Thursday, March 12, 2009

Russia beats Canada in Compassion Race

So Russia has moved to ban their own baby seal hunt. I have to admit that I was so culturally biased that Canada falling behind Russia in anything was a surprise, and so was this humane move on Russia's part.

When Russia first beat the United States in launching a cosmonaut into space, the U.S. cranked up its determination and resources and beat the Russians to the moon. Does Canada have the same fire in its belly? So far that I've seen, sadly not. The fact that Brian Mulroney, one of the least respected of all prime-ministers in Canadian history, is considered the most environmentally conscientious of them all, the current Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who champions the disastrous Alberta tar sands and the infamous seal massacre, is hopeless.

Had Canada a leader with greater compassion, wisdom, vision and courage, he or she would see that there is a Russian Achilles' heel with which Canada could still redeem itself in the "Compassion Race". The Russian Chukotka natives are still slaughtering 125 grey whales and 1-3 bowhead whales every year in the name of cultural whaling, one conducted by means of the AK-47 assault rifle, often necessitating hundreds of rounds and over an hour to die per whale.

If Canada would ban the Harp seal hunt right now, it could still surpass the Russians in humaneness regarding marine mammal slaughter. If not, Canada will remain dead last amongst all nations, spiritually speaking.


Anthony Marr, founder and president
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)


International Herald Tribune

Russia to ban seal hunting
Bloomberg News
Published: February 27, 2009


Russia pledged to ban the killing of all baby harp seals after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin condemned the hunt as a "bloody business."

Rules allowing a six-week window for hunters to target pups after their coats start turning from snow white to gray will be amended to protect all harp seals less than a year old, Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev said in a statement Friday. The new rules for the White Sea were published Feb. 25. The government will approve the amendments by March 1, he said.

"It should not be confused with an actual ban," Masha Vorontsova, director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Russia, said. "Remember, 35,000 baby seals will still be killed in the White Sea next month unless Russian ministers act swiftly to complete their pledge."

Russia's harp-seal population has dropped by a third in the past decade to about 200,000 as thawing Arctic ice shrinks their breeding grounds and hunting takes its toll, the Natural Resources Ministry said.

"This is a bloody business that should have been banned long ago," Putin told ministers at a meeting on Thursday, the state-run paper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported Friday.

In the White Sea breeding grounds, pups are born at the end of February and beginning of March and spend about three weeks on the ice before they take to the water. Hunters traditionally clubbed pups to death before they were two weeks old to avoid damaging their snow-white coats, which are used in the fur industry.

Putin has been depicted in as a lover of the outdoors. State-run media showed Putin, while president, fishing and horseback riding bare-chested in the Tula Mountains, tranquilizing a tiger that had escaped a trap near a film crew, and ordering a $1 billion change in the route of an Siberian oil pipeline away from Lake Baikal.

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