Monday, June 02, 2008

Thanks very much, sister Aaju: I'd like some raw, with soya sauce and wasabe, please.

What looks gruesome to urbanites, says Aaju Peter, an Inuit from Iqaluit, in the Nunavut Territory, looks “delicious” and “natural” to her. She also politely suggests that Europeans look first to their own boar and deer hunts, not to mention their slaughterhouses. And fair play to brother Jim Winter of the Canadian Sealers Association, too, who says: “I'll be damned if I let them sons of bitches write my epitaph as a barbarian.”

Long live Nunavut. Long live Newfoundland. Support Our Swilers.

17 Comments:

Blogger kurt said...

I don't suppose vegetarianism is an option in the far north?

12:18 AM  
Blogger Jura Watchmaker said...

Pointing out the hypocrisy in others doesn't make one's own actions acceptable.

What economic benefit does sealing bring? In the past I've seen some figures on this, but haven't got them to hand. But I do recall the conclusion was that the benefit is insignificant. And it's not a cull that can be justified on environmental grounds.

Those of us with functioning grey matter can see through the hypocrisy of European townies with a conscience reacting in horror to film of Canadians whacking cuddly little seals over the head on the ice while ignoring the horrors of, say, the pig farms in their own countries. But support the Canadian sealers? Why? I honestly don't see that a good case has been made for this. But I am listening.

By the way, I have eaten seal meat in Norway, and with no qualms. Norway is a country that, along with Iceland and Japan, is attempting to create an artificial market in whale products in order to justify its continued whaling activities in the face of almost universal opposition. And the same specious arguments are being trotted out there as in Canada.

2:54 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"Pointing out the hypocrisy in others doesn't make one's own actions acceptable."

But when one's own actions are perfectly defensible ("Acceptable"? To whom?), it is quite proper to point out the raging hypocrisy of people who would prevent you from persisting in one's preferred way of life.

"What economic benefit does sealing bring? . . . I do recall the conclusion was that the benefit is insignificant. And it's not a cull that can be justified on environmental grounds."

With respect, Dr. Sedgemore, the first mistake you're making is the presumption that relative economic significance is relevant to the question of whether the degenerate and delicate sensibilities of townies should be deciding how outport and northern people earn their living.

What you do is economically irrelevant, Francis. Shall we stop you from doing it and deny you your way of life?

But yes, as a matter of fact, sealing is economically important to sections of the independent rural working class in Quebec, the Maritimes, Nunavut and Newfoundland, where mangos and soy beans don't grow all that well (contact the Sealers Association and they will point you to the relevant data). And sealing would be more important as a source of real wealth - seals are a healthy and flourishing resource - were it not for bourgeois hippies.

Regardless of its relative economic importance, the seal hunt is extremely important to the domestic economies of fishing families at that time of year when there isn't much fishing available, and seals are also an important source of food to northern peoples like the Inuit.

The second mistake you're making - and this may be the bigger one, but it is defintely a huge mistake - is that the seal hunt requires justification as some sort of "cull" that is required on "environmental" grounds, as though we were talking about rats in London.

The harvestable surplus of harp seals in Newfoundland alone (ten times more seals than Newfoundlanders) is absolutely massive, it's growing, and the quotas are eminently sustainable.

Which see: http://tinyurl.com/3zj6xm

8:58 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

By the way:

"Norway is a country that, along with Iceland and Japan, is attempting to create an artificial market in whale products in order to justify its continued whaling activities in the face of almost universal opposition. And the same specious arguments are being trotted out there as in Canada."

So really, all this 'Gee, show me the data' is just a pose? The arguments in defence of our swilers are "specious"?

I will argue for the Norwegian minke whale hunt as well, any day. And I will win.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Now that's a shore lunch.

The women would prepare the carcasses, saving the eyeballs - a special treat, for the kids and any visitors.

The next delicacy offered up is the liver - and you haven't eaten until uou have had seal liver, sliced very thin and still warm.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Jura Watchmaker said...

Terry, you started this with a headline which is saying to the world: "Go on, have a go at me, if ye fookin dare!" Well, I'm not spoiling for a fight here, as it's not a subject about which I am especially passionate. But I'm certainly not going to ignore the provocation.

The point about hypocrisy is general, not specific, as was my comment overall. Your mistake is to confuse morality and real life (/irony_off).

You're a socialist, which means that you believe in collective action and community responsibility. And community is both a local and international concept.

