| Seal Donations
Last week our nieces were given a Dollar each to spend at the store.
When we all returned home our niece Bailee gave this note to my wife.
It contained the Dollar she was given at the store.
Thank you Bailee!
<click here to donate>
NativeRadio.com's position on the Harp seal slaughter:
NativeRadio.com has always supported indigenous culture and causes. The Inuit have the sovereign right to subsistence hunt seals for food and commercial needs. The Inuit are not hunting baby Harp seals, but rather adult Ring seals. They also do not use brutal killing tactics, and are not decimating a species of animal.
Our fight is not with the Inuit, but rather the Canadian government and the commercial slaughter of baby Harp seals. The Canadian government likes to tell the world that this slaughter is "98% humane". The facts and documented evidence shows that to be an outright lie.
What is 98% humane about clubbing to death 12 day old baby harp seals, with a large ice-pick-like hakapik (many requiring second strikes)? What is 98% humane about skinning alive these defenseless creatures? What is 98% humane about killing baby Harp seals so someone can show off their expensive seal pelts?
There is a difference in an indigenous culture's right to hunt for food and economic survival, and the non-indigenous Newfoundlander's massive slaughter of defenseless animals for profit and vanity!
NativeRadio.com does not condone the killing of any creature, but we do understand the Inuit's right to do so.
We believe that baby Harp seals have as much right (if not more) to be on this planet, than we do. We will continue to do what we can to make the world aware of this slaughter and to do what we can to stop it.
Dear Mr. Freeman:
Thank you for your continued emails on the these issues. I believe frank and candid dialogue is the only way things can change for the better. It's much better than using a hakapik stick.
You were puzzled by, or questioned, our support of indigenous cultures and causes. For the past 6 and a half years NativeRadio.com has donated a considerable amount of its time, energy, work, money, and spirit into promoting Indigenous businesses, artists and issues. We have paid for this out of our own pocket, and done so gladly.
We support all aboriginal's right to maintain their cultural heritage and ways of life. We understand the importance of animal harvesting to tribes, culturally and economically. Again Mr. Freeman our opposition is with the commercial slaughter of these animals by non-indigenous entities, in staggering numbers, and with the inhumane aspect of their kills.
I not only question the Canadian government's use of the term "humane", I invite you or anyone else to prove us wrong. The American Heritage® Dictionary defines "humane" as "Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion". There is nothing in the way these animals are slaughtered that any human being can regard as humane. It is carnage pure and simple. The British Parliament reported a few months ago that an international veterinarians group found that up to "42 percent of the seal pups were skinned alive". Can anyone call this humane? If you believe using a bullet instead of a hakapik is acceptable, then you missed our point entirely.
I invite you and everyone else to click this link and watch the death of a young seal pup. After watching this video, I would be pleased to debate the "humane" issue some more.
We show pictures of seal pups in different stages of development in their very short life ("ragged jackets" are slaughtered as young as 12 days old). And of course we do it so that our visitors will identify and sympathize with these helpless animals. You asked: "But surely a fully self-reliant and independent animal (which is the situation in the Newfoundland hunt) is no longer a "baby"? I strongly disagree with your premise that they are no longer a "baby". Any animal killed as young as 12 days old was a baby.
You questioned our use of the term "decimating". The American Heritage® Dictionary defines decimating as "To destroy or kill a large part of (a group). Today this meaning is commonly extended to include the killing of any large proportion of a group." The killing of over 350,000 of any species has many names, including decimation. What gives man the right to destroy life on this planet. What kind of people can do this. How can anyone defend this.
Mr. Freeman your concern should not be with NativeRadio's stance on these issues, but rather those doing the massive slaughter of these animals. They are the ones hurting Indigenous people. They are the ones convincing the world this needs to be stopped. We haven't gotten there yet.
A great writer said it best for us Mr. Freeman.
"At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans. To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion. Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society."
