World-renowned Cape Breton fiddler Ashley MacIsaac confronted PETA protesters in downtown Windsor, Ont., on Friday afternoon.
MacIsaac arrived at an anti-fur demonstration alone, unannounced and wearing a muskrat fur coat.
'It's people, then it's animals.' — Ashley MacIsaac
He was also carrying a handmade sign reading "I support the Canadian Seal Hunt."
MacIsaac's coat, which he playfully stroked while talking to reporters, was reversible with a leather lining.
"It’s people, then it’s animals," MacIsaac told reporters.
Two provocatively dressed PETA members wearing tight-fitting faux police uniforms were protesting the fur and leather clothing industry, which they called violent and cruel.
PETA member Emily Lavender called Friday's demonstration fun and upbeat.
But MacIsaac takes exception to many of PETA's protests. He said they are often extreme and need an extreme opposition.
"PETA has a good cause, which is to ethically treat animals, but the focus hasn't been on that, it’s been on being extreme. I’m just offended by some of the things PETA does to protest," MacIsaac said. "I’m for the ethical treat of animals, I’m also for farming and hunting animals."
Supports seal hunt
MacIsaac said he strongly supports the annual seal hunt on Canada's east coast. He claims there are three million extra seals than can be naturally sustained.
"I’m against anybody telling a fisherman who is out at five in the morning, on the ice in the North Atlantic, that they know better than [the fishermen] know about what it’s like to make a living out there and what is a humane way to do the seal hunt," said MacIsaac, who is originally from Cape Breton and now lives in Windsor. "I was raised a hunter. I know how to hunt with proper technique without harming animals."
MacIsaac said Canada was born out of the fur trade. And that fur is a necessity during harsh Canadian winters.
"To assume I live in Brazil and don’t need to wear warm clothes in the winter, go to Winnipeg at Portage and Main in the middle of winter and you’ll be happy you had a fur," MacIsaac said.
PETA member Emily Lavender disagreed.
"There is no excuse to be wearing fur or skin," Lavender said. "There are so many fashionable, durable warm, comfortable options."