Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 5.28

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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  1. Hmm, both non-serial killer stalker Gareth Penn and Worldnetdaily columnist Vox Day are proud members of Mensa. So does that mean I’m too dumb to join Mensa, or too smart? I hope I don’t have to be accepted to find out.

  2. PETA is being so poetic and metaphorical and stuff, you know? Dudes, dudes, listen. Man it’s like, you know, after clubbing (baby seals) people like, hit up some all night diners and like sober up on what? Pancakes. Maple syrup is bad, man.

    That’s totally deep and stuff.

  3. That reminds me that I have some whale meat that’s probably going bad in the freezer. Anyone want to come over for dinner?

    I also have some minced moose that’s been there a bit long, we could have that instead if you don’t feel like whale.

  4. @Amanda: Did anyone else notice that that the researcher holding the monkeys has green hands, too.

    Can we be sure that the genetic change is from implanted genes and not some after hours, cross-species hanky-panky?

  5. I don’t know about the rest of you Canadians out there, but *I* know that, after a hard day at the hockey puck plant, I like to wind down and relax with a nice plate of seal and maple syrup.

  6. Socrates and Goopy were clearly Shaggy and Scooby Doo who fought a glowing green monkey at an abandon amusement park using a tanker truck full of maple syrup to rescue the baby seals being held by the non serial killer?

  7. @James Fox:

    And he would have gotten away with it if weren’t for those kids and their meddling dog!!!!

    I like the way you can only see jesus when people point it out to you. Like those optical illusions where it’s a young woman or an old woman. oy.

  8. @whitebird: What does Arkansas have to do with anything?????

    I did a search on Canadian Seal hunting. the Canandian government allows seasonal seal hunting, much like america and its deer season. I read through some of the comments at the bottom, and what amazes me is when the government defends something that someone doesn’t like, they accuse the gvt of lying. You know, call me skeptical, but I can’t justify the accusation of lying based on second-hand accounts, or “mommy-instincts”, or tea leaves, or whatever. I’m gonna trust that the heart of what the gvt is saying is true, while the story may have been spun more than an old 45.

    So, I’m going to leave you guys the link, and you can decide what you think.

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/05/05/f-seal-hunt.html

  9. Thanks for the link, Amanda. This issue really gets my grits….or, since I’m Canadian: this issue really Cirque Du Soleil’s my Michael J. Fox.

    I mentioned in the article something about Paul McCartney coming over here, but I didn’t get into it too much, so I thought I’d tell that ridiculous story here. In 2006, he and his pirate now-ex-golddigger/wife, came to Newfoundland to go on international media, condemning the “seal slaughter”.

    The two of them proudly stood on the ice, resplendent in photo-ops and at the same time, suggesting that local communities can compensate for for lost income by pushing seal-tourism, like it was whale-watching or something.

    You know how your mouth/speech tends to be way-affected in the incredibly bitter-cold? Well, the Walrus could barely get the damn words out of his mouth, and his face was terribly sun-burnt and dried out from the odd, punishing beast that is arctic wind. He wasn’t exactly making a good push for seal tourism, as he and Heather could barely talk (luckily, they still had yelling at their disposal), stand, or keep their composure while they sanctimoniously denounced practices that hardly go on anymore, and insisted that these uncivilized barbarians of the north get with the rest of the world, and fundamentally alter their livelihoods in the name of tourism.

    Maybe Paul is dead after all.

  10. Not a fan of PETA. Was when I was 16 and I grew up in Redneckville and it was shocking, I was…not so much anymore. But, I am still a big fan of animals just maybe more rationally (except bunnies….I lose all faculty to think when looking at bunnies). I have a lot to say about the subject and don’t have time to get into a full blown discussion today about it (would love to over a drink at TAM if anyone wants to buy). BUT….I will point out this. Seal hunting supports many very poor communities has been mentioned a bunch of times. Where I grew up, factory farming and all the cruelty that represents supports many poor communities. Instead of just saying, well I guess that’s the way it has to be then, I am for finding new ways for communities to find income. But then I also hope that someday people won’t have to live their lives working on a factory line. That will ALL be automatic (robotic) and people will be forced into different work….and maybe after the initial chaos that shift causes humanity will be uplifted slightly. It happened with the weavers and maybe someday it can happen with the seal hunt. Wait…did I just suggest that I want robots to hit baby seals with sticks? This has all gone so wrong.