A defence based on "preferred way of life" is no defence at all if one accepts that these core tenets. It is the kind of argument based on gut instincsts put forward by so-called "right libertarians".

Economically irrelevant? Maybe, maybe not. As a purchaser of meat products my actions are surely economically relevant. I'm not convinced that the European Union should be banning the import of this, that or whatever, and you will never find me defending this protectionist behemoth. But it is perfectly legitimate for the organisations of civil society to actively persuade people to take particular courses of action, or dissuade them from others.

I'm not going to comment on the economics of sealing as I'm not qualified to do so, and haven't the time to read up on the subject in sufficient detail.

The Norwegian arguments in defence of whaling are specious, as virtually all my Norwegian friends acknowledge (I know the country very well). Even those Noggies who despise foreign environmentalists and their steaming hypocrisy. The Norwegian whalers use science as a justification, but this is total bollocks. Why can't they be honest and argue that killing whales for meat is no different from killing cows?

9:53 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"Your mistake is to confuse morality and real life."

That's no mistake. It's a demand.

". . .collective action and community responsibility. And community is both a local and international concept. . .A defence based on "preferred way of life" is no defence at all if one accepts that these core tenets."

That's rubbish. The collective action I would call for in the matter of the subject of this post is solidarity with the swilers against the irrational objections to a sustainable harvest of the surplus of a healthy resource. That's rock bottom line. It's not just theoretical, it's real, and it's moral, and it's the necessary position arising from every principle established by international collective action on sustainable resource use and marine conservation (see RIO, UNEP, Brundtland, UNESCO,etc.).

"But it is perfectly legitimate for the organisations of civil society to actively persuade people to take particular courses of action, or dissuade them from others."

Precisely. What matters is the correct action, the moral action, the right action, and action consistent with hard-won international covenants. There's a deeper hypocrisy at work among the Euronumbskulls here. If we're serious about protecting the conditions that allow people to live sustainably from the natural resources of the ecosystems within which they live, it means sucking it up, acting like adults, and supporting the swilers.

And that also means supporting the Norewegian minke whale hunt.

"The Norwegian whalers use science as a justification, but this is total bollocks."

If you really believe that, then you have no idea what you're talking about. No one questions the science supporting the sustainability of the Norwegian minke whale hunt, not even the obstructionists at the International Whaling Commission.

"Why can't they be honest and argue that killing whales for meat is no different from killing cows?"

They are honest, they do argue that, and it is no different - except the whale hunt is more humane.

12:57 PM  
Blogger IceClass said...

"I don't suppose vegetarianism is an option in the far north?"

So what if it is or isn't?
The UNFAO has recently reacted with alarm to the discovery that the majority of the world's food comes from something like less than a dozen crops and four species of animal.
clearly we need to expand our palate and choices not reduce them.

I'm so sick of opening my newspaper to read the daily drivel from the breathless yuppie "locavore" and his 100 mile diet.
No one seems to think these hippies need to eat free of the "taint" of money or the market.
On the contrary, they organize local food markets and exalt folks to pay more for their food.
Then you find it's the same clowns getting their knickers in a knot over sealing or trapping or whale eating and blowing the northern food production system sideways into hell while pushing people from healthy foods and lifestyles to mass produced pork chop culture.
People who practice the 100 mile diet as a matter of course and culture.


In my porch freezer, I have caribou, muskox, seal, beluga whale skin, clams, a goose (fresh two days ago), mussels, char and Greenland turbot.
None of this is "free" and none of it is "exotic".
All of it is more or less local.

Support the swilers yes but more importantly turn your back on the animal prote$t industry's campaigns of vilification for fun and profit instead of cooperation and lasting networks based on ecological processes and political realities.
It's the cooperative bit -among a host of other things that Jura dude seems to miss.

"Norway is a country that, along with Iceland and Japan, is attempting to create an artificial market in whale products..."

*Chortle*

Paul Watson needs a bloody good slap!


Terry,
Might I ask you for a quick impression of the state of "wildlife reporting" in the mainstream media these days?

3:09 PM  
Blogger Jura Watchmaker said...

No one questions the science supporting the sustainability of the Norwegian minke whale hunt,...

That's not what I mean, and you know it.

They are honest, they do argue that,...

The Norwegians do not argue in those terms. The more numbskully among them go around wearing t-shirts with "We kill whales for fun", and think they're being funny.

