Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Want to stop the seal hunt? First stop $11 peanut butter in Nunavut

We moved into their land, to get access to valuable resources. We brought the "civilizing" influence of schools, houses and grocery stores to Canada's northern peoples in Nunavut. And now that we've made our case that shopping is better than hunting, we offer them...

The problem, you see, is that almost anything made on a farm or a factory has to be flown in. The traditional diet was mostly meat — mammals and birds from the land and sea, supplemented with fish and berries in season. We're talking caribou, polar bears, seals, whales...

Yeah, that's right. Animals the world doesn't want hunted anymore. But what are the alternatives?

Some Nunavut activists have taken their story to the world, via a Facebook Group called "Feeding My Family". Here, they share their photos of outrageous food prices (the ones above showed up on Buzzfeed) as well as their stories of food insecurity. They have since shown up on The Consumerist,  CBC, The Toronto Star, Huffington Post, and elsewhere.

But what can really be done?

Well, when you have the world's attention, you seize the moment. Just last month, UN special rapporteur for food Olivier De Schutter stated that Canada has over 800,000 households that are considered "food insecure" — a shocking statistic for a first-world country. So an Iqaluit resident, Jessica Ann, started a Change.org petition to the Government of Canada, stating:
Over 70% of Nunavut families with children between the ages of 3-5 are food insecure. Poverty, climate change and high food prices mean that many families in Nunavut go hungry. The UN Rapporteur recently issued a report about Canada's 800,000 families who are food insecure, calling food insecurity in our country a "great concern". The Conservative MP for Nunavut, Leona Aglukkaq, shamed Nunavummiut with her immature and out-of-touch response to the UN Rapporteur. 
We, the people of Nunavut, deserve better from our federal government. Please sign this petition to ask for concrete, effective change that will address poverty and food insecurity in our communities.

There was a time, up there, when food security depended on skill, cooperation, weather and luck. Today, it depends on compassion and fairness.

If people really want to save the seals, etc., maybe we should look at providing affordable alternatives first.


  1. Those prices make me want to cry. It's very easy to say "Ooooh stop hurting the cute little baby seals!" when you're smack in the middle of an urban center with accessible food 24/7.

  2. let them eat, umm... cake! oops, sorry, wrong revolution.

    just out of curiousity, how much are they making per year? in relation to those prices in the store? if you are making a LOT, then 11 dollar peanut butter may be cheap.

    the solution? if you don't want me hunting for my food, subsidize my food costs???


  3. They're not making a lot: in 2009, Nunavut had the lowest median household income among all the provinces and territories:


  4. Check out www.feedingmyfamily.org, specifically the FAQs. It answers alot of the "Well why don't they just...." type questions. Thanks-