~ Arthur Conan Doyle ~
Thanks you Robert for your response and for posting my concern about Native Radio.com's promoting campaigns that continue to cause serious concern to native northerners in Canada. I admit to remaining puzzled by your statements that "Native Radio has always supported indigenous cultures and causes" and "Native Radio.com does not condone the killing of any creature, but we do understand the Inuit's right to do do". Quite apart from the Inuit case, killing animals (i.e. hunting and trapping them) today remains culturally important to many native societies in North America (and of course, worldwide).
You question the truthfulness of the Canadian government's claims about the humaneness of the hunt. Yet you continue to prominently feature the cute whitecoat seal, which is a new-born seal still dependent upon its mother for food -- a seal now protected from the hunters (as illustrated on your website banner). And your statement concerning the hunt mentions several times the killing of "baby" seals. But surely a fully self-reliant and independent animal (which is the situation in the Newfoundland hunt) is no longer a "baby"? After all, harp seals are having their own "babies" at four years of age. You also refer to clubbing and other "brutal" hunting methods, but ignore the fact that about 90% of the Newfoundland hunters now use rifles in their hunt for the mobile seals. Then there is the claim that the seal hunt is "decimating" a species -- the latest scientific evidence suggests that the Northwest Atlantic harp seal population continues to remain stable, although the most recent (May 25, 2005) scientific population estimate shows an increase of half a million harp seals over the previous year's estimate of 5.3 million.
I do not question your right to responsibly protest against activities you choose to oppose, but if you are obtaining your information from animal rights or extreme animal welfare campaigns, you would be well-advised to do some fact-checking.
Canadian Circumpolar Institute
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
To whom it may concern,
It has come to our attention that your website (Nativeradio.com) displays advertisements and links to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the anti-sealing campaign they have launched in North America and elsewhere.
The "Inuit" of the Canadian Arctic, more commonly referred to as "Eskimos" in the United States, are an indigenous people who have relied on seals for thousands of years and continue to do so in the 21st Century. Today, Canadian Inuit (or Eskimos) carry on their sustainable hunting lifestyles and engage in harvesting Ringed Seals and other marine mammals, not to mention terrestrial wildlife such as Caribou, on a year round basis.
In engaging in a mixed economy (traditional and cash economy), which does exist in the Arctic communities, Inuit also sell seal pelts to help cover the expenses of hunting in the Arctic. Costs in the Arctic are extremely high, and the sale of seal pelts is one of the few means that assists Inuit hunters and their families. In this sense, it is vital that the market for seal products, which is the target of anti-sealing campaigns, be sustained at levels which can provide this modest return.
Various animal-rights and anti-sealing activist organizations disseminate information that largely does not take into account the situation of Inuit. They would rather brush off this aspect and point to the Atlantic Coast seal hunt and say that Inuit are not the target of their campaigns despite the potential to impact Inuit in the Arctic, once again. One need only look to the detrimental impacts faced by Inuit communities in the early 1980â€™s when similar campaigns caused the crash of seal pelt prices.
Although the HSUS has stated that they are not against Aboriginal traditional subsistence hunting, Inuit are an indigenous people who, like their ancestors, continue the subsistence hunt, but also benefit from the economic return provided for by such activities as the selling of seal pelts. Despite the focus placed on the Atlantic Coast seal hunt, the economic impacts of these campaigns are an issue of concern to Inuit.
Inuit are not beholden to animal rights groups and the perspectives that they espouse. Inuit shall determine for themselves how and for what purposes they shall carry out their harvesting and use activities. This should be understood within the dimensions of promoting, protecting and advancing indigenous rights to cultural and sustainable livelihoods, now and into the future.
