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Seal skin back in fashion

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Before you scream - this BBC article provides some food for thought regarding the seal cull:


Seal skin fashion to boost Canada's fur trade
By Pauline Mason
In Montreal, Canada

A young girl strides down the catwalk wearing a blue seal skin biker jacket worth 3,000 Canadian dollars (£1,230).


Welcome to the 22nd North American Fur and Fashion Exposition (Naffem) in Montreal.
Naffem is North America's oldest and biggest fur and apparel show.

It is a showcase for Canada's C$335m export industry.

This year the emphasis is on youth.

"A new generation of designers has re-interpreted fur," says event organiser and vice president of the Fur Council of Canada, Alan Herscovici.

"It's lighter, sportier and more colourful."

Sealskin back in fashion

The mannequins on stage show off the Nunavut Inuit Collections.

In addition to the pricey fur jacket, other items include a number of modern looking clothes, including a delicate bustier made from ring seal skin and leather, priced at C$900.

The collection was set up seven years ago as part of the Nunavut government's seal skin strategy to promote the native industry.

Training

Elisapee Kilabuk is one of a growing number of Inuit designers working in sealskin.

The Nunavut Inuit Collections' co-ordinators Diane Giroux and Ingo Moslener run workshops in a range of remote Inuit communities, including Iqaluit where Ms Kilabuk lives.

Mr Moslener, who is also a master furrier, has worked with sealskin for five decades.


He teaches the Inuit designers modern production techniques, such as machine sewing, finishing, dyeing, processing and sizing to European quality standards.
"These are products we could sell providing the market opens up now in Europe, Russia," says Mr Moslener.

"America is a big market but, unfortunately that's where it's blocked."

The US currently bans the import of sealskin products, though 90% of Canadian fur from other animals heads south of the border.

"I learn more tricks from [Mr Moslener], like beading when I make a backpack or purse; a lot of people like them, I get better prices," says Ms Kilabuk.

One of her medium-sized, beaded rucksacks sells for C$250 while mittens cost C$150 a pair.

"I would like to sell more outside Nunavut, if I'm able," adds Ms Kilabuk.

Divided charities

The Canadian government's policy of culling 30,000 harp seal sparked a ferocious campaign by animal rights activists.


The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) spearheaded the protest:
"The most important thing we do is educate the public about the cruel origin of seal products," says the head of IFAW's seal campaign, Rebecca Aldworth.

"We urge them not to allow this product on the marketplace."

But, the globe's biggest animal conservation charity WWF - which has been attacked by IFAW and other activists for refusing to back their campaign - defends the hunt.

"It's a well managed hunt," says WWF's Dr Robert Rangely.

WWF has been monitoring this year's seal hunt, when hunters have been required to shoot the seal in the head rather than use the traditional club.

"Right now there is no conservation issue," says Dr Rangely.

Even the environmental group Greenpeace, which led the anti-sealing campaigns of the 1980s, says the campaign is no longer a priority issue.

Meat not murder

And yet, there are fears that the animal rights lobby could threaten native people's livelihood.


"I'm very worried by the damage they can do to native people like Inuit seal hunters; in just a few years they've killed a market," says Thomas Coon, the leader of the Cree Trappers Association (CTA).
"I'm worried they're going to kill our economy, our culture, our way of life."

The Cree are native to Canada, a "First Nation" people.

They have lived off the land in northern Quebec for centuries, travelling on traditional sledges and camping out in tents.

They still do, although these days they use snowmobiles to get about.

For them, beaver and bear meat are delicacies. Muskrat and squirrel are everyday foods.

Bone, sinew, fat and fur are tools, thread, fuel and clothes.

Even wolf and fox meat are used as trap bait.

Nothing is wasted.

Mr Coon blames the anti-fur movement for displacing people from the land by destroying their traditional markets.

"I see young first nation people taking their lives. They feel they have no future, many think all there is to do is take drugs and drink alcohol," he says.

"We must preserve our economy, our markets and keep people on the land."

IFAW is dismissive of his concerns.

"We don't oppose native subsistence hunting," says Ms Aldworth, but "it is an unacceptable use of real problems facing the native community to justify a trade the world despises".

A bigger piece of the action

The retail fur clothing market was worth $11.3bn (£6.37bn) in 2002-3, registering its fifth annual rise in a row, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.

