Macca & Mills: The seal pup tour

Tensions run high as Paul and Heather McCartney argue on TV with a Canadian politician over the seal hunt

Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Heather Mills-McCartney were involved in a television row with a senior Canadian politician about the country's "brutal" commercial seal hunt.

The McCartneys frequently interrupted Newfoundland's Premier Danny Williams during CNN's Larry King Live, after Sir Paul had highlighted the issue of seal-clubbing with a high-profile visit to the ice floes of Canada hours earlier.

But the former Beatle and his wife were accused by Mr Willams of being "used" as they lent their names to the campaign to stop the killing.

The McCartneys took to the ice on Thursday in temperatures of -30C to see the seal pups at close quarters after being helicoptered to the Gulf of St Lawrence. The pair crept up to a seal watched by film crews to grab the world to attention before the hunting season starts in a few weeks' time.

They also called on the Canadian government to end the cull which claims the lives of 300,000 seals, earning £8.3m for the local hunters who sell the pelts from their prey.

Of his encounter with the seals, Sir Paul said: "It's a beautiful spectacle and it's the kind of thing that people should just respect and love. But it was terrifying to think that in probably about three weeks, sealers will arrive, and with clubs and with pickaxes and with guns to kill a huge amount of these baby seals."

The musician said the argument that it was a long-standing tradition did not wash. "We believe that 500 years is no justification for cruelty."

Appearing on the programme from Prince Edward Island, Sir Paul and Lady McCartney argued that ending the hunt could bring further economic benefits by developing the tourism industry. The Canadian government has denied the hunt is inhumane and has argued it is an economic necessity for the sealers, most of them from Newfoundland.

Mr Williams said the couple did not fully understand the issues and were being "used" by animal rights campaigners who organised the trip. Their visit was arranged by the British animal rights group Respect for Animals and the Humane Society International.

During the programme, Lady McCartney had to be told to let Mr Williams finish speaking after she accused him of talking "rubbish". Mr Williams, a millionaire lawyer before he turned to politics, said the couple's concerns could be levelled at numerous other industries.

"If you take the McCartneys' arguments to the extreme that they're willing to go, there will be no beef slaughter; there will be no pork slaughter; there will be no chicken slaughter; there will no fish in restaurants; there will be no eggs; there will be no milk for children in school milk programmes," he said.

Lady McCartney butted in. "Don't try to divert it. Rubbish. People eat meat; people eat fish; people don't eat the seals and they use it for fashion. It's not relevant."

In 2003, Canada approved a cull of nearly a million seals, from a population of 5.9 million, almost three times the number in the 1970s.

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Senior Account Executive / Account Executive

£25 - 30k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are looking for an Accoun...

Account Manager / Sales Account Manager / Recruitment Account Manager

£25k Basic (DOE) – (£30k year 1 OTE) : Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright A...

Resourcer / Junior Recruiter

£15-20k (DOE) + Benefits / Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright R...

Web Designer / Digital Designer

£25 - 40k (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Web Desig...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits