The first European settlers on the Magdalen islands were both fishermen and hunters of marine mammals, as both activities were essential to survival on this archipelago. Initially the marine mammals were walrus but these were soon replaced by Harp seals, which continue to be hunted by our people.
Like others in the Magdalen Islands my family, Longuepee, has Metis blood. European, Aboriginal or Metis there is no difference between us as hunters looking for seals in the Gulf or elsewhere in Canada or the world.
In the 1960s we were the unfortunate victims of a propaganda film that portrayed us a “savages” killing “pretty whitecoat” seals. This documentary was later proven to be “staged” and banned by the Quebec courts but not before it was shown on television around the world resulting in the condemnation of us as a people. Being new to television we learned the hard way the power of a documentary, even when false, to create an image of our people as being cruel, heartless killers of innocent animals rather than being family folk earning a living and providing food for our families.
Sadly these images created the fiction that the people of the Magdalen Islands are bloodthirsty barbarians when nothing could be farther from the truth.
We have always supported the rules and regulations governing seal hunting and actively contributed to the scientific population studies and can confidently state that our hunting actions have never threatened the Harp seal populations. The fact that the Harp seal populations have more than quintupled in the last 40 years to about 8 million animals is the concrete proof of this.
We were (are) no different than any other sealers in Canada, the USA, Europe, the UK, Russia and the southern countries of Africa, yet we have been target by the international animal rights community to the detriment of our society. The question is… why???
It is because of where we are located - where we live. We are easily accessible to these fanatics, mostly American headquartered multimillion dollar organisations, and because we kill “cute” seals it was (is) easy for them to create the manipulated images that they then used (and continue to use) to raise millions of dollars, influence uniformed politicians and celebrities, publish “loaded” surveys and portray us to an ignorant public as “barbarians” who were causing the extinction of the Harp seals. Nowadays, they still run an everlasting and (unfortunately) successful propaganda campaign on the backs of our people.
Since the initial shock created by that first propaganda film we understood that despite our lack of financial resources we had to combat this false image. We are also confident that most people when exposed to the “truth” will abandon their support of these animal rights fanatics, and that independent surveys with neutral questions would demonstrate this fact beyond any question. We believe that the politicians, celebrities, and the general public will pause to reconsider their past support of these animal rights fanatics when to continue to do so in light of the facts, the truth, leaves them open to ridicule or thought of as being “in the pockets” of these wealthy groups.
Our website gives us the voice on the “world wide web” to ensure that the truth is ”out” for people to see and evaluate for themselves. A truth not based on an anthropomorphic, urbanised view of the use of wildlife but a truth based on the same perspective that governs all animal killing in Canada.
We are the leaders in the eco and conservation concepts that govern Canadians not those who propagate the false views of the animal rights movement.