Humane

The Inuit perspective is that each living thing has a spirit and a soul that endures even after life has left the body. Inuit are grateful for the food, clothing and other necessities seals provide.
Representatives of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association have observed the Canadian harp seal hunt in 2002 and concluded that, of the animals studied, 98% were killed in an acceptably humane manner. This study compared very favourably to the animal welfare standard required in abattoirs in North America and the European Union.

A commission of inquiry (“The Malouf Commission”), appointed by the Canadian government in the wake of the anti-sealing protests, concluded that the killing of wild animals can be justified on ethical grounds if four conditions are met: the existence of the species is not threatened, no unnecessary pain or cruelty is inflicted, the killing serves an important use and the killing involves a minimum of waste. The Nunavut seal hunt easily meets all these qualifications.
 

Controversy

The Animal Rights Movement and Protest Industry

“The Inuit seal controversy is far from over…It is marked by the first deliberate attempt by Qallunaat (non Inuit; Europeans) to systematically alienate Inuit from the resources they have customarily depended on for their cultural independence”.

- Wenzel “Animal Rights, Human Rights: Ecology, Economy and Ideology in the Canadian Arctic” (1991)

HumaneNunavut supports animal-welfare legislation. The Inuit have always been connected to the environment, and respect the animals who have contributed to their survival for so many generations. However this harmony is threatened by radical animal-rights organizations that use the compelling image of the seal primarily for fund-raising purposes.

Life in the Arctic and the contemporary relationship Inuit have with the land can be difficult to imagine. Unfortunately, the carefully framed images and words provided by radical animal-rights organizations provoke a reaction that clouds the science and silences the voice of a people whose lifestyle has always been tied to the land. Environmentalism is a science and should not be used to diminish cultural diversity.
 

“A central tenet of that (animal rights) philosophy is that western man has set himself apart from the rest of creation by defining himself as ‘outside’ nature. But by disenfranchising the very people who still have a direct commitment to the land, the animal-rights philosophy facilitates the growing hegemony of the techno-industrial complex, widening rather than healing the rift between man and nature”.

– Herscovici “Second Nature: The Animal-Rights Controversy” (1985)

In recent years a rift has grown between animal rights groups and conservation groups. Conservation groups have a clear recognition of the realities of life in the wild. Responsible conservation does not preclude hunting of animals that belong to a thriving species, such as ringed seals.

When it was determined that conservation was not an issue with the seal hunt and claims of inhumane harvesting were found to be false, a number of environmental organizations withdrew from the anti-sealing protest, such as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Canada Audubon and the Ontario Humane Society. In fact the World Conservation Union (IUCN) has refused to accept radical animal rights organizations for membership. These organizations hurt the cause of real environmentalism in which humankind has a place.
 

“For Inuit, ecology, hunting and culture are synonymous. Sealskin, in a northern world colonized by Euro-Canadians, provide a small measure of independence from mines and oil wells, bureaucracy and good intentions”.

- Wenzel “Animal Rights, Human Rights: Ecology, Economy and Ideology in the Canadian Arctic” (1991)

 

 

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