Many campaigns are not above stooping to misinformation to win supporters.
That’s certainly the case with the attempt by the Humane Society of the United States to target Canada’s sealing industry – by getting U.S. chefs to boycott products from this country’s fishermen.
It’s hard to believe the society itself is that misinformed to think there’s a link between the seal hunt and the fishery. But it has enlisted the support of many of those chefs, and we can assume naïveté has helped the cause.
Does this, as an aside, remind anyone of the ‘let’s invade Iraq’ campaign that banked on a hope the majority actually believed that country had something to do with the Sept. 11 attacks?
There isn’t a connection between the fishermen and sealers – neither group has sway over the other – thus the campaign is a wildly unfair stab in the dark. As an analogy, if you wanted to mount a campaign against production of genetically modified soy in a country, it would be like urging a boycott against all the grain growers.
This is also, needless to say, a backhander that struggling fishermen don’t need.
Fortunately some voices of reason are speaking out, and we’ll hope they are heeded.
Well-known P.E.I. chef Michael Smith has shot back, trying to let members of his profession in the U.S. know that the boycott is senseless, also that it’s extremely hypocritical.
What about the way production of cattle, or hogs or poultry is sometimes managed? We hear of instances of inhumane practices. Yet the use of these animal products is widespread, with relatively few murmurs about boycotts.
If indeed there is a concern about the way the seal hunt is managed, focus the argument on that. If it’s about conversation, then dig up some numbers and verify them. If you’re worried about overcrowding of domestic animals in pens, then direct your attention there.
But don't muddy the waters with unconnected elements and then hope you can get the public to fall for it.