Celebrity chef slams U.S. campaign against Canadian seal hunt
“They should be allowed to make a living as well as feed themselves”
Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain says a group of American chefs boycotting Canadian seafood should talk to Inuit first.
Forty-two American chefs have signed onto a U.S. Humane Society campaign called Chefs for Seals. Their goal: to boycott the Canadian annual commercial seal hunt, calling it “an unacceptable business practice.”
“Each spring off the east coast of Canada, tens of thousands of seal pups are shot and clubbed to death by Canadian fishermen,” says the campaign website.
But Bourdain made a plea to those chefs on Twitter Oct. 28 to reconsider their position.
“I’m all for protecting seals, but a total ban dooms the indigenous people above the Arctic Circle to death or relocation,” Bourdain said in a tweet, encouraging chefs to go “visit the Inuit.”
“And there is certainly a commercial dimension to indigenous seal hunts,” he said. “They should be allowed to make a living as well as feed themselves.”
Bourdain has seen the Inuit hunt in person; in 2006, Bourdain went seal hunting with an Inuit family in Inukjuak as part of his television cooking show, No Reservations.
The 42 chefs who have joined the Human Society campaign have agreed not to use Canadian seafood on their menus, while the campaign also offers a seal-friendly restaurant locator app.
More than 6,000 restaurants and grocery stores have also joined the boycott.
But Bourdain says the campaign unfairly targets Inuit communities, where, he points out, prices in local stores “are twice that of Montreal due to transport costs.”
“Should these chefs boycott all Japanese products over whaling? Chinese over finning? Where do these tactics end?” Bourdain tweeted. “Canada ([s] an easy [politically-correct] target.”