It was just a mouthful, but the morsel of food that passed the Canadian governor general’s lips is making news around the world. Michaelle Jean helped butcher and eat a seal heart in an apparent act of solidarity with Canada’s native Inuit hunters — and has won scores of praise and criticism in doing so.
Some have accused her of bloodlust — and even the EU (which has voted to ban Canadian seal products) says the story is “too bizarre to acknowledge”.
But the governor general herself says “These are ancient practices that are part of a way of life. If you can’t understand that, you’re completely missing the reality of life here.”
gregnb responded to this article , saying “If these seals were ugly looking beasts no one would have a problem with the hunt”. Does gregnb have a point? Why are some of us squeamish about killing some animals (whales in Japan, seals in Canada, dogs in some Asian countries, just to name a few) but not about sheep, cows and pigs? If the govenor general had eaten raw tuna, would it have made world headlines? Probably not. Is it the method of killing that matters to us? Or is it the fact that we’re simply more used to the idea of killing some animals rather than others?
And where do we draw the line between preserving cultural traditions and ethics?