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March 3, 2010

McGrath’s Fish House Pledges to ProtectSeals

The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce that McGrath's Fish House has joined the ProtectSeals boycott of Canadian seafood. The popular seafood restaurant chain 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 am proud to support The Humane Society of the United States' campaign to end the commercial slaughter of seals," said John McGrath, owner of McGrath's Fish House. "By boycotting seafood from the Canadian sealing provinces we are sending a clear and direct message that this bloody business needs to end."

McGrath's Fish House, headquartered in Salem, Ore., is boycotting Canadian snow crabs and all seafood from the sealing provinces at their 20 locations in Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. 

"We welcome McGrath's Fish House to our campaign," said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of wildlife for The HSUS. "By joining the boycott of Canadian seafood, McGrath's Fish House is adding further pressure on the Canadian government to end the senseless slaughter of baby seals once and for all."

In total, more than 5,000 restaurants and grocery stores are participating in the boycott. Top chefs such as Cat Cora, Michel Richard and Nora Pouillion have pledged their support, and 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.  

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 five 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 roughly $2.5 billion annually for the Canadian economy.
  • Through the ProtectSeals boycott of Canadian seafood products, The Humane Society of the United States is working with thousands of restaurants and grocery stores to send a clear market signal to Canada's fishing industry and government that the commercial seal slaughter is an unacceptable business practice that must end.  
  • 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 recently passed 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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