Ellen DeGeneres is ‘hurting northern livelihoods’: Angry Inuk - APTN NewsAPTN News

Ellen DeGeneres is ‘hurting northern livelihoods’: Angry Inuk



Kathleen Martens
Kent Driscoll
APTN News
An Inuk artist and filmmaker is calling out a Hollywood celebrity for spreading ignorance about the seal hunt.

“Unfortunately the Ellen Show is still making statements that affect Inuit livelihoods and food security,” said Alethea Arnaquq-Baril on Twitter.

“I am an Inuit seal meat eater, and my fur is ethical, humane.”

Arnaquq-Baril produced the documentary “Angry Inuk” in 2016 to show the damage inflicted by anti-sealing groups supported by people like DeGeneres.

The groups protest the seal hunt every spring. In fact, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) held such a protest in Toronto Wednesday.

Earlier this week, DeGeneres celebrated on Instagram that India was banning sealskin.

Arnaquq-Baril says the online opposition spoils a special time of year for Nunavummiut who look forward to warmer weather, longer daylight and the opportunity to hunt whales and seal.

“You see another big anti-seal hunt campaign and another massive celebrity supporting their campaigns and it’s like a punch to the gut,” she said in an interview.

“At this time of joy in our lives it’s always tainted every year by anti-seal hunt protests. Every year.”

APTN News messaged DeGeneres and The Ellen DeGeneres Show for comment for this story and did not receive a response before deadline.

Seal is a staple in the Inuit diet and way of life.

Arnaquq-Baril, who’s posted a photo of herself wearing sealskin clothing on Twitter, says it’s one of the few resources left that Inuit can hunt, eat and use to make money by selling the skin or using in art or jewelry.

They might get $50 a skin now when they used to get up to $200, she added.

While that shrinking value may cheer DeGeneres and PETA, Arnaquq-Baril says celebrities should get all the facts before they champion a cause.

She says many vegans and vegetarians have apologized for their stand against seal hunting after watching her documentary she has screened around the world.

“When they see the film I’ve never had someone come up to me and say a horrible thing afterward,” she said.

“They understand that we live in a very different part of the world and it’s important for us to continue eating seal meat, wearing sealskin and selling it.”

Hunger and poverty is also part of life in Nunavut, where many families struggle to buy high-priced groceries shipped up from the south. And there are few good jobs.

APTN has documented these social conditions in several stories, including Wasting Away and Article 23.

As well, Arnaquq-Baril says there’s an element of racism in the anti-sealing campaign – whether animal rights groups and their supporters recognize it or not.

“To think that their food is normal and ours is weird and shouldn’t be eaten – that’s racist,” she said.

“Billions of hamburgers are eaten every single day when they choose to target Indigenous people.”

DeGeneres first spoke out against the seal hunt about 10 years ago. Some Inuit fought back online by posting photos of themselves with seals known as ‘sealfies’.

Since then, Arnaquq-Baril says DeGeneres must know her anti-seal words and actions are hurting real people. And because of that Arnaquq-Baril has decided she is no longer a fan.

“That’s willful harm onto Inuit communities,” she said.

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47 Responses to “Ellen DeGeneres is ‘hurting northern livelihoods’: Angry Inuk”

  1. Sunshinedance74@gmail.com'
    Kathy April 13, 2018 at 1:49 am #

    Hi I agree with Ellen actually my dream is that no more animal killing I’m a Animal lover period I DO NOT EAT MEAT animals they hve every right to be in this world without fearing for ttheir lives!
    Animals are very intelligent !
    I sent money every month to the wildlife. Animals hve no voice but I am their voices and blv me I will still fight for saving theses beautiful creatures!!!

    God bless to Ellen
    I’m on your side

    • jimd8646@gmail.com'
      Jim April 13, 2018 at 11:46 am #

      You and Ellen move to Nunavut. (Try to) grow yourself a nice garden. Spend the Winter clothing yourself and feeding yourself from what you can grow in the garden or using what limited, flown in supplies you can purchase at 2-5x what you currently pay for them… On a poverty-level income. Get back to us in the Spring and tell us how it went.

      • mfornataro@rogers.com'
        Maria Fornataro April 14, 2018 at 6:17 am #

        Agree with you Jim 100%. Rich celebrates had no clue. In this case their ignorance is obvious. Do not speak of, what you do not know Ellen.

