When People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals came to Fort Worth earlier this month, they parked a woman in a cage, nearly naked and painted up like a cat, on a sidewalk downtown. So imagine our excitement to hear the animal lovers would be on a street corner in Dallas today, protesting outside the Canadian consulate.
Really, imagine our excitement to learn Dallas had a Canadian consulate at all.
A dozen protesters turned up on the corner of St. Paul Street and Ross Avenue at noon, with signs, pamphlets, and the coup de grace: a small pile of stuffed baby seals, splattered with fake blood. Every now and then one of the protesters posed with a spiked club pointed down at one of the seals' heads or (as some were already headless) their necks.
The protest is aimed at curbing the Canadian government's continued support for the annual seal hunt, particularly the commercial hunt run separately from the relatively small Inuit subsistence hunt. (A distinction that hasn't helped to win over some native leaders.)
With the 2010 Winter Olympics headed to Vancouver, PETA sees this as a time when Canada is especially open to outside pressure.
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"There are seal hunts elsewhere, but Canada has the most prominent one. The government is sanctioning it in a way that's just unheard of," said Jena Hunt, the West Coast-based PETA campaign manager who rallied local support for the Dallas protest.
Folks walking by took pamphlets or pointed from across the street, but compared to the spectacle in Fort Worth a few weeks back, the diorama of misfit toys did little to draw a crowd.
"We wanted to emphasize that the seals are babies," Hunt told Unfair Park, when asked why the seals were so small. She said other protests have used human dressed as seals -- they even beat apart a papier mache seal piñata in Washington.
Hunt made good points in laying out PETA's long-running stand against the hunt, but scribbling onto my sweat-dripped notepad, it was tough not to feel at once a little jealous of the sub-zero, ice floe life these critters enjoy, right up until they take a spiked blow to the head.