Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tagaq Wins Polaris, Swears at PETA, Urges Crowd to 'Wear and Eat Seal'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tagaq Wins Polaris, Swears at PETA, Urges Crowd to 'Wear and Eat Seal'

Article excerpt

Tagaq wins Polaris, hurls expletive at PETA


TORONTO - Nunavut-reared throat singer Tanya Tagaq claimed the $30,000 Polaris Music Prize on Monday night, then used her acceptance speech to support the wearing and eating of seal -- and lob an expletive at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Tagaq's record "Animism" beat out higher-profile offerings from the likes of Drake and past winners Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett to claim the award, given to the best Canadian album of the past year as determined by a group of journalists, and host Jay Baruchel -- the lanky Montreal-bred star of "This is the End" and "Goon" -- fell to his knees and fanned his arms toward her in admiration as she took the stage.

After thanking her producer and family, Tagaq shifted into an impassioned "side note."

"People should wear and eat seal as much as possible because if you can imagine an indigenous culture thriving and surviving on a sustainable resource, wearing seal and eating it, it's delicious and there's lots of them.

"And f--- PETA," she added.

In the spring, Tagaq posted a "sealfie" -- a picture of her daughter next to a dead seal. The snap was part of a movement intended to support the Inuit seal hunt, which is seen as being under attack by animal rights groups.

As a result, Tagaq said at the time she was harassed by critics -- but such backlash certainly didn't soften her stance.

"I really believe that if hipsters can make flower beards 'in,' then you can do it with seal," she told the crowd of mostly music industry folk. "Come on guys."

Reached Tuesday, a representative from PETA argued that Tagaq's anger against the organization was misplaced.

"PETA was surprised by Tanya's ill-informed rant because we've never campaigned against the indigenous hunt," said PETA's senior vice-president of campaigns, Dan Mathews, in a statement emailed to The Canadian Press.

"Our fight is -- and always has been -- against the East Coast commercial slaughter, which is run by white people who bilk Canadians for millions in tax dollars in order to prop up the non-existent seal trade. …

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