Thursday, April 17, 2008

Public relations and the possible elimination of the hakapik

Danny Williams (Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador) and Paul Okalik (Premier of Nunavut) have called for the hakapik to be banned. Hakapiks are the spiked clubs that are used to drag -- and often kill -- seals. The call for a ban stems from Williams' delegations recent visit to the EU where it was made clear by representatives of the various countries visited that the hakapik. Sealers are opposed to a ban for what they call safety reasons. Animal rights activists are calling it a public relations stunt to attempt to soften the image of the seal hunt as the EU officially prepares to propose a ban on seal products obtained using inhumane methods.

This is in fact old news that seems to have resurfaced as a kneejerk reaction to the EU's possibly moving towards banning Canadian seal products. A little less than two years ago, a hakapik ban had been proposed by Premier Williams, again because of its negative image.

In a Reuters article on the matter, HSUS director of Canadian Wildlife issues Rebecca Aldworth points out that if the hakapik were banned, the cruelty of the hunt would in fact increase, since hunters would be unable to finish off wounded seals and could end up cutting into them while the seals were conscious. Aldworth has been monitoring this year's seal hunt and her latest report, as well as the sometimes graphic HSUS footage from it, can be found here.

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