The animal-use protest industry group, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), took another Hollywood victim when it converted the sexy Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting of Big Bang Theory fame to its cause. Sweeting joins the emotive crowd of urbanites who oppose Canadian seal hunts. Now our big neighbor to the North has a long-history of first class wildlife management. In fact, Canada’s management of its natural resources (which includes wildlife) could be considered better than the management achieved by us here in the U.S. So why is Ms. Sweeting concerned about the seals?
Well according to her T.V. ad, it’s to stop the cruel treatment of the seals. Hey, who could be opposed to stopping cruelty? Cruelty is the callous indifference to or pleasure in causing pain and suffering, according to Google. The videos I saw of seal hunts didn’t have hunters expressing laughter and joy at missing a clean blow to the seal’s head. There is certainly no benefit to the hunter to extend the death process longer than necessary. So what exactly could Ms. Cuoco be referring to? Could it be that clubbing is a painful death? But according to the American Veterinary Medical Association blunt force trauma to a skull via a captive bolt can be a humane death (AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition, pp.34-5). Granted the sealers don’t use captive bolts but if you read the requirements for best use it is obvious why they are not practical in the field setting. So the sealers use clubs, known as hakapik, to do the job. Now that you know the harvesting of seals is done in responsible way given the conditions confronting sealers in a hostile environment, why does Ms. Sweeting oppose sealing?
Perhaps a quote of her on the HSUS web site may provide a clue. There Ms Sweeting mentions clubbing but spends most of her time discussing killing, even drawing upon the fact that world religions oppose killing too. Hmm. Killing of animals seems to be the problem. There you have it. A classic bait and switch. Tell the world that the problem is “cruelty” but quietly admit the real issue isn’t whether or not the animals suffer. The real issue is that animals are killed at all. In other words, as a friend of mine put it. We could kill animals with sweet dreams and tender kisses and the HSUS and other like-minded groups would oppose it. Why? Because in their definition of cruelty, death is cruel no matter how painlessly it is accomplished because you have taken away the life the animal was to have.
Now think about that belief system for a moment. Is fishing cruel? How about hunting deer? What about eating that burger or lamb or wearing leather? Certainly all these activities required animals to die, many I am sure experienced pain at some level before they expired. But was the infliction of that pain gratuitous? Was it inflicted without appropriate justification? If you answer, “No.” Then why was the harvest of these animals unjustified? Unfortunately, Ms. Cuoco doesn’t really say. Maybe we’ll have to wait for her next ad.