March 8, 2010 / 4:43 PM / in 8 years

Seal meat to be on menu at Canadian Parliament

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s parliamentary restaurant will be serving seal meat on Wednesday in a gesture of defiance aimed at a European Union ban on imports of seal products.

<p>Canadian Minister of Defence Peter MacKay gives a piece of seal meat to the Chief of Defence Staff General W.J. Natynczyk (L) during a community event in Iqaluit, Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic August 22, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>

Canada’s Conservative government says it will fight the EU ban, which was imposed last July on the grounds that the annual seal hunt off the east coast was cruel and inhumane.

A dish of double-smoked bacon-wrapped seal loin in a port reduction will be on the menu on Wednesday, the office of Senator Celine Hervieux-Payette said on Monday.

“All political parties will have the opportunity to demonstrate to the international community the solidarity of the Canadian Parliament behind those who earn a living from the seal hunt,” she said in a statement.

Ottawa says the hunt -- which takes place in March and April -- provides valuable income for Atlantic fishing communities. The seals are either shot or hit over the head with a spiked club called a hakapik.

An aide to Hervieux-Payette said that, depending on supplies, seal meat could be available once a week when in season. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)

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