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Is it cruel to kill animals?

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I have read an interesting article entitled "Canadian seal hunters: We're not a "savage race"," written by David Ljunggren, Reuters, March 21st, 2007. According to the article, Canadian hunters kill small harp seals to get pelts and seal oil, by beating them with clubs. While protesters say "killing animals for their fur is barbaric," Canada's fisheries minister condemns their protest, saying that their efforts are futile. Ljunggren wrties as follows:

Critics say the fact that the bodies of seals jerk around after being clubbed shows the animals are suffering. Sealers describe the movements as muscle spasms and insist that a well-aimed blow with the blunt end of a hackapick club causes instantaneous death. (web)

And he cites the words of Raoul Jomphe, the director of a documentary film on this topic.

"There is a malaise in society. People have forgotten where food comes from," said Raoul Jomphe, the filmmaker. Why, the sealers wonder, do people not focus on what happens in commercial abattoirs? And what about the massive game hunts in Germany? (web)

I have discussed similar topics several times in this blog. The question I want to ask those activists is what they think about killing cows, pigs, and chicken for food. If they are all vegitarians and have struggled to abolish the whole meat industry, then I won't criticize them anymore. But if they insist that killing domesticated aminals should be accepted but killing wild animals are problematic, then I want to ask them the reason why they think so. If they say that certain wild animals are in danger of extinction, then the question arises what if hunting is managed in a sustainable way. If they say that killing wild animals is cruel, then the question arises what if the hunters kill them in the same way as in abattoirs. I once heard someone say that God gave us domesticated animals for food, hence it is ok to kill and eat them, but this sounds absurd to people who do not believe in Christianity (99% of the Japanese).

I have read another interesting article, "South Africa: Yengeni Slaughter Shows Deep Cultural Divisions" by Lance Greyling, Cape Argus, January 25th, 2007. This article discusses a similar subject, that is, the ritual sacrifice of a bull in South Africa. Greyling criticizes the idea that sacrificing a bull is a barabaric act. The following are from the article.

The often-used argument is that "our way of killing animals" is more humane than African sacrifice. I have visited many abattoirs and this argument does not hold water.

Killing is never humane. One particular image which sticks in my mind is that of a cow desperately trying to run up the steel walls of an abattoir production line in absolute fear of impending death. It nullifies anyone's argument that our so-called Western civilisation treats animals more humanely.

Modern society has simply found a way of mass slaughtering animals efficiently and removed the visual connection between the live animal and our neatly-packaged meat.

It is, therefore, enormously hypocritical for any meat-eater to condemn the African ritual killing of a bull. (web)

The last sentence is just what I want to say here. If we find something unpleasant about killing wild animals, what we should do first is to reconsider our way of eating which heavily depends on killing domesticated animals such as cows, pigs and chicken. The total number of killed seals or whales is astonishingly small compared with that of killed domesticated animals.

What do you think?

Related post: *Whale in Thames, eating whale meat, and whaling
                    *Is it wrong to eat humans? 

Photo: Zushi Coast, Kanagawa

  -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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For me this is one of the worst cases of misleading advertising and manipulation of public opinion that we have ever witnessed in our generation.

Last week (march 16th) a documentary film called “Phoques – le film” (Seals – The movie) was broadcasted on the French CBC. It is going to be broadcasted again on RDI (the continuous news network of the French CBC) on March 29th at 20hrs Eastern Standard Time.

The documentary shows some of the hidden faces of the Canadian seal hunt (the seldom talked about perspective from the hunters, scientists and government officials) and an interesting perspective on the media war that is conducted yearly in the Magdalene Islands and Newfoundland by the animal rights groups.

Amongst a lot of very informative information one can see in the documentary that the director, while filming on the ice, caught on tape some humane society of the United-States (HSUS) members pulling a dying seal pup out of the water so that they could continue to film it while it died. They left it on the ice, filming its demise for 40 minutes.

These images where later edited and used in a documentary that won a Panda award in the UK. They basically staged a photo op with a dying seal pup and used these images to enhance their cause and win a prestigious cinematic prize.

For the last 20 years we have all seen images of seal pups (white coats) in almost every single piece of advertising relating to their fund raising campaigns. Almost ALL their websites use images of white coats in them!