Sorry, but I'll not support the swilers. Just like there's no way I'll support calls for a restoration of fox-hunting with hounds in the UK. Even though the Countryside Alliance is right in claiming that the Labour government that brought in the ban is hostile to rural interests. Having had my fill over the years of townie holidaymakers telling me how I should live my life, including have a go at me for shooting rabbits for the pot, I support the Countryside Alliance on most things.

Paul Watson needs a bloody good slap!

That may be so. He's not at sea all the time, and I'm sure he wouldn't be too difficult to find.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

"That's not what I mean, and you know it."

That's what you said. Why wouldn't I think it was what you meant?

And do you seriously mean to equate gaggles of toffs at hounds with working fishermen and hunters?

And since you decided to make a big deal of this, and you've finally come around to admitting you don't support the seal hunt, why not at least tell us why?

5:52 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

By the way. . .

"The Norwegians do not argue in those terms."

Yes, they do. More than one Lofoten whaler has made that very case to me, as has the High North Alliance.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Iceclass:

The state of "wildlife reporting" is getting better, and getting worse. I think the ratios relate to the senility and death of animal-rights hippies.

6:01 PM  
Blogger Jura Watchmaker said...

It's not about the sustainability of the hunt; it probably is sustainable, in the shorter term at least. But there are arguments over the counting methodologies, and the subsidy charges continue. No, it's the silly claim that hunting whales is necessary for scientific research into cetacean health and demographics. This is similar in a way to the old argument that the seals are pinching all the cod, which I understand is no longer used following pressure from Greenpeace and government scientists on the DFO.

And do you seriously mean to equate gaggles of toffs at hounds with working fishermen and hunters?

The hunters are increasingly rural working class – Britain's most politically isolated – not toffs.

Why don't I actively support the seal hunt? Because I regard it as an activity that does nothing but serve short-term political objectives and polarise opinion. It's political dick-waving.

Wasn't there a poll conducted in '05 which showed that 69% of Canadians were totally opposed to the hunt? I know that majorities are not always right, whether they be local or national (I recently re-read Ibsen's Folkefiende), and it's a stronger position than I would take in their place. Hippies.

Try and convince me otherwise. I'm always open to evidence-based arguments.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

I have to say, Francis, that I am not happy with this exchange. I really expected rather sterner stuff from you.

I'm obviously not going to be able to convince you of anything in these matters. You've made your mind up, on the shakiest of grounds, and in the absence of evidence. You now assert that a crucial component of the annual income of 6,000 fishermen, mostly Newfoundlanders, who earn roughly $16 million from the seals at a critical time of year when they'd otherwise be on the dole, is really just politics, polarization and "political dick-waving" and comparable to afternoons at hounds in the English countryside.

You want me to convince you otherwise? I've shown you to be wrong in every argument you've raised so far (and now you're also outrageously wrong in suggesting that the Norwegian whale hunt is claimed to be "necessary for scientific research into cetacean health and demographics"; I think you're confusing Japan with Norway or something).

You haven't raised a single argument against the seal hunt that is based on evidence. All my arguments are based on evidence.

This could go on all day, and I don't have the time.

9:40 AM  
Blogger Jura Watchmaker said...

I've shown you to be wrong in every argument you've raised...

You've done absolutely no such thing, Terry, and this exchange began with bluster in your original post. So far we've both given anecdotal accounts. We've also tossed the odd number into the discussion, but not discussed them in context.

And now you're stooping to condescension.

As for the English farmworkers, hunting provides a part of their livelihood. But in most cases this is but a small percentage of their income, and it is not beyond them to diversify and move into other revenue-raising areas of activity. As many are doing, creative souls that they are.

No, I don't have the time either; this 'debate' is too polarised to go anywhere.

10:09 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

I have done every such thing, Francis, and you know it. You've been factually wrong in every one of your comments. Now I'm beginning to wonder about whether you're just high or something.

The "bluster" in the original post? What would that be? The "Support Our Swilers" bit or the rest - which was verbatim from a dry account in the Economist?

You started out in opposition to the seal hunt without saying so, then you couldn't or wouldn't say why, and when you started grasping you got everything wrong, and now you're back where you started, without reason, facts, or evidence.

If that's where you want to be, suit yourself; the odd thing is I don't necessarily object to that sort of thing at all - when people just come right out and say it. You could have saved us both a lot of time if you'd done just that.

10:37 AM  
Blogger IceClass said...

Jura Watchmaker, you are a dishonest man.

12:32 PM  

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