“If seal pups were as ugly as lobsters, their harvest would go unnoticed.” quote from Los Angeles Times, Parker Barss Donham, article on the 1978 Canadian baby seal hunt
Ronald Reagan, the former Governor of California and future President defended Canada’s participation in the seal hunt during one of his radio broadcasts in 1978.
He discussed the sophistication of the protesters and an international organization dedicated to raising funds to protect against the seal harvest. Reagan mentioned that the organization’s executive had a salary of $40,000 per year (in 1978) and enjoyed helicopter rides, implying that the continuation of the seal hunt serves their financial interests.
Reagan argued that the word “harvest” is appropriate for the seal hunt because the Canadian government sets quotas for the number of seal pups that can be taken. He stated that the harp seal, the targeted species, is not endangered and is actually growing in population. Eliminating the seal pup harvest would negatively impact the already-depleted Atlantic fishing grounds since the seals consume half a million tons of small fish annually, which are essential to the food chain for cod, sea birds, and whales.
Note: Since December 30, 1987, Canada prohibited commercial offshore hunting of whitecoats and bluebacks.
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Today in Canada’s Political History: Future U.S. President Ronald Reagan announces his support for Canada’s seal hunt