Much of that rise reflects demand for wild fur, as opposed to European farmed mink.

It is becoming increasingly popular, as reflected by a 20% rise in wild fur prices this year.

Rap stars P Diddy - Sean Combs - and Mr Biggs - Ronald Isley - have brought out clothes ranges in coyote and fox fur.

Canada remains a major player in the wild fur market.

The trade contributes C$800m to the Canadian economy.

But at the moment, only about 3% of that goes to native hunters and trappers.

Indeed, work to promote and market native furs is opposed by some sections of the native community, in particular when commercial methods are used by hunters.


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...ss/3682191.stm

Published: 2004/05/05 06:06:32 GMT

© BBC MMIV
post #2 of 18
WHAT THE FUR INDUSTRY DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT ITS EXPLOITATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

http://www.furisdead.com/aboriginal.html


Btw, the WWF is one of those "conservation" groups that support hunting, trapping, and the like. They want to "save" the animals so they can kill them later. Not my idea of a true animal protection group.

And, well, there are a lot of "traditions" that just aren't worth it, the way I see it. "Traditionally," Korean societies have strict hierachies; you can see it today if you're enough of an "insider" (they're generally racist)--they base a person's worth on factors such as sex, age, wealth... They believe that people can only become very close friends if they're of similar status (someone with high income and someone with low income cannot be good friends, for example). There are two "languages" in Korean--you might call them "formal" and "informal," but people use "informal" with those who are younger, for example, and it was unspeakably rude to not bow to and use "formal" language to one's "superiors." I wasn't "respectful" of this tradition; I challenged it and asked people to think about WHY they believed in this hierarchy. I "talked down" to elders who expected submission, and I when I used formal language to be polite, I used it with everyone, including people younger than me. And I refused to bow to anyone. (When in Rome, do the right thing anyway.) It did spark some interesting conversations with several people

Most may just think I'm being rude, and never have questioned some of their prejudices, but while I'm aware that this can be distressing, I don't think this distress is more important than all the good that can come out of breaking free from this "tradition."

The same goes for many other "traditions" of varying strength, importance, and age; using slaves to work plantations, women having to stay home and clean and cook, "blood sports" such as bullbaiting and dogfighting, and so on. People may be saddened at seeing familiar things change, but this shouldn't be used to justify all "tradition."
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weatherlight
Btw, the WWF is one of those "conservation" groups that support hunting, trapping, and the like. They want to "save" the animals so they can kill them later. Not my idea of a true animal protection group.
From Dictionary.com:

Quote:
con·ser·va·tion ( P ) Pronunciation Key (knsûr-vshn)
n.
  1. The act or process of conserving.
    1. <LI type=a>Preservation or restoration from loss, damage, or neglect: manuscripts saved from deterioration under the program of library conservation.
    2. The protection, preservation, management, or restoration of wildlife and of natural resources such as forests, soil, and water.
I realize this is about seals, and no, I don't support clubbing baby seals, but your characterization of what "conservation" is is quite offensive to me personally. I was raised in a hunting family, and I was raised to respect all forms of life including the animals we hunted, and yes, we used the meat (and left the parts we didn't use, i.e. innards, skin, etc. for the scavengers and predators, i.e. coyotes). I was also taught that it is our responsibility to maintain a balance in the ecosystem because nature ain't what is once was because of humans. So I guess you would prefer that the herds get grossly overpopulated and let Mother Nature sort it out? I'm sorry, but I would certainly prefer an instantaneous death from a well aimed bullet over death by starvation and/or disease. That is Mother Nature's way. Mother Nature is rather cruel.
post #4 of 18
weatherlight, please refer to the pm I sent you.

Thanks!
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
I posted this article because it made me pause and think about my attitude. I've always held that the annual seal culling was "barbaric", and have signed countless petitions protesting the practice. However, I have to admit that I rarely considered the positions of indigenous people(s) and fishermen. I think this is a good example of the necessity of looking at, and weighing, all sides of any given issue. In other words, there's rarely such a thing as "black and white" - life consists of shades of gray.
Weatherlight - thanks for including that link showing the problems with the "indigenous people" argument.
post #6 of 18
valanhb>>>Respecting the sentient beings you kill isn't protecting them, however. I think I know what sort of "respect" you are talking about, and I used to feel the same way, but my philosophy is that all sentient beings should receive consideration for their interests. Nonspeciesists can see the parallels--sexists who believe in "kindness to women," or racists who believe in "treating blacks nicely."