      • lewiswalter73@gmail.com'
        Eric April 14, 2018 at 10:09 am #

        But I wouldn’t suggest staying to long. If the seals eat all the cod /caplin etc. They may become vegetarian and eat your freshly growing garden..

    • skyler.d.sutherland@gmail.com'
      Informed citizen April 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm #

      Wait until you see how companies commercialize cattle and chicken for consumption by a large majority of the population. That will definitely ruffle your feathers.

      Animals are not very intelligent, they are instinctive. Who’s on top of the food chain?

      If you want to protest for animal rights then find a commercial cattle farmer. See true horror.

    • rwbalnis@gmail.com'
      richard April 13, 2018 at 4:44 pm #

      what about those precious plants your eating who speaks for them . they are beautiful beings to and i find it offensive that you eat them… shame on you for killing something to feed yourself…

    • Tmf@gci.com'
      Mary April 13, 2018 at 5:46 pm #

      This is ignorants and lack of knowledge of the culture in the north. I live in Alaska and our native tribes live off the land. No waste and it feeds their family’s. It’s a hard life and not one of you uneducated people have a clue or could survive in the conditions they do!! Try and take there rights and their heritage!! I will stand by them as most will here in Alaska!! Stupid people u are!

    • byrdmoto@yahoo.com'
      Roberta Moto April 13, 2018 at 6:16 pm #

      So seal lives are more important than Inuit lives? How very racist to support oppression and genocide

    • squamih.noelle@gmail.com'
      Chenkwaliya April 14, 2018 at 5:17 am #

      Clueless…..

    • gramgram@hotmail.com'
      Alice April 14, 2018 at 6:23 am #

      Kathy Eskimo’s having been hunting and eating seals for years and years.This is their is how they survive in the north.I too do not want animals to suffer for the sake of a good steak or a leather coat.Eskimo’s have every right to feed and cloth there families. And another thing Ellen Degeneres is not the person to go to for info on this subject maybe go up north and live there for a week and find out yourself.

    • mane62rem@gmail.com'
      Urey Remble April 14, 2018 at 9:25 am #

      That’s your choice,that’s the Inuk, livelihood for centuries,You still got FREIND,that eat meat,-COWS, CHICKEN,DUCKS,PIGS,,ETC.YEAH ELLEN A MILLIONAIRE,SHE CAN EAT WHAT SHE PLEASE,,GO TO FANCY RESTAURANT,SET IN HER HOUSE,AND CRITICIZE, OTHER PEOPLE WAY OF LIFE,SHE IS A HYPOCRITE,!!!

    • taro.j.foley@gmail.com'
      Taro April 14, 2018 at 11:38 am #

      There is plenty of evidence that plants are sentient..They communicate to each other through complex systems and can notify plants in the area when under attack from defoliating insects..oh and what happened to all the animals that were displaced due to large scale agriculture? or all the mice and rats and birds that get sucked up and killed by the combine during harvest?? Take a look at yourself and your own actions before attacking someone else’s way of living. The seal hunt is EXTREMELY ethical, you are just unwilling to read through the propaganda and pick out the real facts..Thanks for continuing ignorance

    • Clarussasmith47@hotmail.come'
      Clarissasmith April 14, 2018 at 3:57 pm #

      Every thing we eat is a living thing! Should the people of the north who live in a snow covered land where anything seldom grows stop living????

    • katherine.e.stewart@ryerson.ca'
      Katherine Stewart April 14, 2018 at 4:28 pm #

      Perhaps instead of sending your money to “the animals” you could instead send it to help out citizens in Nunavut who are forced to use food banks in order to eat. The seal hunt is one of the few ways in which they can supplement their diet and income.

