Toronto restaurant defends serving seal meat after uproar
There's a controversy brewing over a dish at a Toronto restaurant, and the debate is reaching fever pitch. The culprit is seal tartare, served at Kū-kŭm Kitchen as part of the restaurant's approach to honouring traditional Indigenous fare.
Animal rights activists have started a petition to have the item removed from the menu, while the restaurant defends its decision to serve the controversial dish. In Canada, there are no stipulations against serving seal meat.
The restaurant and its supporters have said that the criticism unfairly targets the Indigenous tradition of consuming seal meat, brought forth by "mis-education and a little bit of ignorance about stereotypes" regarding the practise.
Kū-kŭm has since been the subject of an array of negative feedback on Facebook with some giving the restaurant low ratings in response to the dish.
A counter-petition has been created to challenge the initial petition, and numerous others have come out in support of the restaurant on social media.
The original petition was ignorant & (at best, unintentionally) racist, hurting Inuit communities. I hope to eat at Ku-kum Kitchen one day. https://t.co/LPqMpHJVUs— 🌜hris Rider (@ThatMcRider) October 11, 2017
Kū-kŭm's owner and chef Joseph Shawana spoke to the CBC about the importance Indigenous chefs attach to reclaiming their heritage through culinary endeavours. He also just posted a defence of serving seal which has been shared on Twitter.
SeaDNA, Kū-kŭm's meat supplier, issued a statement in support of the restaurant's decision to include the item.
As the proud supplier of Chef Joseph we are glad to stand behind him, our industry and our products. We are dedicated to responsible and full-usage of this great Canadian resource. We encourage anyone with questions to head to seadna.ca to learn more.— SeaDNA (@seadnacanada) October 9, 2017
At present, seal tartare is still on the menu at Kū-kŭm.
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