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Visitors to Inauguration Can Facilitate Change with their Choice of Restaurants

More Than 150 Washington, DC Area Restaurants and Chefs are Participating in The HSUS' ProtectSeals Campaign

The Humane Society of the United States

WASHINGTON — The millions of visitors to the nation's capital for the presidential inauguration can help end the world's largest slaughter of marine mammals simply by eating out at some of D.C.'s hottest restaurants. More than 150 restaurants in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, 48 of which are on the Washingtonian's 100 Best Restaurants 2008 list, are participating in The Humane Society of the United States' ProtectSeals campaign by boycotting Canadian seafood until Canada ends its commercial seal hunt for good.

"I'm very pleased to join this important campaign," said internationally-acclaimed Chef Michel Richard of Citronelle and Central Michel Richard. "I look forward to celebrating the day when the seal hunt is nothing but a distant memory." 

By encouraging restaurants, chefs and consumers to boycott Canadian seafood, The Humane Society of the United States intends to convince Canada's fishing industry to stop participating in and supporting the bloody commercial seal hunt each spring in the Atlantic Ocean.

"What everyone in the United States chooses to eat for dinner tonight amounts to the casting of a vote: Are we going to condone the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of baby seals every year, or are we going to take action to bring it to an end?" said Patricia Ragan, director of The HSUS' ProtectSeals Campaign. "We are thrilled to have such a large outpouring of support throughout the Washington, D.C. area for our efforts to end the commercial slaughter of baby seals in Canada, and hope visitors and locals alike will take the opportunity to patronize these establishments."

Restaurants, seafood distributors and grocers participating in the ProtectSeals campaign pledge to avoid Canadian snow crab, or all seafood from Eastern Canada, or seafood from all of Canada until the hunt ends for good. The HSUS has received signed pledges from all boycott participants.

Other participating companies include Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joe's, BI-LO Supermarkets, Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafés, Ted Turner's steakhouse chain - Ted's Montana Grill, WinCo Foods, Legal Sea Foods, Lowe's Foods and Bon Appétit Management Company.

Since the launch of the ProtectSeals campaign, the value of Canadian seafood exports to the United States has dropped dramatically, providing clear financial incentive for Canadian fishermen to stop killing seals. A win-win solution lies in the creation of a sealing license retirement. Under such a plan, Canadian fishermen who participate in the commercial seal hunt would receive fair compensation for the small amount of additional income they earn killing seals. Both the commercial seal hunt and the boycott would come to an end. When Canada ended its commercial whale hunt, it set up a license retirement plan along these lines.

Washington, D.C. area restaurants and chefs participating in the boycott:

1789 Restaurant
2941 Restaurant
Aioli Meditalian Gourmet
Amici Miei
Aroma Indian Cuisine
Banana Café
Bangkok Joe's Dumpling Bar and Café
Bistro Bis
Bistro Bistro
Bobby's Crabcakes
Bodega Spanish Tapas and Lounge
Bombay Club Restaurant
Bombay Indian Restaurant
Bonsai Restaurant
Buck's Fishing and Camping
Busboys & Poets, three locations
Café Atlantico
Cashion's Eat Place
Cava Restaurant
Central Michel Richard
Cesco Trattoria
Chef Theo's
China House
Chinatown Garden Restaurant
Circle Bistro
CityZen Restaurant
Comet Ping Pong
CommonWealth Gastropub
Da Marco Ristorante Italiano
David Craig Bethesda
District Chophouse and Brewery
Eammon's Dublin Chipper
Evening Star Café
Filomena Ristorante
Finn & Porter
Golden Flame
Hank's Oyster Bar, two locations
Heritage India
Houston's, two locations
Il Mulino
Jackie's Restaurant
Kaz Sushi Bistro
La Chaumiere
La Tasca, four locations
Le Paradou
Le Petit Mistral
Lebanese Café, three locations
Lebanese Taverna, five locations
Legal Sea Foods, five locations
Leopold's Kafe and Konditorei
Little India
Mandalay Restaurant
Mark and Orlando's Restaurant
Mark's Kitchen
Marrakesh Palace and Pasha Lounge
Mehak Indian Cuisine
Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar
Michel Richard Citronelle
Middle Eastern Cuisine
Miss Saigon
Monterey Bay Fish Grotto
New Heights
News Café
Notti Bianche
Olive Lounge & Grill
Paper Moon
Passage to India
PGA Tour Grill
Polo India Club
Poste Moderne Brasserie
PS7's Restaurant
Raaga Fine Indian Cuisine and Catering
Red Line Grill
Restaurant Eve
Restaurant Nora
RFD Washington
Ristorante Tosca
Rock Creek at Mazza
Rock Creek Restaurant
Sala Thai, five locations
Savory Cafe
Sonoma Restaurant
Spezie Ristorante
Starfish Café
Stars Bistro and Bar
Steam Café
Sushi Go Round
Tabard Inn
Taberna del Alabardero
Taj Mahal Restaurant
Taste of Morocco
Ted's Montana Grill, four locations
Thai Derm
Thai at Silver Spring
Thai Shirlington
The Grill from Ipanema
The Hawk and Dove Restaurant
The Majestic
The Occidental
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
The Oval Room
The Reef
Uni a Sushi Place
Viet Royale
Woodmont Grill
Zack's Taverna

Facts about Canada's Commercial Seal Hunt:

  • Canada's commercial seal hunt is the world's largest slaughter of marine mammals, with more than 1 million seals killed in the past four years.
  • Each year, suffering is documented at the commercial seal hunt, including seals cut open while responding to pain, conscious seals impaled on steel spikes and dragged across the ice floes, and wounded seals left to suffer.
  • Veterinary experts say the commercial seal hunt is inherently inhumane because of the physical environment in which the seal hunt operates and the speed at which it must be conducted.
  • Ninety-seven percent of the seals killed in the commercial seal hunt are less than 3 months old at the time of slaughter. Many have yet to take their first swim or eat their first solid meal when they are killed.
  • Independent scientists warn Canada's seal hunt management plan poses a threat to the survival of seal populations, particularly in light of the impacts of global warming on these ice dependent animals. Decreasing ice cover in the northwest Atlantic in recent years has led to mortality rates as high as 100 percent in key seal birthing areas, when the sea ice melted before the pups were old enough to survive in open water.
  • Sealers are commercial fishermen, who earn on average less than 5 percent of their incomes from killing seals - the remainder from fisheries including crab, shrimp and lobster.
  • In 2008, the landed value of the seal hunt in Canada was less than $7 million.
  • Canada exports nearly two-thirds of its seafood to the United States producing $2.5 billion annually for the Canadian economy. In 2005, The Humane Society of the United States launched a boycott of Canadian seafood products as a means of pressuring the Canadian fishing industry and government to stop the seal hunt.
  • Since the ProtectSeals seafood boycott was launched, more than 600,000 individuals and more than 5,000 grocery stores and restaurants have pledged to avoid some or all Canadian seafood until the commercial seal hunt is ended for good.
  • In recent years, 10 countries have either banned their trade in seal products or announced their intentions to do so. The European Union is currently considering a prohibition on seal product trade.
  • Nigel Barker, noted photographer and judge from "America's Next Top Model," is a spokesperson for the campaign. Barker accompanied HSUS staff to the ice floes this past spring to photograph the seal nursery and document the hunt.

For more information about the campaign to save Canadian seals, please visit humanesociety.org/protectseals.


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.