I believe there is a "respect" that goes beyond killing, just as I respect all races equally, and do not "respectfully" kill anyone. I believe that there can be conservation beyond shooting the largest and strongest of the ones we "save." I know that many disagree, and I know that many hunters are much more considerate of wildlife than many non-hunters, but I think there's still plenty of room for improvement.

I'm a non-hunter who believes that wildlife should be conserved, not for our entertainment, not for our pleasure, but to prevent ecological imbalances that cause widespread suffering among all the beings involved. But while destroying and taking over deer habitat while massacring their predators caused deer to be an inconvenience to humans, I don't think it should be used an excuse to shoot some of the deer.

If you truly wanted to minimize their suffering, why don't you only shoot the crippled or diseased animals (as predators such as wolves would)? Or do you? Most hunters don't seem to. And why is it that these "overpopulated" species' numbers are often actually inflated by humans before hunting seasons? Why do hunters frequently prefer to kill natural predators to increase the number of game animals, rather than protect the predators and shoot less game animals? Why insist on continuing to shoot, rather than conserve habitat and predators, and use birth control if necessary? I'm not attacking you; it just doesn't make sense to me.

Lorie D.>>>I'm too lazy to copy and paste again and edit, so people can just click on the link, I guess. I just thought it would be more convenient for people to have it in the thread. *shrug*

jcat>>>There are always angles that people don't see right away. For example, we condemn the Holocaust, which is all well and justified--but we refuse to look how Hitler was motivated by trying to make the world "a better place," as if that would cast doubt onto the harmfulness of murdering millions of people. I am confident in the correctness of ethical and unethical actions, so I can admit that Hitler may have had a good--albeit twisted--intent, and still know that it doesn't change that what he did was wrong. As another example, we look down on early American slave-owners, talking about how they would beat the slaves. We should be able to look at the pressures of living in such a society, and acknowledge that some slaves were treated very well, but still be secure in the knowledge that it was nevertheless a good thing that slavery was abolished in the country.

I think people should learn to see things as they are without trying to force them into preconceived ideas (such as "good and evil"), accept new information, and know what conclusions to make anyway. Just say no to kneejerk reactions
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weatherlight
jcat>>>There are always angles that people don't see right away. For example, we condemn the Holocaust, which is all well and justified--but we refuse to look how Hitler was motivated by trying to make the world "a better place," as if that would cast doubt onto the harmfulness of murdering millions of people. I am confident in the correctness of ethical and unethical actions, so I can admit that Hitler may have had a good--albeit twisted--intent, and still know that it doesn't change that what he did was wrong. As another example, we look down on early American slave-owners, talking about how they would beat the slaves. We should be able to look at the pressures of living in such a society, and acknowledge that some slaves were treated very well, but still be secure in the knowledge that it was nevertheless a good thing that slavery was abolished in the country.

I think people should learn to see things as they are without trying to force them into preconceived ideas (such as "good and evil"), accept new information, and know what conclusions to make anyway. Just say no to kneejerk reactions
With due respect, I have to point out that Hitler's purported intent to "make the world a better place" was only with regard to his supposed "master race", the "Aryans". I've had plenty of German history courses, and have read "Mein Kampf" and Goebbel's diaries. There are some people who want him to be given credit for creating the "autobahn" and pushing the manufacture of the "Volkswagen" as a means of motorizing the masses. I don't, because of his ulterior motives - he was out to conquer and enslave the world. Where's the "good intent"? If pressed to say one positive thing about Hitler, the vast majority of Germans would probably come up with, "Well, he liked dogs." Put that up against his "Endlösung" (literally, the "final solution" = the Holocaust). There simply aren't any positive angles, or excuses/explanations like the Treaty of Versailles.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat
If pressed to say one positive thing about Hitler, the vast majority of Germans would probably come up with, "Well, he liked dogs."
Even that could be contested. After all, he decided to "test" the cyanide on his German Shepard Blondie to see how painful and quick the death really was.



