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September 14, 2010

The HSUS Honors Old Yarmouth Inn for Protecting Seals

The Humane Society of the United States recently honored the Old Yarmouth Inn, the oldest inn on Cape Cod, for its staunch support of the ProtectSeals campaign.

Owners Sheila Fitzgerald and her husband Arpad Voros’ steadfast commitment to ending the Canadian commercial seal slaughter began with them joining The HSUS’ ProtectSeals boycott of Canadian seafood and has spanned several years. 

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 kill each spring.

Fitzgerald in particular has been a passionate and outspoken advocate, encouraging several other chefs on the Cape to join the ProtectSeals campaign.

“For the past five years we have explained to our purveyors that we will not buy Canadian seafood,” Fitzgerald stated. “If I can educate just one person and one major purveyor about this important issue, then I have done my job and saved innocent creatures from slaughter."

Theresa Barbo, the director of the HSUS Cape Wildlife Center, presented Fitzgerald and Voros with a plaque commemorating their outstanding support.

“Efforts to protect Canadian seals can continue outside Canadian borders, even from a small town on Cape Cod,” added Barbo.

The Old Yarmouth Inn is among more than 5,500 companies and restaurants including Whole Foods Markets, Ted's Montana Grill, Trader Joe's, BI-LO, WinCo Foods, Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Bon Appetit Management Company and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafes who have pledged to not buy Canadian seafood until the Canadian commercial seal slaughter ends for good.

The Old Yarmouth Inn has been a welcome haven for weary travelers in need of lodging, food and drink since the 17th century, and it is sure to continue to be a leader in ethical standards as well.

A list of all Massachusetts restaurants participating in the boycott can be found here.

Facts about Canada's Commercial Seal Slaughter:

  • Canada's seal slaughter targets defenseless baby seals. Canadian government kill reports show that 97 percent of the seals killed in recent years have been less than 3 months old, while most have been just 1 month old or less at the time of slaughter.
  • Veterinary experts argue that Canada's commercial seal slaughter is inherently inhumane because of the extreme, uncontrolled environment in which the killing operates and the speed at which the killing must occur.
  • Global markets for seal products are closing. Canada's two largest trading partners — the United States and the European Union — have both prohibited trade in seal products. Mexico and Croatia have also ended their trade in seal products, and animal protection groups the world over are urging more nations to follow suit.
  • The Canadian sealing industry achieved record low economic returns in both 2009 and 2010. While the industry brought in roughly $1 million in each of these years, the Canadian government estimates the cost of enforcement at the slaughter to be up to $3.6 million annually. In addition, the Canadian government has invested millions of dollars in promoting the sealing industry internationally and working to block prohibitions on seal product trade.
  • A boycott of Canadian seafood, that will continue until the seal slaughter ends for good, has already cost the Canadian economy many times the value of the sealing industry. More than 5,500 establishments and 650,000 people have pledged to avoid some or all Canadian seafood until the seal hunt ends for good. Recent polling conducted by Ipsos Reid shows that two-thirds of Newfoundland sealers holding an opinion are concerned about the impact of the boycott.

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

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

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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