Let’s Go (Anti)Clubbing with Clayton Ruby! – Liveblogging the IFAW anti-seal hunt press conference

Gosh, this International Fund for Animal Welfare press conference  seems to be getting more topical by the hour:

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Gosh, this International Fund for Animal Welfare press conference  seems to be getting more topical by the hour:

Media Advisory
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Press Conference
WHAT:   Prominent Canadian lawyer, Clayton Ruby, will be presenting information on current and upcoming developments regarding Canada’s commercial seal hunt.
WHO:            Clayton Ruby, CM, LLD, with Dr David Lavigne PhD (IFAW)

3:52:49 PM
Apparently, the much-ballyhooed private bill to end the seal hunt was introduced in the Senate mere moments ago. According to the press release being circulated in the Charles Lynch Room, it shall e’er be known as the Harb Seal Bill, which is — actually a little confusing, considering that it is – or was – the Harp Seal that was most under threat from the hunt, but you know what? I have a feeling it was hard enough to find a senator brave enough to introduce it, so I doubt they were going to turn down Mac Harb because of his name.

Anyway, so far we’ve had a brief glimpse of Clayton Ruby as he sauntered through the room where the press conference will soon unfold, but so far, no sign of any big-eyed baby seals, or even seal-costume-wearing mascots, which is – probably for the best, actually. (I did manage to convince the IFAW people to hand over one of those adorable stuffed ones. Stuffed baby seals, that is. That were never alive, and – oh, you know what I mean.)

4:02:26 PM
And here we go – starting with David Lavigne, an IFAW scientist, who calls this “an historic afternoon” – for the first time ever, a Canadian politician has introduced legislation to end “the last Canadian sea mammal slaughter”. In other historic developments, the European Parliament has voted strongly in favour of a ban on commercial seal products, and finally, Russia – “another major sealing country” – is about to ban seals under one year. Er, the hunting of seals — I was going to correct that, but the idea of banning seals amused me. That’ll solve the problem!

4:05:47 PM
And – here’s Clayton Ruby!

He starts off by calling Parliament Hill the last dead zone in the world, as far as discussion of the seal hunt, since all of the political parties have made a conscious decision not to raise the issue, since they all want to win seats in the only region in which coming out against the hunt is contentious — even when the vast majority of the Canadian population supports an end to the hunt.

It actually is kind of amazing, when you think about it, especially if you consider that the total annual income from the hunt is approximately $7 million; millions more are spent sending Fisheries officials and lobbyists to Europe to try to convince them that really, it isn’t that bad.

4:10:13 PM
Okay, that’s it for the statement – on to the questions, starting the Canadian Press, which points out that the bill was tabled, but wasn’t actually seconded, which means that it may not be debated at all. Lavigne and Ruby assure her that actually, there *was* a technical problem, but it will be resolved soon.

4:11:45 PM
“What are your shoes made of,” wonders another reporter; Ruby is ready for that one. “Leather,” he says without a moment’s hesitation. He eats steak – not so much the foi gras anymore; he’s starting to feel squeamish about it – and goes into a brief tangent about the difference between eating meat and killing seals. Lavigne – also in leather, also a steak-eater – points out that there is also a difference between raising animals for food and a slaughter of animals for non-essential products; this is a debate, he notes, that has been going on for decades in Europe. Isn’t it time we had the same debate in Canada?

4:15:14 PM
And – hey, that’s it! Very efficient. Alright, back to the Hot Room with this little selective meat eater.