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Letter: Stop paying to prop up the N.L. seal hunt

['Government support of the sealing industry is like a lightning rod for opponents of the hunt.']
Seals on the ice. File photo

I believe taxpayers in Newfoundland and Labrador will want to read this letter about how our tax dollars are being spent on unnecessary and outdated practices. Practices that people in the global society see as outdated and cruel. I’m referring to how the provincial government is helping to fund the killing of seals in the commercial seal hunt off the coast of our province.
Fur is no longer desirable by the vast majority of people. As a result, the following companies have removed fur from their product lines, as it is seen as unethical: Gucci, Versace, Armani, Furla, Calvin Klein, H&M, Michael Kors, Gap, Zara, Lacoste, Ella Moss, bebe, Nine West.
Thirty-five countries have banned all products from the commercial seal hunt, including some of our major trade partners, such as the U.S. and the 28 countries of the EU, Russia, Switzerland, Mexico and India. The day of fur is over; using animal skins in the fashion industry is coming to a swift end and is no longer acceptable in today’s society.  
However, the N.L. government is still using taxpayers’ money away to enable the continuation of the commercial seal hunt.
In 2015, the government of N.L. tied up $2 million of our tax dollars with loans to two processing plants so they could purchase pelts from the hunt. Carino Processing Ltd. and PhocaLux International Inc. were each pledged $1 million so they could bail out the hunt and keep it going, as there are virtually no markets outside Canada for the products. Do we really want our money spent on such an endeavour? I’m certain that a lot of the citizens of N.L. do not.

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There are so many wonderful aspects of N.L. culture that we can be known for in the world community. I believe that participating in the last large-scale hunt in the world should not be one of those things.
On top of this, I have recently become aware of yet another way in which our tax dollars are being spent. A festival called PhoqueFest (Seal Fest) was held in Quebec from March 22 until April 1, 2018. This was a festival about eating seal flesh. I have proof that the N.L. government offered $27,516 to Carino Processing for this festival*. Almost $30,000 of our money so that people could go to a festival and eat seal flesh. That is a disturbing thing to find out.  

A recent article in The Telegram talked about how the market for seal products has become so small that they are scrambling to find other ways to entice people to buy seal by creating different uses for the seal carcasses. Why? If the industry is in such an obvious decline, why can’t we move on and find other areas to develop that will create opportunities without the cruelty? The world has changed. The market for seal, and all other fur, products is small and getting smaller.
There is no reason for the continuation of the commercial seal hunt, yet our dollars are still being spent to keep it going. Why? We need as a people to tell the government that we do not want our money going to prop up a dying industry, especially one as abhorrent as is this one.

Brian Moyst, proud Newfoundlander against the commercial seal hunt

*Editor’s note: To clarify, the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources says Carino Processing Ltd. was approved for $27,516 in funding to participate in SealFest (an event was also supported by the government of Quebec), but required only $11,561 of that amount.

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