In response to Don Cherry’s comment on seal meat, one of the members of Meal Exchange wrote:
In reflection, two things stood out.
First, coming to this article I knew little to none about seal meat. I can imagine Don Cherry probably didn’t know much about it either but unfortunately went on to make statements asking Ron Maclean why he had a seal burger, commenting if he was a barbarian or a salvage. This created controversy, offending people who did consume seal meats. As a respected host and opinion on Coach’s Corner, I would think he would be more careful with the choice of ‘jokes’ (if it was one) he made if that was his intention.
As a psychology student, Cherry made generalized statements that clearly had a repercussions in the media. Simply put, if the social norm of diets does not currently include seal meat, it does not excuse anyone from commenting on different foods that they did not like. Beef, lamb, pork are more regulated and culturally accepted. Rabbit or seal are not as culturally accepted, and clearly not by Don Cherry. “Sealing is important to Inuit culture and tradition” tweeted Leona Aglukkaq and in her culture, it is a norm. I then pose the question where does moose, caribou or bison meat stand? They are not regulated as extensively as the aforementioned but it seems more of a cultural delicacy than barbaric.
Either way, it was a comment that was not necessary and as Ron Maclean had attempted to make the pun after Don Cherry had interrupted him, it was quite flippant.
Second, my first thought was the sustainability of hunting of seals and if it was ethically approachable. There are groups that are against seal fisheries but for a more clear summation of the current situation on seals, I would like to direct you to Government of Canada website: [http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/seal-phoque/myth-eng.htm]. It discusses the myths and realities of Canadian Seal Harvest providing more background information. There do exists seal population, no endangered and are hunted on a commercial basis. It is also a traditional part of Inuit culture.
In summary, I see seal as rather a delicacy like caribou and bison, and that’s what I believe Ron Maclean also thought as he was visiting Newfoundland. Somehow, this went sideways with an insensitive comment by someone who wasn’t even there. My wish is that it’s not solely a “hope” that Don Cherry won’t make such statements again, but that he actually learned a little more from this incident. He has refused to comment anymore and so I guess we will never know.
If you’re interested though, you can always send him a message, tweet @CoachsCornerCBC.
5th Year BSc of Psychology
University of Calgary Meal Exchange Ambassador