Saturday, October 09, 2004

Seals of Approval

Popbitch - who seem now seem to be the authentic voice of British neo-conservatism, are running an Beasts of Islam special this week, featuring the CIA-trained dogs that tortured Sayyid Qutb, the snake and kangaroo that escaped from Rafah zoo, and the stray dogs being taken home from Afghanistan by sentimental American military personnel.

The gem however is the following story, which sounds like something the Competitive Enterprise Institute might offer as corporate entertainment.

Tourists are being offered the chance to kill seals, with the company offering the sporting holidays reporting strong interest from the UK, Germany and France.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Norwegian company NorSafari is offering one-day excursions for £110, with four-day trips costing £650. Tourists are guaranteed at least one kill on the one-day trip, with two kills guaranteed on the longer packages.

The newspaper quotes the country’s fisheries minister as saying that the initiative would "help restore the balance" between seals and fish along Norway’s coastline.

The boss of another company, Polar Events, is quoted as saying: "Seals have been hunted in Norway for many years and it’s part of the culture. We want people who are interested in hunting, not just people who come to shoot the animal. The tradition here is that we hunt the seal to eat it. It’s food."

Unsurprisingly, the proposals have not found favour with everyone; Paul Watson, of the Sea Shepherd group, reportedly said: "Killing a baby seal is about the easiest thing you can if you’re inclined to be sadistic. You certainly can’t say there is any sport in it – the animal is totally defenceless."

Mr Watson doesn't seem to have looked up the website, which has pictures of strapping Scandanavian types dressing up like Serbian militiamen and shooting dumpster-size seals, who are probably pretty fast, rather than using a pickaxe to batter and then skin the white-furred babies as the alcoholic French-Canadian fishermen do.

Et maintenant, du petit dejeuner!

I started out this morning reading Thucydides, but I've eventually found myself reading the Clubbing Baby Seals webpage instead. So much for self-improvement.