Humane Society says it doesn't oppose Inuit seal hunt
Donation to group by Ellen DeGeneres sparked #sealfie social media campaign
"Unlike Inuit sealers, commercial sealers almost exclusively target baby seals who are less than three months old. Inuit hunters kill seals primarily for meat," she said.
"Commercial sealers slaughter seal pups for their fur, dumping most of the carcasses at sea. Inuit sealers kill seals sporadically throughout the year, while commercial sealers often kill hundreds of thousands of seals in a matter of days or weeks."
Inuit have long maintained that any opposition to the seal hunt, commercial or otherwise, harms Inuit by destroying the market for seal furs. That's the reason Inuit launched a legal challenge against a European ban of seal products, even though that legislation included an exemption for seal products harvested by Inuit.
Inuit Answer Hollywood With Sealfie Photo Booths, Giant Group Pic
The indigenous land claims group Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) is running a photo booth on April 10 and staging a humongous group “sealfie” on Friday April 11 in protest of some celebrity activists' stance against the seal hunt. Meanwhile the Humane Society of the United States, which is the beneficiary of the donation generated by the famous photo tweeted from the Oscars by host Ellen DeGeneres, says it does not oppose the small, sustainable Inuit seal hunt, just the commercial one. The Inuit say that is not the point. They are using the attention to educate the world on their history and culture.
“We have never opposed the Inuit subsistence seal hunt that occurs in Canada’s North,” said Humane Society International/Canada executive director Rebecca Aldworth in a statement on April 8. “Animal protection groups oppose the commercial seal slaughter, which occurs in Atlantic Canada and is almost entirely conducted by non-aboriginal people.”
But to put it in these terms is to completely misunderstand the significance of the seal hunt and the role it plays in Inuit relations with the world, NTI leaders said.
“Various animal rights groups now say they do not oppose the Inuit seal hunt because it is sustainable and humane and provides food and clothing for people,” said NTI CEO James Arreak in a statement. “It is true that Nunavut’s seal hunt is humane and sustainable. It is also a commercial harvest. Inuit sell sealskins and seal products.”