    • Qdobaqueen@hormail.com'
      Lynette April 15, 2018 at 3:23 am #

      As an Alaskan, you are what we call ignorant Kathy. In Alaska we maintain our way of life because it is our culture and we have voices. We just want people to understand how we live here

    • rolwhite52@hotmail.com'
      Roland April 15, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

      What does you eat all vegetables wil i agree with those inuk people because i like seal skin products and it also helps to make money to feed our families but you people doesn’t need it i guess

    • jemimary@cbc.ca'
      Jemimary April 15, 2018 at 9:22 pm #

      I feel the same way … ms Canada

  2. cljackson4@hotmail.com'
    Catherine Jackson April 13, 2018 at 3:30 am #

    It is amazing how we all too often see only what we want to.
    I have definitely looked into the eyes of an animal and thought it was so cute “I”
    wouldn’t eat/kill it.
    However, if I had to choose between children’s nourishment or starving. .. I am taking out the seal. Many celebrities have no or little idea the conditions many Inuit and First Nations people live in Canada.
    All too often humanity pays closer attention to animals than children.
    If Ellen wants to make commentary about a subject that has ramifications on the potential starvation of children, maybe she should fund the families that are affecting instead of the daily prizes. Send her pictures of your children so she sees the faces of those affected. Children’s eyes, round, dark, and innocent just like a baby seal’s.
    I wonder if any of the furniture in her home or set is leather. I do not want anymore animals extinct. However, does a seal have more feelings than a cow when it’s dying? If she gets a rat in her home, does somebody kill it? When it’s dead does it get thrown away? Isn’t that a waste? There is someone in the world, starving right now, who would take it and cook it for dinner.

    “If” they had the Choice.

    Ellen has a Choice.

    God’s Creatures

    • Jackmanhaliburton@gmail.com'
      Jackman April 13, 2018 at 11:50 pm #

      I totally agree. We need to feed our kids somehow! ! I don’t agree with it being a sport even with deer. .. my dad and brother were hunters. Every parents first responsibility is there children. I feel bad for the poverty. . It’s not right or fair. People just need to get the real information. . I’m an animal lover here…but I’m also a person lover.. there’s no wining

  3. d.m.Terry@hotmail.com'
    Didi April 13, 2018 at 2:33 pm #

    No more Ellen Degenerate! I will not support her! She is wrong!

    • mfornataro@rogers.com'
      Maria Fornataro April 14, 2018 at 6:19 am #

      Agreed Didi!

  4. info@torihouse.net'
    Sad Eskimo April 13, 2018 at 3:31 pm #

    This is when a New Yorker who does not know that many people live in below 45 degree Celsius, is calling the shot of what those people ought to be eating. Probably, she thought we have Wal-Marts, Zellers, Eton, Sears stores in the North. The seal meat which sustain and keep many kids healthy in the North is what this one wants to ban. What a total display of ignorance. I guess Ellen D. must be feeding on Chinese plastic meat and fish. We have children who are afraid of where their next meals will come from, but Ellen D. instead of working and looking for ways to assist those kids, she is jamboree with her music and alternative life style. Probably, she needs to take a trip outside New York to understand that those red blood meats and steak she enjoy come from animals and not from laboratories and not plastic. Seal fur forms the warmest winter gear for those who live in the North.

  5. a.r.huntinghawk@gmail.com'
    Annie April 13, 2018 at 3:36 pm #

    It’s their way of life. Good luck Ellen it’s not going to happen. You are a fine lady I admire very much. I ask that you research more into their livelihood and you will understand.
    They need the seal. The seal need them in it’s own way. A balance of creation that cannot be disturbed.
    If there is too much seal they will starve and die out. Don’t oppress an innocent nation. You are of two spirit’s yourself created and balanced between a woman and man spirit. Nothing can change that about you and no one has a right to try. Change your mind and understand you can’t change ppl or have a right to try. I Ellen.

  6. dinnyoconnor@hotmail.com'
    Jennofur OConnor April 13, 2018 at 4:03 pm #

    I call bull. The commercial seal hunt (exactly what Ellen said) is the target … not indigenous peoples.

    • byrdmoto@yahoo.com'
      Roberta Moto April 13, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

      The ban on sealskin effects Inuit. Just like the ban on elephant ivory financially impacts Alaska Inupiat.

    • hank.williams@rogers.com'
      Hank April 14, 2018 at 11:24 am #

      You can call whatever you want. If you choose to stick your head in the sand and ignore the realities of living in the North then you are nothing more than an ignorant fool who chooses not to be educated about the costs involved. Go back to watching your television in your comfortable home.

  7. kimberlyw@petaf.org'
    KimMarie April 13, 2018 at 4:08 pm #

    I am glad that Ellen publicized India’s ban on seal fur. I believe that it is wrong to kill any sentient being therefore I do not condone the seal hunt. Just because something was once a tradition does not mean that it is humane now. Speaking of humane, there is no such thing as humane fur or meat, period.

