Keystone, I'll try to list as many as possible, although this may take a few posts:
- Your evidence for the supposed differences between Inuit and non-Inuit hunts (for which there are few if any) was the following generalization: you once saw "...the Inuit seal hunt. They cut a hole in the ice, and then they wait patiently for a seal to come up for air before they harpoon it", then you said "I'm fairly certain that the Inuit seal hunt doesn't involve running around on the ice floes and trying to club as many baby seals to death as possible." I'd ask you to settle on one of them, but I can tell by their mutual inconsistency that you are, at worst, making this up as you go along.
Since you seem to be melding truth and fiction here, let's state a few facts: the main differences between the Inuit and non-Inuit hunts to the extent that there even are any anymore, are that the Inuit are more likely to use the seal meat for their own food. And due mainly to geography and population the Inuit (but also coastal Naskapi/Innu and Labrador Metis) hunts are less industrial in scope. But the Inuit participate in this hunt for commercial reasons too, not just the educational and cultural reasons dictated to them by our benevolent friends in Strasbourg. This may not jive well with the noble savage narratives we as progressives may have conjured up about indigenous peoples, but Inuit sealing companies exist, Inuit seal exports exist, it is a large chunk of the economy of Nunavut, it is one of the few enterprises that is largely independent from and not initiated/directed by the territorial/federal governments, and you might have noticed that people in the North are pissed, despite the EU's "exemption". Why do you think that is?
- In fact, not only are the Inuit and non-Inuit hunts NOT different, there are seal hunts in other countries too, including EU member countries. Of course, most of these are culls, or hunts done for conseration. But the hunts that take place within Europe but outside the EU such as in Greenland and Norway, differ from the Canadian hunt only in size (Greenland's is 20,000-25,000, Norway's a bit larger, Canada's is 200,000-300,000). Greenlandic and Norwegian seal pelts, meats, and seal oil are still for sale in the EU.
I must be in the wrong thread for your outrage over those hunts -? Or perhaps you're right, and like the Inuit of Nunavut, Labrador and Quebec, the Greenlandic hunters and the Norwegians just politely tap seals on their noses, inducing death?
- You apparently have no grasp of the fact that the EU "allowing" the Inuit to continue to hunt for X, Y, and Z reasons (which, functionally, is not an exemption at all) is not "sensitive to their culture" but in fact it reeks with fucking cultural imperialism.
- You seem to be basing your argument on the notion that there is some kind of protectionism/trade issue here, when the real protectionism which you even admitted you are unaware of, is on the EU's part. Denmark, for example, benefits from the very large hunt which takes place in Greenland.
(Having said that, many of the no-votes to the ban by the European Parliament were Danish MEPs and other Nordic legislators because they saw a ban heading their way next, not to mention that Danish firms are the big ones in the seal pelt and seal oil market and some lost out with this new ban.)
Likewise, hunters in Greenland itself benefit from their own ban on the Canadian seal hunt put in place 2 or 3 years ago (a ban which does not differentiate between the Canadian Inuit and Canadian non-Inuit hunts). Greenlandic hunters kill over 20,000 seals for pelts, meat and oil, which are traded to European countries. Some animal rights groups have turned this into a headline or two, but no European parliamentarian has. The reason: some of the EU's member states have a vested interested in seals getting killed, just so long as it is not in Canadian waters.
- Some of us love to attribute everything we perceive as bad to the actions of the Liberals and Tories. I do it too, but no one in recent memory has done it better than you Keystone. This issue has nothing to do with the Liberals and Tories supposedly concocting a sense of "patriotism" in order to win supposed swing votes. In terms of the dynamics of public opinion and electoral geography we have, this theory is just patently ridiculous. You'll also notice that the NDP and the Bloc both officially support the hunt. Public support for this hunt is almost certainly not the result of "top-down" pressures and is clearly bottom-up. But, public opinion on the issue has been experiencing a slow, secular decline in Canada, and opinion is different depending on region.
- You said: "Let's show the footage of what happens on the ice floes." The fact you've said this in spite of the footage being regularly aired on tv for the past 45+ years is something else. This issue came to the fore first in the late 60s (then again around 1977-78, then again in 1987 with the white coat ban, and now the issue is in annual overdrive) and footage has been shown on Canadian television ever since. The Canadian media, including the CBC which is in every Canadian home with a tv set, liberally shows the hunt even at the moment of killing every year when the bigger hunts take place in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off the NE coast of NF. It's not easy to escape the issue, and everyone seems to know what the hunt looks like, the good, the bad, the ugly. What more do you want?
- You said "I see a lot of the government talking points being repeated here," which is funny, because I don't see many. I've read the DFO's talking points, which are the same as those used by Paul Okalik, now Eva Aariak, Mary Simon, Danny Williams, the Canadian Sealers Association, the FFAW, etc. The government talking points have always been "But the seal hunt IS humane", but the common theme on this thread and probably among the left in Canada in general, which I share, is that "humane" in any hunt is relative, and that the hunt is a traditional activity that helps largely disenfranchised groups supplement their incomes, and relatively speaking, it is not unethical, particularly compared to what the EU's resume looks like.
Having said that, what have you contributed to this discussion that hasn't already been told to us by the HSUS, IFAW, PETA and the Sea Shepherd Society?