Harrowing images of seal pups and bloody clubs have been circulated for years. Who doesn't hate the annual Canadian seal cull? The Telegraph's Daniel Hannan, for one. He thinks the EU's ban on seal products is hard to justify, and he was glad to see Canadian politicans "tucking in ... to seal loin in port jus" the other day. Our revulsion to seal hunts is about our instinct to protect our own young, not morality or ecology:
Seals are not an endangered species: on the contrary, their voracious appetite has played no small part in the reduction of cod stocks. And, while seals undoubtedly look cuter than, say, oysters, it is hard to see what places them in a different moral category ... We are programmed to respond warmly to the features of our own young: big eyes, little button noses and so on. So powerful are these genetic impulses that the same features in other species still seem adorable to us. I quite understand why people hate the idea of a seal waddling trustingly towards the clubman: I'm not wild about it myself. But we can all choose whether or not to buy the resulting products. It is surely a bit much for the state--let alone the EU--to enforce what is essentially a matter of taste on its entire population.