Letter from Dr Inge Bolin

Dr Inge Bolin is an anthropologist, educator, and author who lives in Nanaimo and is currently a research associate at Vancouver Island University. She recently sent the following letter regarding the harp seal hunt in the Gulf of St Lawrence to Ms. Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada:

Myself, my family, friends from around the world, and the thousands of students I have taught, are relieved to hear that Mr Loyola Hearn is no longer Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. We hope that the largest massacre of marine mammals ever to take place on this planet, which has turned the world against Canada, has become a thing of the past.

As you know, for so many years "Shame on Canada" has echoed across the world. A sealer lifting his hakapik to destroy a defenceless baby seal has become the shameful emblem of Canada, symbolizing cruelty, cowardice, and a total lack of respect or compassion. Thousands of photos and videos show the atrocities and heart-breaking acts where 42 percent of the baby seals get their pelts ripped off while still conscious. Not only the baby seals, but their mothers and all compassionate people shudder at the sight of this bone-chilling spectacle. Canada's image has been destroyed, while boycotts of Canadian seafood are in the hundreds of millions of dollars and many tourists stay away from a country that reminds them of so much pain.

As an educated woman you must know that the seals eat the predators of the cod and that eco-tourism which allows visitors to see the wonderful seals on the pristine ice would benefit the fishermen and is what most Canadians and the world want to see. The despicable commercial slaughter of seals destined to clothe ignorant people with the animals' tiny furs cannot be compared to the practice of the Inuit who used to take a seal from time to time, honoring its spirit and using every part of it.

Minister Shea, we trust that the commercial seal massacre, which is a crime against nature and severely affects this country's image and economy, will not continue under your leadership. As you know, the world's greatest minds and humanitarians, among them Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Albert Schweizer, Bernard Shaw, Tolstoy, Goethe, and hundreds more agree that cruelty to animals is a sign of moral decay. Mahatma Gandhi, the wisest of all leaders, said "the greatness and moral progress of a nation is reflected in the way its animals are treated." Please take a place among the great leaders and humanitarians, oppose those politicians who endorse cruelty, and restore Canada's dignity so it will again become one of the world's great nations.

Inge Bolin

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