The owner of a St. John's store that sells items made from seal fur says business was great — but has been seriously booming since philanthropist Sam Simon and actor Pamela Anderson visited the province to protest the seal hunt.
Anderson and Simon, with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), were in St. John's last week to present a cheque for $1 million in cash to Canadian sealers so they would retire and stop the seal hunt.
Bernie Halloran, owner of Always In Vogue, said since the controversial visit, people supporting the sealing industry have been flooding into his shop to purchase seal skin items.
"We couldn't get a better kick to a good year than … since she's been here about a week ago," he said.
"I've said this before, and I'll say it again, when celebrities come in, especially with the seal issue, and it's so close to Newfoundland and Labrador, it just angers them [people from the province]."
Halloran said customers said they were on the fence about when to make their purchases, but Anderson's visit settled the matter for them and they flooded his doorway.
"Thank you, Pamela. She's my new best friend."
Sick of celebrity status
The World Trade Organization decided in November that it would uphold a European Union ban on seal products.
The Canadian government said it would be appealing that decision, but Halloran said the whole episode is just another point of frustration for the people of this province who support the sealing industry.
"The European Union came out and said it's immoral to wear seal skin. That's so stupid and so ridiculous it's like a bad dream."
Halloran said he thinks people in this province are simply fed up with people protesting the sealing industry, and that's the big reason people reacted to strongly to the staged presentation last week.
"I think, speaking for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we're all kind of sick with this celebrity status of coming in and turning on our product, which I keep saying over and over is the most bullied industry on the planet — the seal industry," he said.
"If you don't want to wear seal product, don't wear it — it's your choice. But don't come and tell us that we can't wear it."