Monday, February 12, 2007

Britain, the Seal Hunt, and Their Intensive Farms

Dear Britain,

I was quite distressed to hear about your decision to get the EU to ban the products of the Canadian seal hunt. And I'm quite puzzled too as you're avid farmers of the intensive kind, you know, those farms where animals live cheek by jowl, where stern signs on the far perimeters warn off visitors in case they bring disease onto the property and kill off the entire lot in one go, causing great economic loss to the farmer. Oh but I apologise, for we all know the British are too genteel to torture animals for mere economical reasons. The Brits would never make an animal's life and death a pure misery just for money.

So let's talk seal hunt. While British pigs, chickens, and turkeys live in tiny cages in which they can barely turn around or so close together they inhale each other's breath and live over their own effluents, Canadian seals wander over ice floes, swim in cold waters to their heart's delight, no fences or cages or walls barring their wanderings in the great outdoors.

While British pigs, chickens, and turkeys eat processed foods filled with man-made substances to keep them healthy and fat in their inhumane living conditions, seals gorge on what's left of the cod and hopefully the replellant sea creatures that have prospered within the cod's demise and anything their little hearts desire or that they can catch.

While British turkeys dropped like flies in their battery cages when the bird flu hit, and the rest of the unlucky buggers were killed off by British humans, Canadian seals bulged with good health, their immune systems quite capable of handling what the environment dealt them (except polar bears) because they live today as generations upon generations did before them, not in the way some humans prescribe as good for the economy and the farmer's income, whoops didn't mean to say that bad word.

While British pigs, chickens, and turkeys are herded onto cattle trucks to head on the long journey to slaughter, which BTW they know they're heading to, Canadian seals are either bitten and ripped to death by polar bears -- their poor little hearts pattering for a few minutes while they futilely try to escape -- or killed quickly by humans. In the time it takes for a young harp seal to see the human, hear the gunshot, and die, the young British pigs are still being "encouraged" onto the truck and haven't even made it out the long driveway. Their hearts are beating with terror for the hours-long journey to the slaughter house. Then their hearts burst in their months-old bodies as they smell the death and hear the cries of their fellow creatures being killed off.

Tell me. What's more cruel if you're going to eat meat and your hunters and farmers are going to make a few bucks? The British method of intensive farming where young animals live and die over their own shit, a sitting duck to any passing bug, so that farm owners can live the good life, or the quick method of the seal hunt where the animals live as Nature designed until their quick death by rifle so that the hunters can afford some decent grub on the table and live at the poverty line, not below it?

Yes, some Canadian farmers use the intensive method, but I saw and smelled the intensive farms in Britain long before I became aware of them here. The Brits led the way in this despicable farming practice. And since the British are now claiming the moral high ground on cruelty to animals, the hypocrites that they are, I think it's a jolly good idea that they start in their own back yard and lead the rest of the world in ridding their own land of animal cruelty. After all, they are ground zero for mad cow disease and other domestic farm animal diseases, some of which don't even exist in Canada, and the former only happened because of the bright British idea of feeding animals the wrong kind of food for their digestive system, a cruel practice devised for the sake of fattening the calf quicker -- to make money faster.

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