It’s nearly spring and again the seal hunt is moving back into the news. This week, the provincial government gave $60,000 to a sealing group to pay for a campaign aimed at battling misconceptions about the industry that has been the object of decades of attacks by animal rights groups.
The timing has little to do with the spring hunt though. The push to tell our side of the sealing story has been launched ahead of Canada’s appeal in March of a World Trade Organization ruling to allow to stand the European Union’s ban on the importation of seal products.
Giving the money to the Seals and Sealing Network to spread the word is a small investment, but they have a big hill to climb to overcome all the misinformation that has been spread since the 1970s.
Animal rights groups build support and raise millions of dollars through spreading misinformation about one of the most regulated and humane culls in the world.
There are few markets left for our seal products and the opportunities keep getting smaller.
China was seen as a big hope for selling seal products, but little (more like nothing) has been forthcoming from that massive opportunity.
The federal government has been a rare and stoic backer of sealers and their industry, but for some reason, Ottawa politicians have chosen not to pursue the Chinese market with the same vigour.
That leaves sealers in a vise that seems to growing tighter every year. Sealers gear up for the hunt every year without knowing if their will be a market for their pelts and other products — or even what the price will be.
This latest attempt by the province is to be commended, but it appears a tad late to start an information campaign to sway the review by the WTO.
Sealers know they can count on their own for support, but international trade bodies have their own agendas. And sealers don’t count for much in their decisions.