Weatherlight, I do understand what you are saying with respect to hunters vs. preservationists. Perhaps my "kneejerk reaction" was also with respect to some of the other posts you have made. But there are good hunters and bad hunters. As far as taking the crippled, well, I did fill my tag one year with a young elk that had been wounded by a group of @ssholes who thought hunting involved 4-wheel ATVs and shooting rapid fire at anything that moved. Words are not sufficient to express how angry both my father and I were that day, and if we had seen the group who did that we would probably still be sitting in jail. For the record, I have never hunted a predator as the reason we hunted was for our primary meat source (I didn't eat beef as primary meat until I went to college...), and I don't go hunting anymore. While I don't see anything wrong with it, I just can't do it myself.

That being said, the problem is that at this point in time the damage to the habitat and predator balance has already been done. I'm all for preserving what we have left, and not allowing further decimation to the ecosystem and predators, but in order to preserve the false balance we have created we have to step in. Is it better for the government to cull the herd and leave the corpses to rot and further spread disease, or for private individuals to utilize as much of the animal as they can?

As for trophy hunting, the "good" hunters realize that this isn't the best way to hunt year after year. Realistically speaking, the bigger the buck/bull, the stronger and tougher the meat. That's not worth it unless you are just going out to kill just for the sake of killing. Besides the fact, that good hunters who are conservationists (just with a different perspective of the best way to go about it) also realize that if everyone takes the biggest buck/bull, you will be left with weak offspring. Doesn't make sense.

Disney did a grand propoganda film against hunting called "Bambi". Not all hunters are like the ones in Bambi, in fact I would say that is an irresponsible minority. Pretty much all of the hunters I have ever known know more about the ecosystem and nature than the general public, and even most of the environmentalists I have known.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
Even that could be contested. After all, he decided to "test" the cyanide on his German Shepard Blondie to see how painful and quick the death really was.
LOL - good point, Heidi! Of course, there are always some idiots who would say he was exhibiting kindness to Blondie, i.e., he didn't want to leave her ownerless. There's an 80+ "old" Nazi who lives in a nearby town who constantly writes "letters to the editor" of our local paper. I find the best way to resist the temptation of blasting him (absolutely futile - may he join his hero soon) is to make confetti out of his contributions.
post #10 of 18
jcat>>>We are all entitled to our own interpretations of the facts, of course. Since I can easily see how a doctor prescribing antibiotics would be considered a "good thing," I can see that Hitler may have had the best of intentions. Disregarding bacteria or "subhumans" is vastly different in actuality, but not necessarily in a mind.

Oh, and he was also against smoking because it's unhealthy, iirc

valanhb>>>Liking dogs doesn't mean one necessarily does the best thing for them. Many backyard breeders are "dog lovers." Many "dog lovers" unintentionally neglect their dogs--letting them roam (they like to be free), not fixing them (I couldn't look him in the eye if I did that), not training them (he's happy as he is), not giving them heartworm preventive (my last five dogs lived to a ripe old age and never got heartworms), and so on. And I'm sure many dog lovers buy products tested on dogs, whether out of ignorance or just plain not caring. Some dog lovers love their dogs like other people love TVs or chocolate--and a TV-lover will throw out an old TV if they don't care for it any more. Many dog lovers in Korea love their small purebreds (minpins, poms, etc) but don't care or do anything about strays or dogs bred for meat. I'm not saying loving dogs is a bad thing, just that it's no guarantee of making the right decisions.

I know, I have such a good reputation around here

I think it's better to use birth control. TNR has been done on deer--why not, if it works on feral cats? If we'd stop wasting resources on killing predators, artificially inflating populations before hunting seasons, and so on, and instead focused on conservation and humane population control, I think it would be completely unnecessary to go out and shoot animals every year. And yes, I am aware that not all hunters approve of inflating game populations, but when governments do it routinely, you have to admit that it exists on a large scale.

And flame me for being the crazy vegan, but why eat any meat at all?

I should watch Bambi again sometime. All I remember about that movie is that Bambi's mom was killed and Thumper was cute :P
post #11 of 18
I have to ask what is the cost of adopting a more humane measure? If the budget is unlimited then perhaps a more humane conservation program is possible but with money being sought by education, health, safety, etc it may be hard to come up with the money. Even if let us say that a 'super administrator/politician' reduces all waste to zero, that money would still be sought by every other program. Remember costs does not just include the adoption of the humane measure but also providing suitable and equal paying job opportunities for people in the industry.

I am not too sure about the hunting industry since it seems that commercial farms seems more logical and efficient in producing the products required.