    • squamish.noelle@gmail.com'
      Chenwkwaliya April 14, 2018 at 5:18 am #

      Clueless and privileged…

    • byrdmoto@yahoo.com'
      Roberta Moto April 14, 2018 at 3:36 pm #

      The definition of white privilege- “your way is wrong, do things my way, God is on our side, etc. Etc. Etc.”

  8. twopinkdaisies@yahoo.com'
    Lucy Post April 13, 2018 at 4:15 pm #

    Arnaquq-Baril’s anger is misplaced. Animal rights groups campaign—and rightfully so—against the commercial East Coast seal slaughter, not the Inuit hunt. The commercial seal slaughter is carried out by non-aboriginal fishers and accounts for about 97 percent of seals killed in Canada. It is an off-season cash grab and has nothing to do with the Inuit hunt.

  9. Dredgirl@comcast.net'
    Medusa April 13, 2018 at 4:27 pm #

    Let the people do what they have done for centuries. Not our culture. It is not our life. It is not the way we eat. It is not the way we dress. Leave it alone. Instead of trying to ban it for the indigenous people ban it for those who would travel to kill seal for profit. If you choose not to eat or wear fur that is your right. It is NOT your right to dictate to others what they put in their mouths. Ellen needs to look at it from another perspective.

  10. shapiro1@cox.net'
    Craig Shapiro April 13, 2018 at 4:50 pm #

    She’s talking about the commercial seal hunt. Chill,.

  11. HeatherMoore1@comcast.net'
    Heather April 13, 2018 at 5:21 pm #

    I’m with Ellen. There’s no excuse for such cruelty–and there’s certainly no suchthing as “ethical” fur. Of course, I have a much bigger problem with greedy humans who kill seals for commercial reasons, not for subsistance.

  12. neehuisjackie@gmail.com'
    Jackie Hookey Neehuis April 13, 2018 at 6:00 pm #

    She and others should due the research and know the facts before making such sweeping statements. Very disappointed in her regarding this matter. I have sent her truthful information regarding the seal hunt and how these comments from celebrities have affected our Northern folk and Newfoundlanders however nothing I have sent has ever been opened.

  13. mahkokhan@live.com'
    mahkokhan April 13, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

    yes i agree with both parties. the native inuit should be able to continue his or her traditional life without guilt nor harrassment! however, the commercial seal hunt must be terminated as an affront to moral decency. i find it hard to believe that anyone can support such an offensive and cruel action of beating baby seals to death on the ice. causing enourmous amounts of pain and suffering to the seals and those that have to bear witness to this obscenity!

  14. alliedkat@gmail.com'
    AMD April 13, 2018 at 6:49 pm #

    In response to this comment, “Billions of hamburgers are eaten every single day when they choose to target Indigenous people,” I believe this article is very ill-informed. One of the central beliefs that an animal rights organization like PETA champions is the removal of meat, eggs and dairy from one’s diet. Believe me, they’re attacking those beef-producing companies, too. More so, when we’re faced with the current (dire) food and environmental landscape of today (species going extinct, global warming, climate change), I can’t support the killing of these seals.

  15. Rsleamon@gmail.com'
    Shawn April 13, 2018 at 8:11 pm #

    Actions like this based on inaccurate information threatens livelihood on many nothern indigenous aboriginals.

    Myself and 13 others are out of work because of bans for seal products has wiped out our markets. 13 families in one community are with out their main income of producing seal fur products because of bans like this.
    Now governments around the globe are looking to impose a cull on the overpopulation of seals to reduce the negative impact the increase in seal population is having on fish stocks in our oceans…
    A cull is paying people to go kill seals and not harvest or pocess them…that is a waste.
    With a sustainable harvest the meat, omega 3 oil and fur products are produced and reducing seal population at the same time creating income for borh the seal hunter, fisherperson of other species and for those employed by secondary processors….
    PETA makes its money and livelihood by perpetuating lies and in accurate information that causes misinformed leaders in other countries to make decisions based in misinformation.

    Time to ban The Ellen Show.

