Friday, July 31, 2009

European Union bans seal related products, eh

There was a news-chunk on the CBC radio the other day about how the European Union has banned seal related products from their markets and how Canada is challenging this ban at the World Trade Organization. "Weirds-ville" I thought to myself as I started to take a closer look at this situation, and my initial reaction was right since this story is odd (or 'weird') from pretty much every possible angle.

The ban itself is kind of strange, or at least some of the reasons given for the ban are. The European Union has said that the ban is in response to public concern as to whether the annual hunt is humane. I found that to be interesting because if there was real public concern wouldn't the European public just stop buying products which contained seal? And if the concerned public stopped buying these products then the market would disappear and there would be no need for a ban. It would appear that since European Union politicians believe there is a need for a ban, maybe the European public just isn't all that concerned after all.

I suspect the is mainly a sort of public relations ploy, with the European Union politicians believing that they have grabbed the moral high-ground over those dratted blood-thirsty Canadians. After all, blood-thirsty and neanderthal Canadians are nowhere near as enlightened and civilized as your average European, right? It is an interesting, if deeply confused thought of course, but as long as they are fooling themselves it's all good. As everybody knows, cruelty to animals is frowned upon in the European Union. Frowned upon with a wink, but still frowned upon. Our friends the Spanish enjoy torturing bulls to death. They call it bullfighting but considering how often the bull wins versus how often the bull loses, it's not much of a fight.

How about our friends the French? When they're not too busy plucking snails off the plant-life and chewing them down, they're all about preparing geese to make foie gras ('foie gras' is French for 'fat liver' in normal language.) For foie gras a goose is force-fed a grain mash 2 - 4 times a day for up to five weeks. This force-feeding is by a method called 'gravage', whereby a metal or plastic feeding tube is stuffed down a gooses throat and the grain mash is just poured in. I'm sure the geese don't mind too much, but it is pretty likely that nobody had ever bothered to ask them.

Those rabidly anti-hurting animal folds who are currently occupying the United Kingdom (AKA: Eng-er-lund) were at one time passionate about hurting and torturing animals at every opportunity. Whether it was bear-baiting, badger-busting, hog-tossing, chicken-stomping, quail-pumping, or any of a huge number of other "sports", the English were enthusiastic about beating up on the animal kingdom, and the bloodier the better. Civilization finally reared it's ugly (but well-kempt) head and by 2005 the final blood-sport was made illegal. This last "sport" was fox-hunting and involved a bunch of twits on horses and a bunch of trained hounds chasing after a fox, which would eventually be caught and shredded by the hounds. Since being banned in 2005 (four-years ago by my clock) this "sport" has grown in popularity among the 'chinless wonders' segment of the British population, their spirited defense of the "sport" being, "Well, old chap, toodle-pip and all that, eh wot?" Many people who are not ferociously inbred totally disagree with this defense.

There are those in the European Union's animal torturing game who claim that it is alright for them to torture bulls to death or force-feed geese or hunt whales because these activities are culturally relevant to the countries they happen in. In that case I have to ask what all the confused squealing was when the governor general of Canada, Michaelle Jean, while on a tour of Canada's north took part in a community feast in Rankin Inlet, Nunavet. While there she ate a chunk of seal heart. The hypocritical rhetoric out of the European Union was particularly 'holier-than-thou' with anti-seal hunt campaigner from the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Brussels, Barbara Slee, saying, "The fact that the governor general in public is slashing and eating a seal, I don't think that really helps the cause, and I'm convinced that this will not change the mind of European citizens and politicians." Ah, Babs, you really should think before mumbling stuff like that. You see, Rankin Inlet is in the north and growing veggies and tofu is tricky at best (the growing season is about one week or so.) As it turns out, one thing they do eat up there, you know, for survival, is seal. It is part of the culture and I find the survival thing to be pretty compelling, unlike fox-hunting say which is just torture for fun. The governor general was showing the people up there what we call "respect" by "respecting" their culture. It is just a thought but you might want to drop that "white man's burden" attitude of yours and consider trying the respect thing.

So here's the deal: To all our friends in the European Union, until the day arrives when you stop torturing geese, bulls, foxes and other animal, once you stop hunting whales and drift-netting. Once you have managed to get your own house in order, then maybe, maybe you can start pointing fingers at other people. Until that day arrives you just don't look all that good, that is unless you think that being hypocritical is good in which case you look just fine.

So, deal?

Anyway... Humouroceros


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