April 24, 2014 10:09

Canada's fisheries minister accuses Morrissey of being 'brainwashed'

Gail Shea has responded to the singer's comments about the country's seal hunt

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Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has responded to criticisms from Morrissey.

Gail Shea wrote to Canada.com after Morrissey spoke out about the country's "greedy and barbaric" seal hunting in an April 19 post to fansite True To You titled 'This sorrowful Canada'.

Shea writes: “The British singer Morrissey is the latest addition to the train of celebrities looking for a popularity boost from attacking the livelihoods of people who live off the bounty of the land instead of living off record sales or TV ratings. Sealing is an essential income boost for many families in rural coastal communities, making up 35 per cent of their yearly income. Seals are a plentiful and sustainable resource, with recent estimates putting the harp seal population at about 7.4 million!”

She argues that the Canadian seal hunt is "a proud tradition that has been going on off the shore of Newfoundland for hundreds of years, and practiced by Inuit and First Nations people for thousands of years before that", and that the process is "well-regulated".

She concludes: "Mr Morrissey and his Hollywood buddies have been brainwashed by decades of propaganda from fringe animal rights groups and radical environmentalists. They should take the time to actually consider the facts, or talk to the people whose lives are affected by the seal hunt, like I have on many occasions, but that might be too difficult to do from the ivory towers of Hollywood."

In Morrissey's post, the long-time campaigner for animal rights says that "Canada is a beautiful country, and the people of Canada are good people" and focuses his ire on Shea. He writes that she "says that baby seals are 'killed humanely', and explains how the baby seals are shot by high-powered rifles. Is this a death that Gail Shea would wish for herself?"

Morrissey is due to release new album 'World Peace Is None of Your Business' this summer. The singer, who released his autobiography in October 2013, has signed a new, worldwide record deal with Universal Music's US-based Harvest Records for the release of his 10th studio album.

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