  16. rdbercier@gmail.com'
    Roseanne April 13, 2018 at 11:44 pm #

    I so agree that celebrities and PETA er el, so need to be educated on our northern people’s way of life.
    The majority of our Inuit Peoples solely, rely upon Sustainable Living. That means it’s culturaly rooted and/ or inate in their way of being human.
    When one speaks out of their ass, one should be prepared to be called ignorant and unlearned.
    We should all be allowed to celebrate our ways and our rights of passage. Leave the seasonal hunts alone.

  17. candiceandtiger@gmail.com'
    Carter April 14, 2018 at 1:03 am #

    Did she say anything about indigenous people eating seal?

  18. candiceandtiger@gmail.com'
    Carter April 14, 2018 at 1:05 am #

    She did not say anything about banning indigenous people from using seal. Y’all are conflating . A lot.

  19. nmforde@gmail.com'
    Nancy Forde April 14, 2018 at 10:38 am #

    Everyone is trying to defend Ellen Degeneres by claiming she’s only targeting commercial seal hunt on East Coast, but everything that is negative against seal hunting STILL AFFECT INUIT and their livelihoods. You can’t use your voice to reach millions about an east coast commercial seal hunt and expect that those millions will inform or educate themselves to support INUIT seal hunting on the global market. This is a nation that includes people who voted Trump in; many people your voice reaches will not take the time to learn or differentiate between anti-East coast commercial seal hunt and Inuit seal hunt, never mind that globally the market will affect Inuit. Stop defending Ellen by saying she’s not targeting the Inuit seal hunt; she IS whether she’d like to believe she isn’t or not. The backlash against seal hunting IS targeting Inuit (I see it on social media every day Inuit are being targeted and harassed). And Inuit see it on the global market when they try to sell their goods. Ms. Degeneres might do the responsible thing which is to watch Ms. Arnaquq-Baril’s film, educate herself, realize that ANY anti-seal hunt campaign definitely spills over to affect Inuit lives every day and their ability to keep feeding their children and providing as they have for centuries on their lands. Stop telling yourselves it’s ok to ban the seal hunt, it won’t affect the Inuit if we say it’s only about the commercial seal hunt. It still affects Inuit food security which Ms. Degeneres might research. Easiest way is watch the film first. She influences millions who will not and have not informed themselves. Someone posted a photo of a package of 10 Five Alive juice boxes for children’s lunch on shelf of store in the Arctic which cost $45 and some change in Clyde River, Nunavut. Shipped foods to Arctic are super expensive. Store bought items are outrageously so. Inuit depend on their hunt for their livelihood and to provide for their children. You cannot expect a negative campaign against seal hunting to affect only the commercial hunt. Greenpeace has met with Inuit and come around to stop their campaign because they realized they were harming Inuit lives. Ellen Degeneres IS harming Inuit lives whether she’d like to go on believing she isn’t. Anyone who supports her about her choice to not publicly reverse her position on anti-seal hunt and realize the harm she is doing is knowingly harming Inuit lives. Anyone (including Ms. Degeneres) not educating themselves to realize if they’re anti-seal hunt out “East”, the world’s reaction isn’t going to differentiate by having that backlash not affect the north is harming Inuit. A price going down on seal meat or seal fur on the global market does not differentiate: it still punishes and affects Inuit livelihood. Watch this important film and realize the harm commenters like Kathy above who blindly support their clearly uninformed idol/celebrity are doing. Ms. Degeneres, I’ve admired you so long. I’m a loud advocate for the LGBTQ2S community online and I’ve loved your spirit and show so long, but I am so disappointed you are not watching this film, screening it! educating yourself better and others and realizing your words and massive reach DOES HARM INUIT LIVES and livelihoods. I cannot support you on this. I’m so disappointed you won’t get on the right side of this campaign like Greenpeace has educated themselves to do. Invite Ms. Arnaquq-Baril into your show. Watch her incredible, informative film. You have the power to try to reverse the damage you are doing to Inuit livelihood.