So the question is what if the area in question is a protected area and that not only is there is no hunting but the animal in question is not sought after such as the Koala bears, and that the population in the place is getting out of control what then should be done? Assuming that birth control is cheap and can be used widely, one of the options will be to use birth control right? But the question is what do we do in the short run. Birth control seems to be a medium to long term solution. If the area is overpopulated at this moment, birth control would not solve the current problem of these Koala bears being so hungry that they are forced to eat bark. Do we wait to let a sufficient amount starve to death or wait for them to strip clean their habitat, thus preventing or slowing the recovery? Or do we attack the problem now so that the remaining animals do not starve and that the habitat is not destroyed.

However, with regards to birth control, I believe that overtime its costs will drop. Currently, one of the means of birth control is genetic modification, once the animal (mostly insects at the moment) have been modified, it is released into the area and the offsprings may have a lower fertility rate. But the problem is that birth control is a medium to long term solution that does not provide any immediate relief.

And apart from birth control, what other humane options are there? Relocation may not be effective (for those fast breeders) in the long run as what will happen when the new area is filled up? Introducing natural predators in the area? Is not the end result similar to a cull? Furthermore, introducing natural predators is also another medium to long term solution. After all where are we to get the predators from? Would not removing predators from one area cause problems over there? And what happens when the predator get over populated and let us assume that we have move all the way up the chain such that the animal in question is the top of the food chain? One solution may be birth control but you cannot introduce birth control too early as you need the predators to reproduce. Another solution is to introduce a disease into the population but apart from the danger of possible cross contamination, it is much harder to control a disease.

All these goes back to the initial point relating to costs. Which program have to be cut, reduced or kept underfunded to support an expanded conservation program?
post #12 of 18
So that was why I saw Canadians on TV clubbing, not shooting, seals to death, I only saw the second half of the newscast.

Did they do this because there was an overabundance of seals or because they wanted to kill them for their fur? Or both?

Why do the Inuit have to make clothes out of sealskins? If animal rights activists are hurting business and countries don't import sealskins, then why don't they try something else? If they're designers, they can at least try to make quality clothes out of other fabrics and sell them for a decent price. If it catches on, they can make money that way. I'm not saying it's easy, let Diane Girou and Ingo Moslener help them with that. Some Native Americans here build casinos and make lots of money. If something's not working, you have to adapt and change.

Here in PA people line up in their cars and trucks on the first day of deer and bear hunting season, waiting to find a parking space as soon as it's daylight. Guns (rifles)are carried openly here during hunting season. I'm from NY and the first time I saw a guy carrying a gun in my community in PA I got scared and almost called the police.

No offense to anyone here, but I can't understand why any adult would take their young child, dress him up in camouflage, and teach him to fire a gun. Articles in the newspapers here praise it, saying families get to "bond" (can't you bond while you're at a movie or something)? And they count the number or deer with points, I think it's called and they are so proud of themselves. I'd have more respect for someone who actually shoots the sick and starving deer - isn't that the point of hunting? To put sick and starving deer out of their misery? Or do they think that by killing the bigger, somewhat healthier deer they are giving the starving ones a better chance to live - less competiton for what little is available? I don't think so.

Oh yes, I forgot - the state charges a hunting fee and makes money out of it.

Imagine my surprise when one community here with a deer problem actually considered birth control. But again, that would cost too much money to do it statewide.

Jill and Candy
post #13 of 18
Well, Jill...I was taught at a fairly young age about firearms by both my father and mother. I was taught firearm safety, that they are NOT toys under any circumstance, and how to shoot proficiently. It was a bonding thing in my family, going to the rifle range on the weekends... (But we didn't wear camoflage... )
post #14 of 18
bumpy>>>The cost would certainly be better than that of lives. And maybe we should just stop bombing people; that could save some resources, along with the money currently spent on guns, lures, and such.

Factory farming is also much more inhumane and terribly destructive to the environment.

If the only problem is a temporary food shortage, help out with the food. If there was a colony of feral cats that needed food for a limited time after trapping and sterilizing, would you prefer to get some food for them or keep shooting them?

