American chefs lead in ethnocentric outrage
There are two new subsets of the animal rights movement emerging: Ugly animal rights and cute animal rights.
The latter is out in full force against Canada. The Humane Society of the United States recently released a manifesto, signed by over 40 of the country's best chefs, calling on a boycott of all Canadian seafood until our government ends the commercial seal hunt (or 'slaughter,' if you prefer).
There are merits to a debate about further regulating the seal hunt - I'm honestly undecided on that question. But animal rights activists are taking things a step too far in trying to save cute, furry animals by destroying the livelihoods of humans who depend on the vast (and delicious) Canadian seafood industry. They include many Aboriginals who don't have a local Starbucks to apply to when their jobs disappear. That doesn't further anyone's cause.
It's a petty move by the chefs, who would be best served trying to reinvent the pulled pork sandwich one more time than imposing their values on indigenous cultures they cannot possibly relate to. It's also hypocritical. Are these chefs completely unaware of how chicken, beef and pork end up on their cutting boards? Factory farming is probably far less humane than every Aboriginal hunting technique that ever existed. It's torture, prolonged over the entire life of an animal. Where is the call to boycott chicken wings?
It hasn't come from the Humane Society yet because that's a big, real and intimidating problem to tackle, while the Canadian seal hunt is far-removed and foreign. The animal rights lobby is just that; a lobby. Like any lobby, they need to sell. And saving cute baby seals is a much easier sell than saving dumb-looking cows or weird, vaguely-threatening chickens. Ugly animals need better representation.
Their campaign is actually called "Chefs for Seals." Huh? SEALS ARE FOOD TOO, WHITE PEOPLE! What's next? "Sausage-makers for Pigs"?
Listen to my interview with Humane Society spokesperson Kathryn Kullberg by clicking play under the cute seal.
In other animal rights news, please watch CNN's Blackfish documentary. It's a fascinating look inside the miserable, tourtured lives of captive (abducted, really) Orcas. I'll never take my future children to marine parks (nor to zoos). Humans can be awfully cruel to animals. And it's so much worse when it's just for our own amusement.
Photo: The Guardian