Stephen Harper, Canadian Ranger Dinos Tikivik, Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Nunavut premier Eva Aariak, look on a seal hunting demonstration in Iqaluit, Feb. 23, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Sean Kilpatrick/Pool
Across Canada this weekend, millions of families will sit down for a Thanksgiving feast that includes turkey and all the trimmings. Brothers will fight over who gets the turkey leg, mothers will fret about whether the turkey is done just right and fathers will take as many naps as they can after gorging on the bird.
Most of us still enjoy eating meat in this country even if we don’t think much about where it comes from.
Ask most kids and they’ll tell you meat comes from the store, but there are millions of Canadians who are still connected enough to the land that they know exactly where their meat comes from.
We call them hunters.
Right now, hunting is under attack and the animal rights extremists leading the charge have just scored a major victory: They’ve forced several hunting shows off the air.
Global Television and its parent company, Shaw Media, were the targets of an orchestrated campaign to force hunting off Canadian television airwaves.
“Global Television seems to think Canadians want to watch animals being killed for sport. Why else would it be running three different hunting shows?” the Vancouver Humane Society asked its members as part of the campaign to get the shows off the air.
Of course, put in those terms the shows do sound awful. Killing for sport is wrong, but that’s not what any real hunter does and it’s not what the shows in question were about.
Keith Beasley, one of the three brothers behind Canada in the Rough, a nine-season ratings success, said hunters do not kill animals for sport.
“Those people are criminals, not hunters,” Beasley said of anyone who would shoot an animal and watch it die, then walk away.
Like every hunter I’ve ever known, Beasley feeds his family with the animals he kills.
Of course, the campaign against his hunting show is about more than about hunting.
The people at the Vancouver Humane Society would not only prefer Beasley weren’t out there hunting, they’d prefer you weren’t eating that turkey this weekend.
The VHS has several campaigns running to get everyone to eat less meat and right now on their Facebook page, they’re pushing vegetarianism and using the current meat recall as a rallying cry.
So while the target this time was a hunting show on television, next time it could be your hamburger or turkey dinner.
Radical animal activists aren’t happy to live and let live — they want to push their view of the world on everyone else.
I don’t hunt right now, but might just take it up in protest, and Canadians from coast to coast should be bothered that a part of our heritage has been forced off the air.
“This is what this country is built on,” Beasley told me on my Sun News program, Byline.
“The fur trade, the hunting and fishing industry is what originally happened in this country.”
Of course there are plenty of people in this country who would like us to forget our history, forget our heritage and live the same downtown uber-urban latte-sipping lifestyle that they do. But that’s not for me and chances are it’s not for you.
“In a country like ours with 3.5 million miles of unspoiled wilderness, hunting is just part of our lives,” Beasley said.
Hunting is as Canadian as maple syrup. Let’s stand up for it before they take it away completely.