(Canada.com) Coming to the defense of Canada’s seal hunt, a Liberal senator has lashed out at the United States’ foreign policy, the Iraq war, the death penalty and the country’s gun culture in an email to an American family considering cancelling a vacation because they are opposed to the “horrific” annual cull.
Mystech: Ouch, they sort of asked for that one, now didn’t they?
“What I find ‘horrific’ about your country is the daily killing of innocent people in Iraq, the execution of mainly black prisoners in U.S., the massive sale of guns to U.S. citizens every day, the destabilization of the whole world by the aggressive foreign policy of U.S. government, etc.,” Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette wrote in an email response to the McLellan family of Minnesota.
The initial March 12 letter, from Ann, Pam, Nancy and Dale McLellan to all Canadian senators, urges an end to the “horrific mass slaughter of innocent harp seals” and warns of a boycott on travel and Canadian seafood because the annual cull is “going against what we like about Canada.”
The McLellans wrote they have “great respect” for the country because their “ancestors” were Canadians and they live near the Canada-U.S. border, but they are loathe to spend $8,000 on a vacation while the hunt goes on.
Hervieux-Payette’s response, coming two days later, defended the harp seal hunt as an exercise in controlling the population and ensuring the livelihood of local hunters and fishermen.
“They are not killed for sport reasons like our deer, moose by Canadian and U.S. hunters,” the senator from Montreal wrote. “You may visit us and you will see that we are a safe and humane society, respecting the traditions of the aboriginal people, not trying to impose the ‘white people’ standards of living on them.”
The regulated, two-month hunt of the 5-million-strong seal herd is intended to keep the fast-growing population in check and to maintain the fish stocks on which Inuit and Atlantic Canadian fishermen earn a living.
Senator George Baker, a Newfoundland Liberal, deemed his colleague’s response inappropriate, but he said it may have been influenced by her time on the Senate legal affairs committee, where members were subject to a fierce protest when they were studying a recent animal cruelty bill.
Brigitte Bardot will travel to Ottawa next week to protest against the seal hunt and try to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The 71-year-old French actress, who is best known for her role in the 1956 movie Et Dieu … crea la femme (And Woman was Created), is the head of Foundation Brigitte Bardot, which is dedicated to animal rights.
In a memo on her website from March 2005, Bardot calls for a total boycott of Canadian products and says she has collected more than 67,000 signatures on a petition to have the hunt stopped.
She said the recent increase in this year’s hunt quota, to 325,000 seals from 320,000, is what sparked her into making the trip to Canada.