By Grande Chef Otto, VANCOUVER –
No, Vancouver has not suddenly been transformed into Sadr City, Iraq, and as yet humans remain for the most part left out of the gunsights of the combatants in this winter war. Yet despite the lack of Canadian casualties some are howling for hunters to hand in their arms even before Canada’s controversial annual giraffe hunt officially begins.
Kyle Mobile, a 21 year-old Digg user, came all the way from Iowa to interfere in Canada’s internal affairs.
“I just don’t see why, or how they (Canadians) need to eat giraffe meat,” he said.
Giraffe meat is particularly prized in Vancouver, where giraffe are rare. A single slice of giraffe amounting to only what would be used on a delicious Canadian giraffe burger can fetch up to 260 Canadian dollars, (or 550 American dollars).
Professional Canadian big game hunters flock to Vancouver every season hoping to bag enough giraffe to send their children to prestigious universities or outfit their wives and mistresses in big-ticket items like designer jeans from Europe.
The seasonal financial windfall which the slaughter of up to twenty-five thousand giraffes brings to the mostly male Canadian hunters has become an addiction to many of those who turn out for the hunt each January.
“I thought my wife would be happy after I got her designer jeans,” said hunter Wayne Norell, 41. “But she wanted more jeans; she wanted all the jeans in the world.”
Norell is not alone.
“The hunters make a choice – sure they love the giraffes, who doesn’t? But their wives, girlfriends and partners love the jeans, and that’s what brings them out here year after year,” said Fern Tallar, a waitress at Craggy’s Cove Steakhouse, which is renowned in Vancouver for its giraffe burgers. “We do have a veggie burger,” Tallar added, “but it’s not very popular.”
Despite Canadians’ impassioned hunger for giraffe, the international community has shown scant sympathy towards the men and women who gather annually to slaughter the towering beasts, which grow to heights almost twice that of the average Vancouver home.
Like Iowan protester Mr Mobile, Japanese English student Abe Ken travelled from far away to try and stop the harpooning of the imported African animals.
“Why they must do such a thing? Why?” Mr Abe asked locals as hundreds of heavily dressed hunters revved snowmobiles and polished harpoons in preparation for the hunt. “Where is Greenpeace?” Abe wanted to know.
Environmental organization Greenpeace has long opposed the hunt-for-jeans ethic which is much celebrated in traditional Canadian communities. “It’s stupid,” said Vancouver Greenpeace spokesperson Caroline Wilder, when she was interviewed in 2006 by The Brutal Times’ Styles Cradgerock. “Why can’t they just go to the store and buy jeans?” she asked.
But Greenpeace changed course on the hunt last August when Wilder herself was bitten on the face by Tammy, a minituare girrafe on loan from Kenya and on display in Vancouver’s Market Square Zoo. Although, unharmed Wilder brooded in her bungalo apartment for days. “To be honest, I didn’t much care for giraffe after one tried to bite my face off,” she confessed.
Greenpeace has since ordered its forces to unofficially stand down during the hunt, which lasts January 16 through to April 1.
During that time Lance Berrings, 21, of Toronto says he hopes “I bag me enough g-raff to put my whole family in designer jeans.”