  11. I remember when Paul McCartney did that stupid seal publicity stunt… I actually had to stop posting on the internet for months after that, because I feared losing my mind from the stupid.

    If the protest was about whether or not the hunt was sustainable, that I could get on board with – I’m not entirely sure it is at a sustainable level, but I haven’t bothered to research it, because I’m not too worried about it. But nooooooo, the whole campaign is based on the idea that they’re hunting whitecoats, which is A) a blatant lie, they’re not allowed to hunt whitecoats and B) So? What, we’re only allowed to kill ugly things?

    Also, clubbing and shooting is apparently more brutal than a killer whale attack (do these so-called nature lovers not watch the discovery channel?). Wearing fur coats that can last decades (we have a rabbit coat of my great-grandmother’s) is also somehow more evil for the earth than digging up petroleum products, mixing them with caustic chemicals and dyes, and making jackets that last a few years, only to end up in the landfill.

    I just….hate….PETA…so much…I…. *explodes*

    TO add to the list of PETA’s atrocious ad campaigns:

    During the Pickton trials in Vancouver (for those not in the know – he killed upwards of 2 dozen women and fed them to his pigs, which he butchered and sold from his farm gate to the local community. Including to the families of his victims.) PETA set up a billboard with a picture of a woman and a pig saying “neither of us is meat”. Downtown. Where Pickton took his victims from. It was surprisingly gauche even for PETA at the time.

  12. Although, I don’t entirely disagree with you…I have a hard time equating getting eaten by a killer whale and getting beaten by a club in this sense: The killer whale does not (as far as we know) consider the ethics or means of its food source. Whereas a human can consider where it gets its food, how its food was killed, whether it wants to eat this particular food or have some broccoli instead. Not to mention whether it needs to wear seal fur because its cold or is doing it for fashion or as a protest against PETA. I’m not saying that most humans do think about all these things but most have the ability to do so. Just one point of many. And maybe it doesn’t apply in this case but just because you don’t like a group doesn’t mean the cause isn’t just. I don’t particularly like Al Gore or smelly hippies but that doesn’t mean I hate climate change awareness.

  13. PETA set up a billboard with a picture of a woman and a pig saying “neither of us is meat”. Downtown. Where Pickton took his victims from. It was surprisingly gauche even for PETA at the time.
    Especially considering that PETA has been targeted by various feminist groups for its unbelievably sexist advertising. I don’t personally believe that every ad that shows a sexy woman is necessarily objectification, but PETA takes “sex sells” and runs with it.

  14. Whereas a human can consider where it gets its food, how its food was killed, whether it wants to eat this particular food or have some broccoli instead

    This is a point that keeps coming up with respect to the seal hunt, and our Governor General’s recent awesomeness in taking part in a ceremonial feast with the Innu by taking part in the butchering and eating of a seal heart.

    The racist and extraordinarily colonial attitudes that go into people being able to make that statement – hey you savages, stop eating the stuff you have for thousands of years, and that has been sustained on that land with no ill effects to the ecosystem, and eat something that doesn’t squick us out so much. Something like broccoli (or any other city-approved food), that you’ll have to ship hundreds or thousands of miles in a helicopter or over ice roads and pay $10/lb for a nice wilty piece.

    Eating land and sea mammals has long been a part of the traditional diet of northern peoples, because that’s what grows there. European colonists have also been hunting, selling furs, and eating the meat since settlement began. It’s ridiculous to think that a more moral decision is to force people to drop a lifestyle that has been sustained for centuries in favour of a massively energy-intensive and expensive system of shipping southern culturally approved foods to them. I won’t even get started on the environmental non-merits of the concept of a vegetarian diet at latitudes north of say, Oregon – another reason PETA’s myopic worldview of vegan for everyone is so distasteful.

