Conversations about Canada’s commercial seal hunt focus on whether or not one believes it’s cruel to kill seals and whether or not one feels that seals are killed in a manner (struck in the forehead with a hakpik) that can be considered humane.
Turns out the questions themselves are massive red herrings (red seals?). That’s the focus of a recent campaign we developed for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
Our research into the issue revealed that the seal hunt isn’t about economics or markets, it’s about politics. In short, politicians feel they can’t pull the plug on the seal hunt or even suggest that the industry is on life support (which it is) because it would cost them Atlantic Canadian votes. Even though the seal hunt represents a very small income for Atlantic Canadians, it’s embedded with issues of identity and tradition that make it a hot button issue.
Canadians don’t really understand this. Our hunch was that if they did, they’d come to the conclusion that investing in the seal hunt is a massive waste of resources.
The IFAW campaign was developed in collaboration with Wildrun Productions, a sharp team of comedy writers who brought the concept to life through content and video that points out the absurdity of the government’s continued efforts to prop up the seal hunt both financially and politically.
The first phase of the campaign focuses on amazing new tax credits Canadians can access for using seal products in their homes. The tax credits come from the Department of Obsolete Industry–a faux branch of our government that along with revitalizing the cassette tape and party phone line industries is dedicated to:
“Working diligently to resurrect Canada’s commercial seal harvest by reconnecting Canadians with their glorious, blubber-scented history. “
Ideas like seal blubber as fuel for cars and seal blubber based paint may seem absurd, but they are real projects our government has invested time and energy (oh and taxpayer dollars) into researching. Oh, and last year alone, the Canadian government spent $3.6 million to stockpile seal pelts that no one in the world wanted to buy.
Check out the Department of Obsolete Industry’s new website. If you’re looking to save some money on tax credits this year get oriented with this video that will help you determine how sophisticated technology from the 1700s could spell big savings for your family.