DFO is claiming “safety” as the reason it is contemplating increasing the distance observers must stay from sealers during the commercial seal hunt.
If DFO is truly concerned with safety, a 10-metre restriction should also be placed upon sealers to prevent them from approaching observers. In past years, the only violence committed against people on the ice floes has been committed by sealers against observers. Current laws keep observers 10 metres from sealers, yet sealers are free to approach observers which has led to physical assaults by sealers (as captured on video by the HSUS).
The contemplated restrictions have nothing to do with safety. This is merely a tactic to keep people from documenting the slaughter. It is nothing but a clumsy attempt to keep the "unpleasant optics", as Loyola Hearn refers to it, from being shown to the world in the hopes that the world will forget.
Such a move will surely backfire. In imposing further restrictions upon observers, the Canadian government will be admitting that it wants the seal slaughter to continue in secret and will stop at nothing to reach that goal, even playing fast and loose with our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Government should channel its energies into ending the seal hunt and developing sustainable year-round employment for those currently involved in the seal hunt.
Bridget W. Curranon behalf ofAtlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Coalition
By Bridget W. Curran on behalf of Atlantic Canadian Anti-Sealing Co