It's bad PR for Canada. This year, it cost three lives.
I don't care about baby seals any more than I care about cows or chickens. If the seal hunt was of some economic use, I'd be all for it. I have to be consistent: I believe aboriginal and northern Canadians should not have their hunting traditions curtailed as long as the animal population isn't threatened. Yup, it's a nasty business, but it is part of life. Agriculture's a pretty nasty business, too. So is starvation, for that matter.
The seal hunt, however, seems to be more about the assertion of the right to kill seals than it is about sustaining a real industry. The seal hunt does not reduce the seal population to a level that would bring back fish stocks. The natural balance may be restored if we let nature take its course and keep factory vessels away from spawning grounds. And it makes very little economic difference, directly, to the people of Atlantic Canada. It does generate a huge amount of government lolly, though.
The federal spending, as this article shows, doesn't just go to the Coast Guard for protection of the hunters from Brigit Bardot, Paul Watson and the other loonies, or to recover bodies of sealers killed by the Coast Guard. It goes to lawyers, trade bureaucrats, PR firms, lobbyists. Yes, the humble baby seal is quite the little cash cow.
I'd wear baby seal underwear if it was part of a non-governmental solution to Atlantic Canada's economic problem. Instead, it's part of the problem. Time to whack it over the head and put it out of its misery.