“The Sealers of Twillingate and New World Island”


The poet recalls the hardships faced by the sealers of 1862, then turns to the modern hunt, as SPCA planes fly overhead. He warns against actual interference with the hunt, and declares seal hunting both good commerce and a good source of food


Despite this song's vicious and inflated rhetoric, seal hunting has of course been restricted in the last 30 years -- in part because of opposition from animal rights' groups, but mostly because the sealers have destroyed the seal populations, and have been forced to cut back to preserve the herds.

Seals were indeed an important food source to the Newfoundland fishermen -- and even more to the Inuit. According to Bob Bartlett (who should know; see his biography under "Captain Bob Bartlett"), "The seal is the one indispensible animal of the Arctic. The flesh is by no means disagreeable, though it has a general flavor of fish, which constitutes the seal's chief food" (see p. 54 of _The Last Voyage of the Karluk_, as told to Ralph T. Hale; published 1916; now available with a new introduction by Edward E. Leslie as _The Karluk's Last Voyage_). - RBW- RBW


  1. Ryan/Small, pp. 150-151, "The Sealers of Twillingate and New World Island" (1 text)
  2. BI, RySm150


Author: John C. Loveridge
Earliest date: 1973 (Loveridge, Story in Pictures and Poetry of the 1973 Seal Hunt....)