ANIMAL rights activists have faced a backlash after targeting a restaurant for serving traditional Canadian seal delicacies.
There was fury that the restaurant which serves up “the culinary story of Canadian Indigenous heritage” had been attacked.
Thousands went online to support the Kukum Kitchen in Toronto, Canada which serves dishes like Nova Scotia oysters, elk, pheasant and halibut.
It had been bombarded with bad online reviews after the Care2 animal rights organisation started a petition to stop it serving seal.
But its supporters hit back with a counter-petition, praising it for its menu and for embracing the Canadian indigenous culture.
Joseph Shawana, the owner and chef at Kukum Kitchen said:
“The seal is back, and it’s just my way to show respect to the northern communities and our northern brothers and sisters, to have a little piece of their food and their culture on the plate here at Kukum.
“My goal is to highlight the interpretation of Indigenous culture in all corners of Canada – including the north. That’s why I included seal meat on the menu.
“We’re launching our new menu next week and it’s going to have not only the seal tartare but also a braised, seared seal on the menu with candied beets and maple syrup and hibiscus sugar.”
The restaurant stocks its meat from a company called SeaDNA, which claims to harvest harp seals from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has said that the seal population is not under threat because in the last five years it has been under fished.
According to Canadian government data the harp seal population is near it’s highest in history.
Jennifer Matos, the animal rights activist who started the petition, said she supports “the indigenous hunt” and indigenous rights.
Ms Matos said: “I have nothing against the seal hunt, but I am against a commercial slaughter.”
The petition claimed “90 percent of the seals killed are between three weeks and three months of age,” but the SeaDNA disputed the statement.
SeaDNA harvests the harp seals after they are three months old, when they have grey skin with black spots.