I have been torn now that spring has arrived here in Winnipeg about something that I feel has been swept under the carpet for far to long. As my co-workers and close friends will tell you I have spent many hours debating the merits of exposing what I consider to be Winnipeg’s dirty little secret. Thus I feel I must expose my adopted home town in the tradition of such groundbreaking Canadian news programs as 22 Minutes, and it’s one time host Rick Mercer.
It was my dedication to the preservation of nature and the natural balance that finally forced me to bring to light the annual ritual slaughter of hundreds of Black Freshwater Marsh Seals that as they emerge from hibernation in the spring.
The proponents of the annual “Hunt” and I use that term very loosely, claim that as the seals awaken from winters embrace, they begin to migrate back to the rivers and marshes following generations old instinctual paths.
Along the way they claim, the seals damage property such as chewing on power cords that are still plugged into our car’s block heaters. Others cite the seals destroy their lawns with “Seal Poop”, or have caught them attacking chained up small animals such as dogs, or the occasional otter that many Canadians keep as pets. This behaviour is not uncommon in the animal kingdom especially with aggressive Asian Carp, which have been documented as being able to live out of water and cross distances on land for some great length of time.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I am a hunter. I often harvest from the bounty nature has provided us. The problem that I have with this senseless slaughter is the brutality and waste of it all. To see fathers and sons out on the front lawn, golf clubs in hand beating the slow-moving marsh seals to what amounts to bloody stains on the grass and patches of ice in front of their homes reduces me to tears. The ravens and crows circling over head awaiting a feast.
Over recent years the city fathers have enacted a few by-laws in order to keep environmental groups at bay. The most humane being that one can only legally attack a Black Marsh Seal when it is on private property. Any seal lucky enough to make it on the street and avoid traffic will most certainly make haste for the nearest storm drain, where with luck they will be flushed into the nearby rivers.
I also debated long and hard on including images of this brutal practice, but literally none exist that can show the true horror that takes place on our streets as the gutters run red with blood.
So it is in the spirit of environmental consciousness that I ask you to join me in raising awareness of this hitherto unknown atrocity. You can do this by expressing your outrage on the 22 Minutes website citizens access page here, or E-Mail Rick Mercer directly.
Authors Note – Posted April 2, 2010: Of course there is no Winnipeg seal hunt. April Fools. Thanks for playing along.