Module 3 – Post 2: Restaurant Serves Seal Meat Controversey: Paul Waterlander

I saw this article at the Huffington Post Canada website.  A restaurant called Kukum Kitchen owned by an Indigenous Canadian began serving raw seal meat as part of its menu.  The decision to serve seal meat was instantly met with protest by non-Indigenous protestors.

The menu offering seal meat was noticed by non-Indigenous environmentalists who began a boycott campaign against the restaurant to pressure them to remove seal meat from their menu.  A petition has already attracted 4,500 signatures.

“Toronto-based Anishinaabe artist Aylan Couchie launched a counter-petition in response, which has been shared by musician Tanya Tagaq and has nearly matched the support of the original campaign.”

“Lenore Newman, the Canada Research Chair for Food Security and Environment and author of “Speaking in Tongues: A Canadian Culinary Journey,” considers some of the practices in raising chicken and pork for consumption to be far more cruel — and far more common — than the seal hunt.

 Even if (the original petition) is well-intentioned, there are literally thousands of restaurants in Toronto that serve meat that is produced in much worse ways,” says Newman, adding that seal meat is an easy target for criticism because its roots are Inuit.”
I do think there is some underlying racism in our culture around other people’s food. In Canada we have this huge history of oppressing Indigenous cuisine, and telling Indigenous people how they should be eating. Controlling people’s food is about controlling them.”

“Like Newman, he thinks there’s some degree of hypocrisy in animal rights advocates who protest the seal hunt rather than factory-farmed chickens or industrial abattoirs.”If (seals) weren’t cute, we would probably have a much easier job.”

This would be a great article to use to begin classroom discussion on the topic of food use and cultural practice.



(A photo showing the restaurant Kukum’s Kitchen.  Indigenous chef John Shawana shown next to menu offering seal tartare.)

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