I don't think humans should be "playing God" with wildlife. It makes about as much sense as going to the hospital and killing a certain % of those with chronic conditions, even if many of them would make it with a good quality of life. Hunger is unfortunate, but how are we doing anyone a favor by shooting them? If it really came to that, why can't there be standards, policies, and such dictating which animals can be put down and with what methods, like there are for overpopulated dogs and cats?

valanhb>>>But toys are funner. My brother and I "bonded" quite a bit through our BB guns. Ignoring, of course, those moments he decided I would make a fine moving target
post #15 of 18
valanhb -

I did say I didn't mean any offense though I was sure someone would be. I worked with children for a number of years and IMO young children don't fully understand the concept of death, that if they are not really careful a bullet, whether fired accidentally or not, is probably going to kill a person and that person will never come back. A child may seem mature for his/her age, but there are just some things they can't grasp yet. You were different, and there are others that are different. But I don't think anyone should take the chance and let a child handle a loaded gun. How many parents take their children hunting and teach them that they are going to shoot an animal because the animal is suffering? I don't know the answer, somehow I don't think the majority do that.

I didn't even know it was legal to take a child hunting and let them handle a gun. I thought it was against the law to give a child a loaded gun.

So many parents complain that tv and movies are too violent for children, so why expose a young child to the real-life killing of an animal? The first time I saw a gun was at jury duty, unloaded and in a plastic bag. I didn't even want to touch it. If a child wants to shoot, IMO he should have to wait until he's older.

I guess we were raised in different environments, to you it's okay for a child to handle a gun. I don't ever remember as a child my parents telling me that guns were wrong because no one ever had one, it was never an issue. I just seemed to think that guns were wrong because they meant death. I must have gotten that from tv. So we can have our own opinions and respectfully disagree.

Jill and Candy
post #16 of 18
A child cannot go hunting until they are 14 years old, and have to pass a Hunter's Safety Course. By that I mean, they can physically be present, but they cannot get a hunting license and carry or discharge a firearm while hunting until they are 14.

I didn't take offense, just wanted to show another point of view.

One of the biggest things that we were taught well before we were allowed to handle any kind of firearm (BB gun or otherwise), was that guns are serious business, and that they can hurt and kill (and I think because we had been on hunting trips, we did understand that dead is dead and you don't get better from dead). That you NEVER aim a gun at another person was drilled into our heads. (I remember getting in BIG trouble for pointing a stick at a person while we were playing Cops and Robbers...)

I have always had a very healthy respect for firearms. Because I knew what the rifles were and was allowed, WITH SUPERVISION, to handle them, they didn't hold the fascination of the forbidden. I agree with you that any person who just hands a child a loaded gun is worse than irresponsible. There absolutely must be instruction on safety and responsibility, as well as proper shooting technique. But the first two are much more important.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weatherlight
bumpy>>>The cost would certainly be better than that of lives. And maybe we should just stop bombing people; that could save some resources, along with the money currently spent on guns, lures, and such.

Factory farming is also much more inhumane and terribly destructive to the environment.

If the only problem is a temporary food shortage, help out with the food. If there was a colony of feral cats that needed food for a limited time after trapping and sterilizing, would you prefer to get some food for them or keep shooting them?

I don't think humans should be "playing God" with wildlife. It makes about as much sense as going to the hospital and killing a certain % of those with chronic conditions, even if many of them would make it with a good quality of life. Hunger is unfortunate, but how are we doing anyone a favor by shooting them? If it really came to that, why can't there be standards, policies, and such dictating which animals can be put down and with what methods, like there are for overpopulated dogs and cats?
I think you misunderstand my point or either that I am not really understanding your reply. My point is that no other government department whether is it related to the butter side (health, education, etc) or the guns side (military) wants to give up their cash. The REALITY is that money for anyone program is generally set at a certain level. It may increase by a bit or decrease depending on the political climate or economic situation. But ultimately the amount spent is fixed. No doubt it is not the best of the worlds for animals but given a bad situation with limited resources you may have to make tough decisions.

An analogy may be health care. For example if let us say that there is an emergency and that both the patient need this equipment immediately, one has to make a choice if there is only one equipment.

Another better example, which I know have occured is when a conjoined twin is borned with severe defects that makes it such that without separation they will both be dead in several months. The problem is that only one of the twin can survive the other will be dead after the operation even if the operation is completely successful. It occured in UK and the doctors obtained a court approval for the operation, against the wishes of the parents. In the best of worlds medical science will be advance enough to save both but in REALITY current medical science can only save one. Now substitute medical science with the budget for animal conservation.

