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Anthony Bourdain Urges Chefs To Reconsider Seal Hunt Ban (Twitter)

10/28/2013 11:27 EDT | Updated 10/28/2013 11:27 EDT
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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA - MARCH 23: A young Harp Seal on a beach on March 23, 2010 on Prince Edward Island in the Northern Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada. This year has been the worst ice year on record in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada, meaning that a record number of seal pups are expected to die. Each year hunters travel to the region to hunt the seals for their fur. The IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare) have been documenting the ice conditions in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and discovered that few pups remain. Harp seals need ice for giving birth, nursing and resting, and seal mortality is expected to be very high this year as a result of the poor ice conditions. (Photo by Barcroft Media / Getty Images)

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain took to Twitter on Monday and urged high-profile chefs to reconsider their stance on the Canadian seal hunt and a boycott on Canadian seafood.

The Humane Society of America has a long-running boycott on Canadian seafood to protest the seal hunt. Last week, it announced that 42 high-profile chefs have joined the boycott and were also being honoured by Food & Wine magazine.

[UPDATE: We've added comments from the International Fund For Animal Welfare's Canadian chapter. The group has campaigned against the Canadian seal hunt.]

Bourdain weighed in on the debate with this:

Bourdain cites high food prices up north and the fact that Inuit have been hunting seals for generations as reasons why the ban would be ineffective.

Bourdain has visited Northern Quebec and eaten seal with Inuit hunters on his show "No Reservations."

Montreal chef David McMillan, co-owner of restaurant Joe Beef, also joined Bourdain in condemning the boycott.

Canada's seal hunt largely occurs in Newfoundland but Inuit communities in the north also hunt seal. The Nunavut government wrote a report defending the seal hunt:

"Seal hunting has been a cornerstone of Inuit culture, nutrition and survival in the Arctic for millennia. Since the introduction of the cash economy in the Canadian Arctic, seal hunting has also been an important factor in the socio-economic well-being of Inuit. Seal hunting in Nunavut occurs year-round and is an important part of daily life in every coastal community."

The IFAW's Canadian chapter responded to Bourdain and pointed out that anti seal hunt campaigners have never opposed the native hunt.

The Canadian seal hunt has been a popular cause among animal rights activists in Canada and abroad. The European Union and Canada have fought a long legal battle over the trade in seal products.

South of the border, groups such as the Humane Society of the United States have also been vocal about the hunt. The groups say that the seal hunt is unnecessarily cruel and is unsustainable.

What do you think of the seal hunt and the seafood boycott?

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