March 16, 2009
Park City Restaurants and Resorts ProtectSeals
Whether they are hitting the slopes or the trails, visitors to one of the nation's premier vacation destinations will no doubt work up quite an appetite in Park City, Utah. Hungry vacationers and locals alike can help end the world's largest slaughter of marine mammals by eating out. More than 25 restaurants and resorts in Park City 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.
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.
"Not purchasing Canadian seafood is an easy way to show my support for ending the inhumane, yearly slaughter of hundreds of thousands of baby seals," said Kevin Donovan, executive chef of the Park City Resort. Donovan has pledged not to purchase any seafood from Canada for any of the Park City Resort's eight restaurants.
Kevin Donovan, considered one of Utah's highest-profile chefs and culinary experts, is the executive chef at some of Utah and Colorado's most renowned restaurants. His culinary innovation has won these restaurants numerous awards including "Best of State" and "American Fine Dining" awards and "Four-Star" and "Four-Diamond" ratings.
Earlier this year, Bon Appétit Executive Chef Cat Cora hosted a star-studded, invitation-only dinner at the Bon Appétit Supper Club in Park City where she announced she had joined the ProtectSeals campaign and had pledged to boycott all Canadian seafood.
"Restaurants in Park City are world renowned and we are thrilled to have such a large outpouring of support throughout the area for our efforts to end the commercial slaughter of baby seals in Canada," said Patricia Ragan, director of The HSUS' ProtectSeals Campaign. "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?"
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. A full list is here.
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.
Park City restaurants participating in the boycott:
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: Seals are cut open while responding to pain, conscious seals are impaled on steel spikes and dragged across the ice floes and wounded seals are 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 when they are slaughtered. Many have yet to take their first swim or eat their first solid meal when they are killed.
- Sealers are commercial fishermen, who earn, on average, less than 5 percent of their incomes from killing seals. The remainder of their income is won from fishing crab, shrimp and lobster.
- Canada exports nearly two-thirds of its seafood to the United States, which produces $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.
- 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 on "America's Next Top Model," is a spokesperson for the campaign. Barker accompanied HSUS staff to the ice floes in spring 2008 to photograph the seal nursery and document the hunt.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. 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.