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The Seal Ban and the Inuit
The seal ban and the Inuit

We must overturn the ban on seal products. The reputation of this material has already suffered so much that undoing the ban will not undo all the propaganda produced over the years but is the very least Canada can do to eradicate TB.

The WHO is telling Canada to step up it's game and eradicate TB " the disease of poverty"(WHO, 2017) by the year 2040.

Canada says it cannot do that.

The real reason Canada can't do it is because it's not trying.

To get rid of the poverty-borne disease, let's get rid of the poverty.
Start with overturning the ban on seal products.

Since the EU cites moral reasons for its seal ban, surely they could not bear the moral consequence of letting the Inuit live in poverty. Since the ban, the price of a sealskin has gone down 90% and the Inuit are in the worst poverty of any Indigenous nation in the world.

This is the damage that's been done. Reversing the ban is only the first step. The communities and their trading networks have been destroyed already. But when they are living equally they will have the chance to rebuild.

"No relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples." ~Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (National Indigenous Peoples Day, 2017)

Angry Inuk Video:youtube


"The most food insecure indigenous people in any developed country"

" 7 in 10 Inuit children going to school hungry. "

"In all of North America, our region has the highest poverty and unemployment rates and the highest cost of living."

"Suicide was once a rare thing in our communities. But as a result of the trauma from residential school abuse, forestry locations and other destructive government policies, Inuit began taking their own lives at alarming rates in the 1970s. "


Arnaquq-Baril says that the money earned from commercial sales of sealskin products had gone to subsidize the hunt itself as the seal meat went into "community freezers."

"A lot of Inuit still don't like to sell meat, they like to share it for free. So the only way they can make an income is on the skins," she says. "I think we're punished for our generosity as a people. Animal groups use that culture of sharing against us to kind of deny our existence on the commercial market."


seal meat as a sustainable fuel

"We were herded into communities throughout the 1950s and '60s in various ways. Sometimes it was the RCMP shooting sled dogs so the families lost their transportation and ability to live totally full time in a self-sufficient way on the land," Arnaquq-Baril says.

People began to depend on snowmobiles, so they needed fuel unlike with sled dogs which ate seal meat, she said. That's why the sealskin market became so important it let the Inuit hold on to some small piece of their traditional lifestyle.


"In general, native trappers find themselves incapable of conducting the high-profile campaigns necessary to counter the crusades launched by well-financed and professionally-organized animal rights movements," Kilgour wrote.


"those who lost their sled dogs lost their traditional hunting-based livelihoods, becoming dependent on welfare and store-bought food." - Qikiqtani Truth Commission 2010



"Most of the activists that work for these animal groups live in cities [but] we have different food sources. For Inuit, the seals are still a staple food but we also need to make an income so we can pay rent," she says.

"I think it's really discriminatory to ask one people to live by a different set of standards than you live with. So if Ontarians are allowed to farm and raise cows and chickens and eat them as well as sell their products why shouldn't Inuit be able to do that with our local animals?"

She says that when a group says they're only opposed to commercial sealing, they make a false distinction because she believes most commercial sealers are actually Inuit.

"But they they try to play it like commercial sealing doesn't involve Inuit," she says.


Commercial Sealers are Inuit

Though animal rights organizations peg Inuit sealers as only three per cent of the total, Arnaquq-Baril says that's because the focus is only on the southern seal hunt in Newfoundland, which is predominantly non-indigenous, while Inuit hunters don't need to register with the Department of Oceans and Fisheries so those numbers are officially unknown.

She says that even if you were to just look at the Inuit of Greenland, they have between 2,000 and 3,000 indigenous commercial sealers whereas there are only a few hundred non-indigenous sealers in Newfoundland and Quebec left.

"My friend had red paint thrown on him, a hunter, it was a vest that his grandmother had made for him out of the first seal he ever caught and animal activists threw paint on him. So it's not just against southern sealers. We're definitely directly affected, she says.


Inuit are Affected by Ban

"Even without Canadian Inuit we still are the majority of commercial sealers in the world."

Not only that, but the Inuit exemptions have done nothing to help. While a 2009 European Union import ban on seal products exempted Greenlanders and their traditionally-hunted seal skins, it still reduced exports by another 90 per cent.

"Its not so much that we are limiting the possibilities for the Inuit in Greenland to export seal products to the EU because they can," Hans Stielstra, head of international environmental issues at the European commission, told the Guardian last year. "Their problem is that the general ban has destroyed the market in the EU. "



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