    Clubbing these animals is also the most humane and least wasteful way to kill them – when you shoot them, they might flop off the ice, and you’ve killed them for nothing, and you have to keep killing seals ’til you’re lucky enough for one to stay on the ice. (Rifles have made traditional whale hunts extremely wasteful for this reas0n- the shot whale usually sinks). If you are able to club them, you are able to hold on to the carcass. Actually, I believe they club them, then shoot them if they are merely stunned, and not dead.

  15. @Sara Dee Whoa sister, hold on there. As I said, didn’t have enough time to discuss this in length. But as you seemed to think I was attacking Inuits and Canadians and proclaiming broccoli king of the food chain let me respond. My point was not whether people should/could/would eat seal meat. I eat beef…same as eating seal..though maybe less rubbery. My point was that I wouldn’t equate humans killing seals and whales killing seals for various reasons, one of which I stated before. Most seals aren’t killed for food…they are killed for fur. And not for Inuits but for idiots. Oh, I like that. Yup, I called people who wear fur for fashion, idiots. And I am sticking to that statement. And I don’t even have to be a member of PETA to have that opinion.

  16. @Elvismorte: Whoa brother, I should have clarified – I didn’t really think you were personally suggesting they eat broccoli instead; it is just that that argument is constantly thrown up in the debates around seal hunts (and other wild game hunts), and it must be beaten down.

    Also, I use the whale predation comparison not to compare the moral agencies of whales and people (though I personally would bet they’re equivalent – whales are probably a helluva lot smarter than given credit for, and people are certainly a helluva lot dumber), but to compare the manner of death. Many anti-seal-hunt activists (anti-hunters) seem to think that if people did not kill these animals, they would grow up to lead healthy, happy lives. And some would. But seals are prey as much as predator, and most of the babies in any cohort are destined for an early brutal death. Dead is dead, whether by human or whale, and the human is likely to kill more humanely in almost any harvest situation (kosher practices excepted). I’d be opposed to the hunt if I thought we were overhunting, but I am not sure we are – we are either replacing predators we’ve decimated already (whales, polar bears, wolves) or controlling the population before it has a chance to starve, since we already decimated the fisheries the seals depend on. It’s a horrible argument, morally (if we destroy something’s food supply, yay we get to kill it now, too!), but it ‘s part of the management we need to do while encouraging the fish and other predator populations to rebound.
    @Bjornar:
    yes, and this, exactly. Also, where do you draw the line with fashion? If I wear boots with nothing but seal fur tassles, that would arguably be a wasteful fashion, but what if it’s a whole coat? Fur is warm, and it’s really the best material in the cold climates of this world. A fur with a good guard layer is naturally water repellent, and if cared for, can last for generations of wearers. It’s the most ultimately practical clothing. If the species from whom the skin is being harvested is still thriving, I would see no problem in all of us wearing buckskin pants instead of jeans just to be cool. It’s a problem to wear skin for any reason – fashion or function- if it means destroying the species. Animals harvested for skin are also usually not wasted, at least, not by legal trappers/hunters who have nothing to lose by being caught with a carcass. The animal meat, if not tasty for people, is usually pet food, or used by the trapper/hunter as bait in her other traps, or thrown to the scavengers, like the remains of any predators kill.

    Lastly, the issue is not whether you share the opinions on animal rights supposedly espoused by PETA. Many people do. PETA’s primary evil is not that they call people who wear fur as fashion evil. That’s a legitimate opinion – debatable- but valid to hold as an opinion. The issue is that PETA uses over-the-top racist and sexist imagery and language to push their point, and degrade the women and people of colour they use as their advertising props to do so. A real message does not need to degrade others to make itself heard. They also choose ridiculous things to boycott in the name of animal welfare. KFC? why not target the largest three grocery chains – they undoubtedly sell more chicken to more people on a regular basis (hence the immensely successful Chicken Out campaign started by one individual in the UK, which targeted only Tesco). Maple syrup? Why not actually target the seal industry? A: because it’s such a small niche for one subset of the population that most Canadians don’t even think about, and that would betray the fact that like most of PETA’s cause celebres it’s not really as big of a problem as they want people to think it is.

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