Written by Adrianne Madden
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Canada's governor general is sending those who'd shutdown Canada's seal hunt into cardiac arrest.
According to a BBC news report, Michaelle Jean, representative of Canada's head of state — none other than England's Queen Elizabeth II — helped to butcher and eat a seal. Jean used a traditional Inuit knife to help gut the animal and then ate a slice of raw heart.
BBC termed Jean's action "an apparent act of solidarity with hunters." Asked if she was sending the European Union a message, Jean was quoted as saying "Take from it what you will."
Canada's seal hunters (whose numbers include Inuit people) have long been under fire from animal welfare activists, who protest the clubbing of seals. Hence, the European Parliament recently voted in favor of a ban on Canadian seal products in protest against the hunting methods. The Inuits would be exempt from the ban, which still must be ratified by EU ministers and isn't likely to take effect until 2010.
On the other side of the coin, Atlantic Canada fishermen, whose cod fishery remains a shell of its former self, say the seal hunt is necessary. The seals, they say, eat plenty of cod, thus impeding the rebuilding of the region's cod stocks.
Regardless of which camp you're in, Jean's action is extraordinary for an appointed government official. It's difficult enough to get officials to support a cause, never mind get them to gut a creature and eat a slice of its heart raw.
That's pretty hard core commitment, wouldn't you say? Especially where political fallout is way more likely to be negative than positive. Whether you love or hate what she did, say this about Michaelle Jean: She isn't faint of heart.
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