But what the general public doesn’t know is that for almost 20 years now the hunt of white coats has been stopped. It’s illegal to hunt them! But they continue to use these images and mislead the public to raise funds (the HSUS pulls in over 100 million a year!)

Another example would be how they show images from helicopters of what they call “killing fields”, places on the white ice where hunters have left large blood stains where seals have been killed. For crying out loud, dark red on white snow! Now that is a contrast guaranteed to bring in sympathy form the public, even more so than a starving child with a bloated belly in Africa (and let’s not forget the flies and crud around the eyes please). Why don’t we show what would happened when you kill a few cows on white snow. Let’s try it and see how big of a bloody mess it makes!

Another example would be the ingrained image of a hunter bashing in the head of a seal pup with a club. We all react the same way… We cringe, wince and look away when we see it. Then we think the seal is not dead when we see its tail wiggling around after. The reaction is universal “the poor seal”. But it’s nothing different then when chickens runs away after their heads are cut off or when cows or pigs struggle while you bleed them out after driving a seal pike in their heads. We never see this; it’s all hidden away in slaughter houses so that we can appreciate the meat we eat daily. We have forgotten what it was like living on a farm, being close to the nature that provides of sustenance.

While my examples might sound crude, the tactics used by animal welfare groups to stop the Canadian seal hunt are deplorable and they are having serious repercussions on Canada.

It’s complete and utter bullshit manipulation of the public opinion. And it comes from animal welfare groups (people who love fluffy things), not the typical corporate sharks that we are used to and from whom we expect this type of behavior. I guess, the animal groups have good “marketing” people also (sic).

Let’s name them marketers of the year!

First, human today are mostly far away from nature. Raised in concrete cities they don’t know much about life, I mean the true basic facts of biology. How many knows that humans are just another animal ? They think they are “divine”. Too bad, we are nothing but apes.

Every animals needs to feed on organic food. It is simple, you have to kill to get food, meat or vegetal, it is the same, or you die. By the way, humans by their biology are made to have an omnivorous diet, which is a mix of meat and plants, just check out your teeth: we have canines.

While extremists are making big cases of human hunting, they never said anything about the way a tiger kill an antelope or what does the fish thinks of how the seals kills them. In nature these “cute” seals will have many chances in their life to be eaten, while not even being dead, by white bears or other predators. Human are just taking their part.

Since human have a certain consciousness, they usually try to kill fast without suffering if possible. And, today, most of the time, the numbers and the ways of killing are quite regulated. Hunting and the use of the different animal parts are one of the most ecological way of living. Hunters knows their prey and since their lives depend on them, they surely take care of them. They are truly our ecological voice, since they know what they are talking about.

It so funny to hear these Greenpeace and “Humane” society activists talking about ecology when they don’t know the definition of it. The same for our stars; they are great in each of their domains, but how many have suitable biological knowledge?

Do you remember the Greenpeace founders? They thought they where legend american-indian divinity come back on our planet to save mother earth! Read their book if you don’t know how lost they are. Greenpeace has always been some kind of a sect.

As for the so called “Humane” society, who don’t care a bit for humans, they too don’t know anything about ecology, but they know how to make money. It seems that these days, there are making a 100 millions dollars a year and that their president have a nice salary of more then 500 thousands dollars a year. Hum!!! So, when they say that the Canadian government should give money to the seal hunters to stop the hunt, why don’t they put the money since they have so much, and at first, wasn’t it to save the “poor” seals?

Many people I know that are agreeing with these lunatics and calling themselves “animal lovers”, have domesticated animals, in leash, in cage, which are going to the veterinarian to get their balls, tails, claws and so on removed. Their nice puppy also have meetings in beauty salons… Who are the torturors!

Well regulated, the good use of our organic natural ressources will go forever and ever, with no side effects. And, these natural organic products are the most biodegradable ones. Try this with any artificial fur or any other chemical made object!

Anyway, while forgetting their animal side and thinking they are superior to the other creatures, humans are so often acting like first degree beasts with fantasizing and paradoxal thoughts on life! How could we educate them when they believe in the unbelievable!

