Canadian restaurants that serve seal come in for criticism

“It’s no worse than veal”: The handful of restaurants in Canada that serve seal got a boost last month, when the European Union banned imports of commercially caught Canadian seal products. Canada allows two different hunts each year: a small one by Inuits in the Arctic that pretty much no one objects to, and a much larger, fur-driven hunt on the Atlantic coast that produces all those horrible images of cute baby seals getting clubbed to death. The seal served in restaurants comes from the latter, and many think it’s (ahem) in poor taste to serve it. The meat doesn’t sound very yummy, either: the reporter describes seal tartare as “both gamy and fishy, with the consistency of shredded pork.” (New York Times) Fishermen are allowed to kill 280,000 seals out of a herd that Canadian officials estimate at 5.6 million — not a lot. Like the foie gras debate, seal meat seems a distraction: sure it’s objectionable, but it’s a drop of blood in the ocean of inhumane animal treatment: what about the 60 million hogs in this country living in concrete-floored factories that never get a breath of fresh air? Pigs just aren’t as cute as seals?

2 Responsesto “Canadian restaurants that serve seal come in for criticism”

  1. Hanlie says:

    I have to agree with you on that last point.  Recently someone on twitter was freaked out from watching a program on TV where people were eating antelope steaks.  I asked how eating antelope was any different from eating chicken or pork.  She said antelope are for looking at,  not for eating! 

    I believe that animals exist for their own reasons, not for us to eat.  When I do eat meat, I opt for game or free range lamb.  At least I know the animals had a good life!

  2. Sheryl says:

    The most recent fuss came when our Governor-General attended a traditional Inuit ceremony and ate raw seal meat. The folks opposed to the seal hunt didn’t/couldn’t seem to tell the difference.

    I often wonder what would happen to some of these organizations if Canada did ban the seal hunt… given that their annual fund raising campaigns centre around misleading images of fluffy white seals with big eyes, and somehow convincing people that cyoote animals have more right to life than a chicken or a cow, maybe Canada should create a 5 or 10 year moratorium to kill off the preachy animal rights groups. (Of course, by then the harp seal population will have migrated south in search of food and have reached the shores of Cape Cod or Long Island.)