We hope that this communication leaves you better informed about Inuit (or Eskimos) as an indigenous sealing culture in light of the anti-sealing campaigns.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is the national organization representing Inuit in Canada. For more information on our organization and the people we represent, please visit our website at: www.itk.ca
Thank you very much.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
Aboriginals hunt seals in Canada in three ways:
Subsistence hunting of Ring seals -
in the arctic, aboriginal people hunt Ring seals for subsistence. We have no data on the actual number of seals killed because aboriginal people in Canada do not have to obtain a license from DFO to hunt for subsistence purposes, and they do not have to report the kill numbers. That being said, we have reason to believe about 10,000 ring seals are killed each year for subsistence purposes. Regardless of the number killed, subsistence hunting of seals by aboriginals will not be affected in any way by trade bans or by federal Canadian legislation prohibiting commercial seal hunting. Organizations opposed to the commercial seal hunt do not oppose aboriginal subsistence hunting.
Commercial hunting of Harp seals -
A small part of the commercial quota for Harp seals is allocated to the coast of Labrador. About one third of Labrador's population is of aboriginal ethnicity, so we can assume that it is possible one third of the seals killed in the Labrador quota are killed by aboriginals. The total kill in Labrador this year was 7594. Assuming one third of them were killed by aboriginals, 2531 seals - less than 1 percent of the total commercial slaughter of 317,672 Harp seals killed in 2005 - would have been killed by aboriginal people. Needless to say, the total value of the commercial harp seal hunt to aboriginal people in Labrador would be very small and easily replaced.
Commercial trade in Ring sealskins -
A "byproduct" of the subsistence Ring seal hunt, Ring sealskins are purchased by the Government of Nunavut from aboriginal sealers, and then are sold to a fur auction. Last year, just over 10,000 Ring seals were sold at auction, bringing in a total of $612,426 CAD (484,593 USD)*. There are a reported 1,230 sealers in Nunavut. They would therefore have made about $497 CAD (393 USD)* each from the total 2004 sales. In 2003, sealskin sales brought in $351,333 CAD (277,927 USD)* to Nunavut. The 1230 sealers would have earned $286 CAD (226 USD)* each that year. It is important to note that the Government of Nunavut subsidizes the purchase of the sealskins from the sealers. In 1999, for example, the government received only 40% of what it had paid to the sealers through the sealskin sales. So in that year, 60% of the money that went to sealers in Nunavut came from the government. Regardless, efforts to obtain legislation banning the commercial slaughter of Harp seals off Canada's east coast will have no effect on Nunavut's ability to trade in Ring sealskins.
*using today's exchange rates
The commercial hunt for Harp seals in Canada is almost entirely a non-aboriginal, industrial scale slaughter of baby seals for their skins.
Aboriginals hunt for subsistence purposes (a practice no one opposes and one that is not affected by the campaign to end the commercial seal hunt) and they kill a very small fraction of the numbers of seals killed commercially in Canada.
In 2004 (the last year we have numbers for both the arctic Ring seal hunt and the east coast Harp seal hunt), aboriginals killed 10,119 Ring seals and may have killed 2134 Harp seals (in Labrador). This gives us a total of 12,253 seals that could have been killed by aboriginals in Canada in 2004.
Even if we include Ring seals (whose skins are traded commercially as a byproduct of the subsistence hunt in the arctic) under the umbrella of "Canadian commercial seal hunt", then aboriginals would have killed only 3.3% of the total 2004 kill of Harp and Ring seals.
But if we exempt the Ring seal hunt from the definition of "Canadian commercial seal hunt" (because it is a byproduct of a subsistence hunt), then the only aboriginal commercial hunting in Canada would be the 2134 Harp seals that may have been killed by aboriginal people in Labrador. This is less than one percent of the total number of harp seals killed in 2004.
Director, Canadian Wildlife Issues
Humane Society of the United States
Thanks for your response Patrick,
I was a bit unsure to send an email, and I appreciate the position you are in.
I'll put together some information for you and send it over the week-end. Here is a quick summarized look at our situation.
