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Angry About Seals

Today, I am angry for many reasons. The first is because I hate myself. I cannot believe that I have allowed myself to forget all that was dear to me.

You see, today I picked up an issue of The Varsity, the official student propaganda piece for the University of Toronto. I cannot believe how angry that paper made me. I was not angry at the paper. I got angry after reading the article entitled Canadian seal slaughter unsustainable, scientists warn. In this article Nicola Luksic writes about the annual seal quotas I had forgotten existed. These allowable levels of seal "harvest" were put in place by the federal government because seals eat too much fish, and all the poor fishermen who have been overfishing the Atlantic for a generation are complaining that all of the seals depleted the cod stocks. So now we kill the seals, and it's okay.

The only people who care about such things are the fatcat Ontario bleeding-hearts who don't like seeing innocent seal-pups being slaughtered with overgrown garden hoes. That bugs me, because we fatcat Ontarians eat the fish that has been overharvested for a generation. Also, one of the proponents of the seal "cull" pointed out that we support slaughterhouses so that we can have fresh meat for dinner -- which is true.

That doesn't change my point. Harvesting seals is wrong, because the sealers know that their own harvests of cod are as much to blame for the depletion of the cod. No. That's a lie. I am willing to bet that the sealers (and the families of the sealers, and the neighbours of the sealers, and several other people in the Maritimes) do not believe that at all. I am willing to bet that they believe the cod stocks have been depleted by seals, and that if they want those stocks to replenish, they have to eliminate the predators. I think that the also believe that fatcat Ontarians (and other environmental-types) should leave them well enough alone so they can lead their lives in peace -- much like I want the idiots at CUPE to leave us advisors at peace so that we can lead our advising lives in peace. So what's the difference? They believe one set of propaganda; we believe another.

And what's wrong with that? What can we do when sealing and fishing is none of our business? Why don't we leave well enough alone?

Because it's wrong, folks. That's why.

I will be the first to admit that many of the things I do are completely unsustainable. Even though I don't eat meat anymore, there are a lot of things I implicitly condone that lead to much suffering in the world. Universities and computers and especially economics are some of them. But there are also things that I can see clearly because I am removed from the situation -- and one of those things happens to be this injustice of the seal hunt.

I am going to say this once: This is wrong because we cannot apply the Golden Rule to this situation in good faith. It is easy for us to argue that seals must die because they eat too many fish. But there are a lot more fatcat Ontarians and Newfoundlanders and all the other important people than there are seals in this world. If I was to suggest that we cull some of these people, that six billion people is too many and maybe we need a nice organized cull or another World War to keep our numbers down so that we didn't eat all the fish, then the police would call the nice men with the white jackets and they would lock me up for being a nutbar. It ain't acceptable to be discussing such ideas in public. But it's fine if we are talking about seals and it's fine if we are talking about Canada Geese in Mississauga (I wonder when the next cull call will be taking place?) and it's fine if we are talking about pregnant cats who are to be killed so that university students can have some educational fun in their classrooms. So why is it not fine when we are talking about people? More importantly, why is it fine when when we are talking about seals and geese and cats?

Because it is, say the masses, Seals and geese and cats are not people.

Sorry, kids. That isn't good enough for me. Either apply your rules uniformly or give me some solid reasons why not following these rules uniformly is acceptable. I don't think you will, because I don't think you can, because the situations aren't as different as we would like to believe.

That's exactly what makes me so angry. There's nothing I can do about the seal cull, and there is nothing I can do to make people think about the consequences of their actions, and there is nothing I can do to convince people that the process of making money is killing us. All I can do is write about this and donate money and time to causes I hope will fight the things I believe are wrong. But ultimately, I can accomplish nothing because I am just one mentally unstable schmuck who can't deal with the world, and everybody else is too smart to see (what I believe is) the truth for fear they might go mad too.