Nigel Barker provides insight to the young America's Next Top Model contestants that goes beyond what he learned during his years as a male model. He's spent time behind the camera as well, and so can speak to them both as someone who walked in their shoes and as someone who could be calling their career shots.

We might see him most often as part of the elimination panel, but Nigel is keeping busy outside of the America's Next Top Model world as well, and he's recently taken on the cause of banning the seal trade.

Nigel blogged about the controversial trade, first explaining that this is a large-scale issue for the animals: “Canada's commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth. In the past three years, more than one million seals have been killed for their fur.”

The practice is condemned, Nigel said, for the particularly cruel way in which the seal fur is gathered. “In 2001,” he writes, “an independent veterinary panel studied the commercial seal hunt and concluded that the seal hunt results in considerable and unacceptable suffering.”

Nigel isn't afraid to give his reader a less-clinical take on the practice (readers who are particularly sensitive to animal cruelty might find some of this paragraph a little rough to read), “Well, being clubbed over the head when you were only a few weeks old and left to drown in your own blood could give that impression! Almost half the baby seals aren't even unconscious from the clubbing before they are skinned alive.”

The America's Next Top Model judge won't be swayed by any arguments that the trade is too vital an industry to be discontinued, saying, “In Newfoundland, where more than 90 percent of sealers live, income from the seal hunt accounts for less than one-half of 1 percent of the province's economy and less than 1 percent of Newfoundlanders participate in the seal hunt. So banning the hunt is not about the small financial inconvenience to a few humans but the massive suffering of millions of beautiful baby seals…..”

He's created a tee-shirt for the cause – a line drawing of a seal with a collar saying “Save Me” and has a website – – at which other individuals who have concerns with this practice and for the humane treatment of other living creatures can sign a petition in protest of the practice.

For all of Tyra's shortcomings, even her skeptics must give her credit for not being afraid to use her media influence to help raise awareness about issues she is concerned about. It would appear that her fellow judge Nigel feels much the same way.

Source : BuddyTV Staff Columnist

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