Sustainable seal meat

Brodie Thomas
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We've made it though January, and it's now the time of year when talk turns to the seal hunt.

Specifically, the talk will be about how almost nobody is going sealing this year,

A handful of boats on the northeast coast and the Northern Peninsula will go out in the next few months. If last year is any indication, most pelts will be bought up by a company which for the past two years has received multi-million dollar loans from the province.

Little if any mention will be made of the seal meat.

Meanwhile on Parliament Hill, our elected members were recently dining on seal meat, at least for an afternoon. Labrador MHA Yvonne Jones tweeted a message on Jan. 30.

"Enjoying Seal Meat at the Seal Day on the Hill Promotions. Fighting back against those who try to destroy our culture."

She included with the tweet a picture of what looked like seal pepperoni. She didn't specify what it was.

Aside from a few self-serving tweets from politicians, the seal day event garnered no mention in the print media.

It's great that our elected members are scoring political points with what's left of the seal harvest. But if a politician wants this writer's vote, they could see that some seal meat finds its way to a grocery store freezer in the next 12 months.

Politicians like to talk about how important the seal hunt is to our culture, and they like to wear sealskin around to the occasional public event, but nobody is doing anything to actually bring seal products to local markets.

We're giving the animal rights activists fuel when we can't get behind an industry we vehemently pay lip service to every year.

If we can find a few million dollars to aid the seal pelt industry, we could probably come up with a similar amount to create a "value-added" seal meat industry.

There must be one or two fish plants around that could prepare seal sausages, seal burgers, and pre-made frozen flipper pies. There might also be a few Newfoundland distributors who could get those goods to provincial grocery stores.

If companies can take the sludge from a slaughterhouse floor and produce something as tasty as Vienna sausages and ballpark franks, then surely someone can make seal meat palatable.

There is a movement amongst the hip and trendy to become a "locavore." The word was coined in 2005 and it means someone who sources their food locally.

The idea behind the locavore movement is to produce more of your own food, support local farmers, and to reduce the "carbon footprint" of the food one is eating.

It has given rise to ideas such as the 100-mile diet - where people limit themselves to food produced or grown within a 100-mile radius of their home.

You can bet that more than a few people who protest the seal hunt try to live as locavores. Let's show them that we too can be "locavores" by tapping into our own local sources of sustainable, organic protein.

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Vienna

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Recent comments

  • Bridget
    February 17, 2014 - 15:03

    Mmmm, brucellosis. Trichinosis. Not to mention all those tasty parasites that are killing grey seals at the moment, together with other marine life. There has never been a better time to eat seal meat.

  • Jim Kendall
    February 12, 2014 - 17:27

    Besides the added value that could be added to the seal hunt by utilizing the meat as food products, please keep in mind that a huge benefit would be the elimination of some of those voracious predators of cod & other fish stocks.

  • jim
    February 11, 2014 - 19:40

    Someone should tell Loblaws about the "locavore movement" and the 100 mile diet. This week our local "Foodland" outlet is selling Turnip "product of Mexico". Not within the 100 mile limit.

  • Leo Delaney
    February 11, 2014 - 18:47

    I have been saying that for years to have seal meat available year round . Available for all our people to get a seal anytime since there is a overpopulation of all seals

  • Garfield
    February 10, 2014 - 19:16

    Bring it on! I have eaten seal meat about 10 years ago and liked it. If they can find someone to produce it as sausage , burgers and such why not. Maybe if people try it and like it we can get the people behind the hunters instead of condemning them.