As for sending of food, that may help when it is a just a colony. But the scenario facing the seals is that they have several million seals. Which means you need to get a HUGE amount of fish from other areas. Which would cost quite a lot, thus going back to my point on the need to focus on the budget and see what is the best option available with limited resources. It is a 'temporary food shortage' in the sense that it is temporary only for as long as the animals (seals) live because the habitat cannot support the number of seals currently. I am not too sure what the life span of a seal is but I guess it is at least 5-10 years? So the word temporary is accurate but not precise and does not come to terms with the time span that food is needed. It is not your local feral colonies with hundreds or maybe even thousands of cats but rather it is several million seals, and the food needed over the life of the seals (5-10years? more?) and the cost would be huge. The habitat cannot support such a large number of seals. So back to the point on limited resources. And besides would not sending fish there deplete fish stocks in another part of the world causing problems there too?

So I see two possible scenarios when one is faced with limited resources.
1) Adopt a cull so that remaining population lives better and the supporting habitat (fish, food, etc) is not devasted.
2) Adopt a position that animals should be treated exactly similar to humans thus no cull as no one suggests killing humans in time of famine. But given the lack of resources, accept the situation that more animals would die the 'natural' way than the cull and that when the population stabilises, the habitat can support significantly less animals in the long run due to serious depletion of food stock.

It is a natural knee jerk reaction of mine whenever someone claims the 'playing god' argument. Since not everyone subscribes to your religion and even if they do, not everyone from the same religion or even denomination interprets religious argument in the same way. And of course the argument of separation of state and religion, not so much on display of religious symbols at public buildings (which I am ok with if it makes the place look nicer, for education and not as a symbol of exclusion) but rather implementing policy that ACTUALLY reflects a particular religious interpretation.

Just as an advice, you should not use the 'playing god' argument since it most likely does not really help in furthering one's cause simply because it does nothing to convince the other side. HOWEVER, because I know how to rephrase the 'playing god' argument and present it without referring to religion at all and still acheive similar results, I will directly address the main concerns of the argument raised when you were trying to use religion as a big stick to further your argument.

Your analogy relating to hospitals can be related to my examples above. If you think about it, what you stated about hospitals killing a percentage of people is true in a very indirect way. Think about it this way:

1) Whether in a country where health care is public or private, the fact is people who are richer do get better medical treatment.
2) Medical treatment refers not only to treating a disease but also preventive care. Thus people who are better off can purchase more health products, go to a gym, etc.
3) Taken together this will result in the rich in general living better and longer.
4) Hospitals in poorer areas are less well equiped due to lower funding from the local government.
5) Therefore the sad reality is that while health care system does not actively 'kill' people funding policies and resources of the individual patient can and does effectively mean that society is 'killing' or lowering the life span of certain individuals.

For humans, the standard is 'wealth' for animals, it is difficult to come up with a standard than just adopt a cull. What standard do you suggest. Note that I am not referring to those recreational hunt types but situation such as the overpopulated seals.
post #18 of 18
So now we're back to the seals, eh?

And actually, I do think we should all be commies and live happily ever after.

So how exactly could so many extra million seals be born? Everything was fine and dandy, and then one day we realized there are too many seals and we need to kill a million? How did the million extra seals get there? In the cases of many species such as deer, this "overpopulation" is because of programs designed to lower populations before breeding--encouraging more offspring--and artificially increasing food supplies. Hunting is, in the main, not about helping the animals, but about entertaining the humans. This is where the resources go.

In any case, our society seems to focus very little on prevention. Feral cats? Keep poisoning and shooting them. Ants? Roaches? Squirrels? Kill every generation. Too many unwanted children? Don't bother funding education and prevention programs, as there's always abortion. Conventional farming destroying the land? We're not used to organic farming any more; we'll ignore the problem for as long as we can. We should look at the progress that spay/neuter made (not an ideal situation still, but 4 million killed a year is far better than 12 million on the limited resources that such campaigning had to go on) and focus on the roots of the problems. Like the analogy goes, why spend all your resources on mopping up around the edges of a flooding bathroom before turning off the faucet? We do, in a broader sense, have the means to stop the carnage and have much more effective solutions to our own conveniences, but you're right in that it's not happening.

BTW, "playing God" is used as an expression, not literally. I'm not religious in any way. If I went by the Christian Bible, there would be nothing inherently wrong with killing slaves, seals, or deer.
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