The seals are not eaten. In fact there is not a market for seal meat so its hypacritical for you to compare seals to other species that are in the food chain. Their pelts are taken and the carcusses are left on the ice.

Not very ethical when you consider that most seals have not had their first swim or their first meal. Easy pickings for sealers to kill considering they just have ice to hang on to. It's hard to monitor or regulate a hunt where you have to take as many seals within a 2 day time period.

Newfoundland gets so many financial subsidies. They'll generate any propaganda to keep the hunt. The sealers live off of income assistance for the rest of the year and the rest of Canada gets to subsidize them. Newfoundland has had the highest rate of unemployment in Canada for 30 years. Canada would likely have shut this hunt down if it weren't for all the unemployed.

Now there aren't as many seals left similar to what happened with Cod. Who knows what they'll hunt next to get them out of finding an actual long term solution to their job situation.

Being a Canadian I am totally disgusted at this and furious that we continue to pay billions to Newfoundland. Why should the rest of us have to work to pay this massacre? We loose billions from all the boycotts, our image and then we get to pay them more money. How fair is that???

we should not kill animals for just fun

I stopped eating meat when I was seven because I always thought about where the food had come from, instead of salivating over the smell my steak being cooked. As I grew up, I saw more aspects of the treatment of animals that upset me, such as animals being transported to slaughterhouses, live exports on television and the caged lives of animals and the overfeeding of pigs to make them more profitable after their death. I didn't turn away from these images, I watched them thoroughly. I felt it was wrong to push my views on others, instead I asked my meat-eating relatives and friends why it doesn't upset them as much as it upsets me. Some called me over-sensitive, while most admitted that they just didn't think about it. The first images I saw of whale and seal hunts harrowed me just as much, as tobacco tests on beagles did ( they had masks put over their noses and mouths, cnstantly breathing in tobacco products) or the growing of a human ear on a lab rat, ten years or so ago.

I would consider eating meat, were it not as mass-produced, if fish werent bred in farms, if animals were allowed more of an enjoyable, natural life or it wasn't pumped full of additives. I work in a restaraunt and it astonishes me how people waste meat, by ordering too much or through incorrect stock control. Much animal life is wasted by human greed. As supposedly higher moral beings, I cannot undertand people's ability to throw life away so callously. I enjoy watching nature programmes and I don't get upset by seeing a lion killing a zebra or a killer whale killing a seal. Funnily enough, my omnivorous family find it harrowing to watch. On a cookery progamme the other week, a chef brought his pig to an abbatoir. Again, I watched it, to grasp an understanding of how long an animal suffers before its death, while my family turned away, yelling "how can you watch that?", just after they had eaten roast beef for dinner.
I have always had a respect for the natural order of things, hence why I love nature programmes. Domesticated farm animals may have a safer and healthier life, if not shortened followed by a traumatic few hours before their death in a slaughterhouse, which most meat-eaters refuse to acknowledge. I hate fox-hunting, badger baiting and other forms of 'pest' control. I have no problem with a hunter shooting a deer to consume it's meat, under controlled circumstances. the fur trade sickens me to the stomach. I don't know a lot about seal clubbing in Canada, but it must be as harrowing for the creature as a slaughterhouse is for another, when they see the person with the club or the person with the stungun coming toward them, the stench of death and danger all around. However, from what I have read on this feed, the meat is left on the ice, their pelts and the oil is all that is used...? another waste of life solely for economic purposes.

I deplore whaling as I saw a programme where a mother was harpooned with grenades, it took her over forty minutes to die while her calf stayed beside her. the whalers left the calf to starve to death, a crueller fate than putting out of its misery.
In pig-farms in Germany and Denmark, farmers but the tails off the pigs at a young age so that other pigs don't eat them off, when driven mad by lack of room, light or fresh air.

Animals can think, feel pain, socialise and communicate. All human characteristics, except they lack an ability to reason, an ability given to humans. As we have to reason for every species as well as our own, should we not be doing a better job?

Joanne, thank you for your thoughtful comment. There are people who say that domesticated animals cannot live without humans, hence, it is morally right to raise them (and eat). I think this is the tail wagging the dog.

if you think there is no cruelty in killing animals or fish why not kill your own kids and family for food?+

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