  20. nmforde@gmail.com'
    Nancy Forde April 14, 2018 at 10:54 am #

    Everyone is trying to defend Ellen Degeneres by claiming she’s only targeting commercial seal hunt on East Coast, but everything that is negative against seal hunting STILL AFFECTS INUIT and their livelihoods. You can’t use your voice to reach millions about an east coast commercial seal hunt and expect that those millions will inform or educate themselves to support INUIT seal hunting on the global market. This is a nation that includes people who voted Trump in; many people her voice reaches will NOT take the time to learn or differentiate between anti-East coast commercial seal hunt and Inuit seal hunt, never mind that globally the market will affect Inuit. Stop defending Ellen by saying she’s not targeting the Inuit seal hunt; she IS whether she’d like to believe she isn’t or not. The backlash against seal hunting IS targeting Inuit (I see it on social media every day Inuit are being targeted and harassed). And Inuit see it on the global market when they try to sell their goods. Ms. Degeneres might do the responsible thing which is to watch Ms. Arnaquq-Baril’s film, educate herself, realize that ANY anti-seal hunt campaign definitely spills over to affect Inuit lives every day and their ability to keep feeding their children and providing as they have for centuries on their lands. Stop telling yourselves it’s ok to ban the seal hunt, it won’t affect the Inuit if we say it’s only about the commercial seal hunt. It still affects Inuit food security which Ms. Degeneres might research. Easiest way is watch the film first. She influences millions who will not and have not informed themselves. Someone posted a photo of a package of 10 Five Alive juice boxes for children’s lunch on shelf of store in the Arctic which cost $45 and some change in Clyde River, Nunavut. Shipped foods to Arctic are super expensive. Store bought items are outrageously so. Inuit depend on their hunt for their livelihood and to provide for their children. You cannot expect a negative campaign against seal hunting to affect only the commercial hunt. Greenpeace has met with Inuit and come around to stop their campaign because they realized they were harming Inuit lives. Ellen Degeneres IS harming Inuit lives whether she’d like to go on believing she isn’t. Anyone who supports her about her choice to not publicly reverse her position on anti-seal hunt and realize the harm she is doing is knowingly harming Inuit lives. Anyone (including Ms. Degeneres) not educating themselves to realize if they’re anti-seal hunt out “East”, the world’s reaction isn’t going to differentiate by having that backlash not affect the north is harming Inuit. A price going down on seal meat or seal fur on the global market does not differentiate: it still punishes and affects Inuit livelihood. Watch this important film and realize the harm commenters like Kathy above who blindly support their clearly uninformed idol/celebrity are doing. Ms. Degeneres, I’ve admired you so long. I’m a loud advocate for the LGBTQ2S community online and I’ve loved your spirit and show so long, but I am so disappointed you are not watching this film, screening it! educating yourself better and others and realizing your words and massive reach DOES HARM INUIT LIVES and livelihoods. I cannot support you on this. I’m so disappointed you won’t get on the right side of this campaign like Greenpeace has educated themselves to do. Invite Ms. Arnaquq-Baril into your show. Watch her incredible, informative film. You have the power to try to reverse the damage you are doing to Inuit livelihood.

  21. buffett_123@hotmail.com'
    Heather buffett April 14, 2018 at 11:20 pm #

    In my option,people who kill these beautiful seals have no level of shame,to look into there eyes and kill them and there babies should ne ashamed of themselves,leave them alone they do no harm to you,so Ellen i am proud you stood strong.Thank you

  22. s.lewis@nf.sympatico.ca'
    Stephen Lewis April 15, 2018 at 6:06 pm #

    Until Ellen DeGeneres (and her ilk) becomes educated and stops promoting groups whose prime motive is to garner vast sums of money on the backs of and to the detriment of others, I shall stop watching her show. Furthermore, I shall no longer purchase products from her advertisers and will endeavour to persuade others to do the same. In correspondence to those advertisers, I have pointed out to them that DeGeneres’ biased and uneducated statements are casting a black shadow on their products and businesses.

  23. Stix.alogut@gmail.com'
    Angry inuk April 16, 2018 at 1:03 am #

    Once a big fan….after what she said and did no lost a fan there…. this angries me. I eat seal i crave it all the time i have a pair of seal skin mittens that keeps my hand warm i have a pair of kamiks (seal skin boots) that keeps my feet warm all winter. That saying she says end of her show ‘be kind to one another’ real hypocrite!!!!

  24. scottbc@me.com'
    Scott April 16, 2018 at 3:23 pm #

    Saddens and angers me that people cannot see past their privilege. The Inuit seal hunt IS affected by the ban on seal skins. Indigenous communities have lived for centuries on traditional hunting – and they should change that because……? Because some highly privileged folks who have access to fruit and vegetables in their temperate climates think it is morally wrong to survive? Stop commercial sealing, YES. Stop trophy hunting, YES. But leave indigenous people the choice to continue their traditional way of life. And if you disagree, then please travel to our beautiful North THEN tell me you know what you are talking about.

