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April 15, 2009

Celebrity Chef Kerry Simon Pledges to ProtectSeals

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce that celebrity chef Kerry Simon has joined the ProtectSeals boycott of Canadian seafood. He joins hundreds of other chefs, hundreds of thousands of individuals and thousands of businesses across the United States that are boycotting Canadian seafood until Canada ends its annual commercial slaughter of baby seals.

"I'm really glad to have a chance to help," Simon said. "Canada has the capacity to replace this needless cruelty with a more economically and professionally meaningful alternative for the few thousand fishermen who currently earn supplemental income by participating in the annual slaughter of seal pups. I'm banking on Canada matching its capacity with will, and I hope it'll do so soon."

Effective immediately, Simon is boycotting all Canadian seafood at Simon Palms Place at Palms Place in Las Vegas, Nev. In addition, Simon has pledged to work with his co-owners of the Cathouse at Luxor also in Las Vegas and Simon LA in Los Angeles to move Canadian seafood off their menus. 

"We are delighted to welcome Chef Simon to the ProtectSeals campaign," said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president for wildlife at The HSUS. "This very week, baby seals are being clubbed and shot to death off the coast of Canada for their fur. The images we have captured over the past few weeks are just heart wrenching. The once bright white ice floes are now stained with blood and littered with baby seal carcasses. Chef Simon helping to keep the issue in the public eye generates awareness about the cruel seal kill and puts further pressure on the Canadian government to end the senseless slaughter of baby seals once and for all."

Simon joins other top chefs such as Cat Cora, Michel Richard and Nora Pouillon in voicing their opposition to the seal slaughter. In total, more than 5,000 restaurants and grocery stores are participating in the boycott. Some of the many companies participating include; Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, Oceanaire, Harris Teeter, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Cafes, Legal Sea Foods, BI-LO Supermarkets, WinCo Foods, Ted Turner's steakhouse chain - Ted's Montana Grill and Bon Appétit Management Company. A complete list of grocery companies and seafood suppliers participating in the boycott is here and a list of participating restaurants is here.  

Dubbed "The Rock n' Roll Chef" by Rolling Stone magazine, Simon's has a well-earned international reputation not only as one of the most respected and innovative chefs in the business, but also one of the least pretentious. Simon appears regularly on TV, including as a judge on Iron Chef. For more information on Chef Simon, visit kerrysimon.com.

Video and stills from the 2009 seal kill are available for media download. 

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 comes 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.
  • Chefs, restaurants, seafood distributors and grocers participating in the ProtectSeals campaign pledge to avoid Canadian snow crab, all seafood from sealing provinces, or seafood from all of Canada until the hunt ends for good. The HSUS has signed pledges from all boycott participants.
  • 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.  

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

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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.

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