation of poverty and disease through imperialist capitalism and ruthless outsourcing, as company giants such as Nike and Wal-Mart have done? Where's the reasonable ground for purchasing virtually any of the consumer-goods flooding into our market thanks to the capitalist enterprises of North America which have drained the worlds resources and condemned more then half of the global population to third-world conditions?

    There isn't really a reasonable explanation for the majority of our actions, unless self-gratification at the expense of our own morals counts.
     
  4. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #4
    Well, the search for hypocrisy is rather an easy hunt. Not as easy as clubbing baby seals, but not very difficult when you're willing to conflate the individual beliefs of millions of people into a single monolithic ideal. Obviously, someone who is an activist vegan is not hypocritical when they're also against seal hunting.
     
  5. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #5
    Most animal rights organizations, and the people involved in them, also have problems with most of the things you list.

    But how are they to target all of these things at once? You have to choose your battles, and not always just based on dealing with the most pressing concern, but many times picking the battle you actually have a chance at winning.

    It's not hypocracy to focus on one thing in particular, it's planning.
     
  6. Everythingisnt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #6
    True.

    However in this particular instance the issue of cultural interference comes into play.

    Should we be allowed to tell other people/cultures how to live or perform their own rituals? And if so, where do we draw the line?

    This might be comparable to a strictly vegan culture imposing their own will on the majority of North America.

    However in this instance, it is the, as you put it, "tactical" decisions of the Animal Rights groups which have put in motion an attempt to preserve the rights of a small and largely irrelevant fraction of the animals slaughtered on a yearly basis, while restricting the rights of those Natives whose livelihoods depends on this hunt.

    And to quickly answer an earlier question, the outcry against the slaughter of baby seals appeals to our emotions rather then our rationality because it asks us to sympathize with a certain group simply based on our own emotional reaction to them (note the wording of anti-seal hunt ads; usually the words "baby", "helpless", etc. are used). This instead of a more rational critique of the wider-spread problems consuming society. However, as you have said, they must "choose their battles".

    And if this means using emotionally-provocative ads and publicity to incite an outcry from the largely ignorant and hypocritical masses to target a visible minority with less power to stand up for their own rights, then, say, a giant Beef manufacturer, so be it?

    Should the violation of rights (animal and human) be solely reserved to those institutions who are thus able to do so without fear of reproach?
     
  7. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #7
    Isn't painting it as a cultural -- and therefor "sacred" and untouchable -- issue doing the same kind of dodging-the-facts logical fallacy sword that you'd see the animal rights activists fall on? Appeals to tradition and common practice are just as illogical as appeals to emotion.

    We seek to change cultures all over the world to instill greater human rights and values, the rights of minorities, of women and children, why should animal rights fall outside of the pantheon of issues we're willing to pursue?

    Ground control to Major straw man...
     
  8. Everythingisnt thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Everythingisnt

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    #8
    You are right that in many ways it's the same kind of fallacy as the animal rights groups have "fallen on"... However it is nonetheless different in enough aspects to make me comfortable in using it as an argument.

    However, this "cultural aspect" is more significant then an emotional appeal to seals physical characteristics. Modern Anthropological estimates believe the seal hunt to have been going on since the first arrival of the Natives, approximately 6,000 years ago. Granted, the scale of their operations has no doubt increased to the average of 300,00 seals per year that started in the 1860's, however it has been going on long enough to satisfy the requirements for an ecological niche.

    If the seal hunt were stopped, we may then see such effects as the famous decline in fish stock off the coast of BC in the 1900's due to a ban on Otter fishing. Because of the ban in otter fishing, the population of sea urchins sky-rocketed, causing the amount of algae growing to drastically decrease. This translated into less places for fish to spawn, thus lowering the population.


    The only straw man here is the comment you just made. If these groups were as invested in protecting the rights of all living beings as you say, then wouldn't they seek more balanced and equitable measures to solve the problem then simple fear-mongering?

    The natives who practice the seal hunt depend on it for their livelihood. Thus any change would have to involve something more then just the "ban of seal killing".

    By calling my comments about the way that these groups "choose their battles" a straw man, do you intend to say that you believe expediency and opportunism should govern who's rights they try to protect, instead of moral reasoning?
     
  9. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #9
    It remains a logical fallacy, even if you're comfortable using it. The stoning of women can similarly be traced back thousands of years, and yet it's cultural significance doesn't hold up the practice.

    The ecological niche argument is much more valid, but the beg the questions about our status as a natural predator, a natural force, and whether we should be satisfying these kinds of niches.

    It remains a straw man, and your final comment only goes to demonstrate this. You're ascribing me and everyone else a position and then disagreeing with that position; that is the very definition of a straw man, and it's as contrary to your base argument for logic over emotional response as the appeal to emotions that you're blasting the animal rights groups for.
     
  10. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #10
    Well, it's a good thing I don't eat meat, then.

    Looks like I'm still in the clear to be outraged about the seal hunt.

    Thanks for the validation?

    EDIT: Read some more of the thread. It's also a good thing I don't shop at Wal-Mart, buy almost all of my clothes from non-sweat shop, US manufactured businesses. I have never owned, and never will own a pair of Nike shoes.

    Looks like I can still be outraged about the seal hunt.
     
  11. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #11
    Only if you're not emotionally provacative about it.
     
  12. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #12
    the difference ? pigs,chicken and cattle get raised in captivity in the first place which means very likely there wouldn't be such high populations anyway

    i have no problem with killing seals (and whales BTW) if those companies who make money of it would actually raise them for their own purposes just like cattle under controlled conditions

    if they are too lazy/cheap to do that well they can look for support somewhere else
     
  13. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #13
    I think the obvious reason for the Canadian Seal Hunt garner more media attention is that seals can be made media friendly.

    Think about it, everyone loves to save cute penguins when they're covered by an oil tanker spill, but how many people would be willing to do the same for some of nature's less appealing creatures?

    That's the media's take on it at least. Cute and adorable sells.
     

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