  25. jim.winter@nf.sympatico.ca'
    Jim Winter April 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm #

    DEAR ELLEN,

    It saddens me to see that you have bought into the vicious propaganda of the animal rights corporations and have both financially and verbally supported their attacks on the lives of thousands of rural Canadians whose sealing contributes a part of their annual livelihoods People whose earnings to support their families are derived from a number of activities which include farming, fishing, logging and other rural activities as well as sealing. They rarely have salaries and it is the sum total of these earnings that allow them to live in their communities and support their families.

    The population of the seals we kill are not now nor ever have been listed on any reputable list of threatened or endangered species. The Harp seal population has more than tripled to about 7.5 million animals in slightly over 4 decades. None of the other seal species hunted in Canada are either threatened or endangered and all populations are growing. All the seals we kill are fully weaned and independent of their dames. Yes, some are young but that is an anthropomorphic construct beloved of urbanites but meaningless in nature. Seals are not helicopter parents. We use everything we can from the seals we kill and what we cannot use we leave on the ice or in the water to return to the eco system as food for birds, fish, and crustaceans. We are so green Kermit would blush.

    It saddens me because as a gay person you undoubtably suffered from the outrageous propaganda that is employed against all gay people as they grow though childhood to adulthood. I would have hoped that this experience would have made you more sensitive to the dangers of propaganda and aware of the effects of it on people’s lives.

    The propaganda aimed at gay people is no different in kind or intent than the propaganda aimed at sealers whether they be Canadian, American, Namibian, Russian, British or European, or whether they be Caucasian, African or Aboriginal. All of these people legally hunt seals. The only difference is in the content not in the intention, which is to hurt the recipient and to further a worldview that is not the view of the vast majority of society.

    As a gay person you are no doubt aware that such propaganda, whether aimed at gays or sealers, is based in malicious mistruths (lies), misconstrued interpretations of scientific or religious texts, outrageous statements about these people’s alleged behaviour. It is a general presentation that portrays these people as being “bad” and thus worthy of condemnation by the propagandists and all “reasonable” people who are “enlightened” by the propaganda. Of course the subtext always is: please support us financially so we can continue our campaign to marginalize or outlaw these people.

    You may think that because you are a vegan that I would be against your animal free lifestyle but you would be wrong. I (we) accept that some people prefer to live a vegan lifestyle (including in my own family) and that is certainly their right. I certainly do not feel we have any right to tell you, or them, otherwise: it is your (their) right to make such a choice.

    Conversely, it is our right to choose not to be vegan and to use the resources available to us to earn a living and feed our families.
    It saddens me that as a victim of propaganda for being gay you are now becoming a victimizer by supporting a propaganda campaign, no different than the one you suffered, when you support corporations like HSUS, PETA and the rest of the animal rights alphabet. Animal rights is not animal welfare. It is not animal conservation.

    I am sure we both agree that animal welfare is a very important aspect of a civilized society. To make a point: animal welfare on a personal level would be looking after the welfare of our own pets whereas animal rights is, according to these corporations, not owning a pet as that is slavery.

    The fact that animal rights is a view held by a very small segment of western society explains why these animal rights corporations use their vast (hundreds of millions of dollars) financial resources and celebrity friends to target politicians in the USA, Canada, Russia, and the EU (and its individual member states) to ban our products and deny millions of citizens in all these countries their right to choose for themselves: completely anti democratic. If someone chooses a vegan lifestyle that is their right but when their fellow citizens are denied the right of choice though the actions of politicians co-opted by the money and propaganda of these animal rights corporations that is undemocratic in the extreme.

    If the Indian Government ever changes the way gay people are treated in that country it would truly be worth a “tweet” but a meaningless ban of a product we do not sell them is hypocritical and merely a fundraising “tweet” for animal rights corporations by you.

    Sadly but sincerely,

    Jim Winter

    Ex CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) journalist, ACTRA (Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists) award winning documentary writer, and founding president of the Canadian Sealers Association.

    PS: It might interest you to know that the city of St. John’s and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador were the first governments in Canada to raise the “gay pride” flag on official buildings to support gay athletes at the Sochi games in light of the anti gay legislation put in place by the Russian government.

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