Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
McCartney's seal campaign silly, Inuit say
Mar. 13, 2006. 05:35 PM
IQALUIT, Nunavut — Two Inuit leaders say pop star Paul McCartney's recent campaign against the Canadian seal hunt is silly and disrespectful to wildlife.
The ex-Beatle visited the East Coast region this month to stage a high-profile photo-op on the ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, calling for the end of the centuries-old commercial hunt.
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the elected Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, and Duane Smith, president of the conference, say in a news release issued today that Ottawa should reject McCartney's advice.
They are urging a federally funded campaign in Europe and the United States to counter his message.
Watt-Cloutier called McCartney "silly" for lying down on sea ice and playing with seal pups.
She says seals may look like cute pets, but should be viewed as wild animals that are hunted by humans.
"Inuit hunt seals for food and clothing, and we market internationally the by-products of our sustainable hunt. This is why attacking the commercial harvest on Canada's East Coast and attempting to destroy the market for seal products also affects the Inuit seal hunt in the Arctic," she said.
McCartney and his wife Heather were seen on their bellies close to newborn harp seals, insisting the annual East Coast seal hunt is a "stain on the character of the Canadian people."
They also appeared on CNN's Larry King Live from Charlottetown.
Watt-Cloutier noted that wildlife groups and Ottawa have established that seals are not endangered, and the World Trade Organization allows unrestricted trade in most seal products.
Smith added: "Our hunting is sustainable. It is the right of Inuit as an aboriginal people to continue hunting as we have always done."
Watt-Cloutier said if McCartney wants to save seals, he should help Inuit stop climate change that is destroying sea ice — the habitat of seals.
She invited the pop star to visit the Arctic to learn what seal hunting means to Inuit.
The hunt, which started in the 1700s, is expected to open later this month off Prince Edward Island and around the Magdalen Islands.
The main hunt typically begins in April off Newfoundland.
The most recent figures suggest the industry was worth between $15 million and $20 million annually and employed up to 10,000 people, most of them in Newfoundland.
The stereotype here is that the Inuit are engaged in some sort of cruel and unusual behavior, not hunting for food and clothes as people have done for eons. People still kill all kinds of animals for sustenance and there's no reason to single out seals.
Even if McCartney is a vegetarian, he lives in a culture that slaughters cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals for food and clothing. This slaughter is a far greater crime against animals, a far bigger environmental problem, than anything the Inuit do.
Eskimos: the ultimate aborigines
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