Canada official who ate raw heart defends seal industry

Governor General Michaelle Jean, middle left, samples fish at an Inuit community feast in Nunavut, Canada, in May.

Associated Press

Governor General Michaelle Jean, middle left, samples fish at an Inuit community feast in Nunavut, Canada, in May.

KUUJJUAQ, Quebec — Canada's governor general said Monday that sensational images of her eating a raw seal heart promoted a better understanding of the country's north and its sealing industry.

Michaelle Jean, the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as Canada's head of state, gutted the seal and swallowed a slice of the mammal's heart last week. Her actions came after the European Union voted last month to impose a ban on seal products on grounds that the seal hunt is cruel.

The photos raised eyebrows around the world, but Jean argued Monday that the display drew attention to Canada's isolated northern Inuit communities, who rely on the hunt for their incomes.

"What happened in this journey up north is quite amazing," Jean said as she wrapped up her trip. "I'm very happy I was able to raise a lot of awareness about the north, about pressing social issues, about a way of life, about a culture."

Canada official who ate raw heart defends seal industry 06/01/09 [Last modified: Monday, June 1, 2009 10:27pm]

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