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Greenpeace: Would you die for a seal?

The Story

St. Anthony, Nfld. has become an unlikely battleground as Greenpeace sweeps into town. They're accompanied by two U.S. Congressmen and actress Pamela Sue Martin to protest the annual seal hunt. This normally quiet fishing town is up in arms as local residents, dependent on the seal hunt for income, confront the protesters. In this CBC Television clip, Greenpeace members say they are determined to disrupt the hunt by putting their bodies between the seals and the clubs of the hunters.

Medium: Television
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: April 24, 1978
Guest(s): James M. Jeffords, John Lundrigan, Pamela Sue Martin, Patrick Moore, Leo J. Ryan
Reporter: John Baker
Duration: 17:52

Did You know?

. The commercial seal hunt was dealt a crushing blow in 1983 when the European Union banned the sale of seal pelts in Europe. But the hunt continued on as an average of 60,000 seals were killed in Canada annually between 1984 and 1994. In 2003 the Canadian government raised the kill quota to 975,000 harp seals over the next three years.

. Part of the initial outrage over the seal hunt was over the image of sealers clubbing baby seals over their heads to procure their fur. Sealers used clubs instead of a gun to kill the seals in order to avoid reducing the value of the pelt with a bullet hole. Baby seals keep their fur for roughly three weeks after birth before they moult.

. While groups such as Greenpeace feel sealing is inhumane and unnecessary, others argue it is an integral part of Atlantic Canada's social and cultural make up, providing commercial fishermen with a source of income during the fishery off-season in the spring.

. CBC personality Rex Murphy, a native of St. John's, was very vocal in expressing his outrage over Greenpeace's protest of the Newfoundland seal hunt. In a 1976 interview with Barbara Frum, Murphy delivered a stinging commentary on Greenpeace, calling the environmental organization, among other things, 'astronauts of stupidity'.

. Born Jan. 5, 1954, American actress Pamela Sue Martin starred in several Hollywood features and TV dramas, including: A Cry in the Wild (1990), The Lady in Red (1979) and It Could Happen to You (1975). She also had a starring role as Fallon Carrington-Colby in the acclaimed TV series Dynasty.

. Pamela Sue Martin wasn't the only Hollywood celebrity to travel to Newfoundland in order to protest the annual seal hunt. In 1977 actress Bridget Bardot went on the ice to save the seals, causing an international incident and stirring up anti-sealing sentiment around the world.



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