Nunavut used to be part of the Northwest Territories (NWT) until it was created as a separate territory (1999). If you are familiar with the history of Canada, many of our Provinces were carved out of the NWT (Alberta and Saskatchewan are celebrating their 100th Anniversary). Canada is made up of 11 Provinces and 3 Territories (instead of States like the U.S.) and Nunavut is the newest territory whose population is mostly Inuit (also referred to as Eskimo in the past).
Inuit still rely heavily on hunting and camping as a source for food and cultural survival . The fact that we have no road system and air travel is quite expensive has meant that southern influence has not impacted as much as it would have otherwise. The cost of food is quite high (milk is approx. $14 a gallon and fresh products are subsidized as well) and this also makes the reliance on country food an economical reality. The relocation into communities from camps, residential schools, TV. and now even the internet has had huge influence.
Hunters were able to earn income from trapping and seal hunting, (introduced by southern interests) but all that changed in the early 1980's when animal rights groups attacked the seal hunt and the fur industry. Many of those families suffered serious financial hardships, and linkages with welfare/social assistance, suicide and social upheaval are made with the loss of this economic dependence.
The attack is on the Newfoundland hunt in the East Coast of Canada, but the repercussions are felt in the Arctic, and it has hurt our communities. The argument is emotionally based and not conservation based, which makes it difficult when outside interests impose their values on others.
You can google search Nunavut and there should be some good info on the internet...I'll also research some good websites in case you are interested.
thanks for interest
I must say I am amazed that a station claiming to support native peoples rights and respect their culture, should climb on board the animal rights bandwagon. I refer to the misleading photo and message conveyed regarding the seal hunt.
Sure, the photo is of a harp seal pup, and native people only hunt adult harp seals, but to the public a seal is a seal is a seal. And the success of the anti-sealing campaigns in Europe was felt by native people in Canada and Greenland who hunt seals for food, clothing and footwear and sell surplus skins to obtain for other necessities of life.
By the way, whitecoat pups have been totally protected since 1987 (the commercial hunt does not begin until they are fully-independent juvenile seals and it is illegal to trade whitecoat pelts) and any claims to inhumane harvesting practices are greatly exaggerated for fund-raising purposes. The hunt has been monitored by Canadian veterinarians, and it is stated by them that more than 98% of seals are killed instantly. Further, they state that the killing and handling methods are superior to those observed in most government-inspected slaughterhouses in North America.
Many urban people are shocked to contemplate animals being killed, so the images of the seal hunt, targetting pitiable cute creatures, is emotionally disturbing. The public needs to be educated, not shocked, about the necessity of taking life in as humane a way as is practically possible so people can live and bring up their children in security and dignity. Hunters, who seek those ends and who live in marginal regions, deserve our support, not uninformed condemnation.
Canadian Circumpolar Institute
I am writing because of your homepage postings regarding the Canadian seal hunt. I see by the rest of your site that you support Native issues so I can only assume that you don't understand the harm that protest organizations are doing to Native communities by spreading their messages against the seal hunt.
Please check this link and see an example that the people of the North are against animal rights protest organizations. http://www.worldcouncilofwhalers.com
I would appreciate a reply.
"Supporting Communities Engaged in Sustainable Whaling"
World Council of Whalers
PO Box 361
Qualicum Beach, BC
Telephone: 1 250 228-1048
Hello Mr. Doyle,
My name is Bert Dean and I work in the Wildlife Department for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.(NTI) in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut CANADA. NTI is an Inuit Land Claim Organisation that represents Inuit in Nunavut (Canada's newest territory, established in 1999 as a result of the land claim settlement).
I received an email today that notified us about an advertisement on your website in regards to the Canadian Seal Hunt. Inuit have been negatively effected by animal rights groups in the past and this latest campaign is of concern to our organisation.
Does your station support this type of message and/or realise the impact it has on Native People in Canada? Have you researched the message that is being broadcast and are you aware of the impacts it has on people trying to sustain a traditional lifestyle?
I appreciate if you have time to respond to this email or are interested in our concerns.