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The HSUS Joins Together with Chefs for Seals, Celebrities, Top Chefs and New Yorkers to End Canada’s Commercial Seal Slaughter

NEW YORK — The Humane Society of the United States, Nigel Barker and Chefs for Seals hosted a celebration of seals and the more than 250 compassionate chefs in New York who are working together to encourage Canada to end its commercial seal slaughter. The festivities began with a photo shoot by celebrity photographer Barker, from “America’s Next Top Model,” of many of the participating chefs including Terrance Brennan, Amy Eubanks, Gabrielle Hamilton, Michele Mazza, Sam Talbot, Ben Towill, Patricia Yeo and many others. The HSUS also honored Cathy Kangas, The Honorable Robert Torricelli, and an anonymous donor for their generous support of the Protect Seals campaign.

The event took place at Skylight West and featured cocktails and hors d'oeuvres by Chef Ben Towill of Silkstone Events/The Fat Radish and music from DJ Josh Madden. 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 commercial seal slaughter each spring off the East Coast.

“It is with great pride and sense of encouragement that I hosted our fifth Chefs for Seals event,” said Barker. “Having witnessed the majesty that is the birth of the harp seal pups and the travesty that is the ensuing slaughter, I know that the coming together of such celebrated chefs is a show of solidarity to say NO to Canada, NO to the seal slaughter and YES to a boycott of Canadian Seafood until the killing is permanently ended. Yes, we will make a difference. With thousands of chefs, restaurants, grocery stores and conscientious people willing to stand up, be counted and photographed the seals have more than a fighting chance. Now is the time to keep up the momentum and help change the future of not just the seals but for all of us. The harp seals deserve it and so do we.”

Throughout the United States and Europe, support for the boycott is growing with more than 5,500 restaurants and grocery stores participating. The first Chefs for Seals event was organized by Meshelle and Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va. and hosted by chefs in Washington, D.C. in July 2009.

“It is so heartening to see all these chefs sending a strong, clear message to Canada that this slaughter must stop, and it must stop now,” said John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president of wildlife for The HSUS. “The HSUS cannot thank Nigel Barker, all these wonderful chefs, sponsors and especially Cathy Kangas and Robert Torricelli enough for their financial support, for hosting this wonderful celebration, and for their efforts to stop the commercial slaughter of baby seals for their fur.”

Chefs in attendance included; Terrance Brennan (Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro, Picholine), Michele Mazza (Il Mulino), Sam Talbot (Imperial No. Nine in the Mondrian SoHo, The Surf Lodge), Patricia Yeo (Om Restaurant), Amy Eubanks (BLT Fish), Seth Levine (Georgica), Sylvain Harribey (Sofitel New York), Pierre Landet (Café Noir, Cercle Rouge Braserie), Kurt Gutenbrunner (Blaue Gans, Café Kristall, Café Sabarsky, Wallse),  Josh Capon (Lure Fishbar), Brando de Oliviero (Fireman Hospitality), Charles Rodriguez and Heather Carlucci Rodriguez (Print/ink48-Kimpton), Danny Mena and Ethan Smith (Heche en Dumbo), Fortunato Nicotra (Felidia), Gina Rotundo and Salvatore Corea (Alloro), Gregg Lauletta (Prime - An American Kitchen & Bar), Rossano Giannini (Lanterna), Wolfgang Ban (Seäsonal Restaurant and Weinbar), Gabrielle Hamilton (Prune and 2011 James Beard Best Chef NYC Award Winner) and others.

Also in attendance were Beth Ostrosky Stern, Kelly Rutherford,  Jon Prescott, Paul Iacono and Loris Diran.

A complete list of the chefs and restaurants participating in the boycott is at humanesociety.org/protectseals.  


  • Ninety-seven percent of the seals killed are defenseless pups younger than 3 months old. The seals are killed primarily for their fur, which is exported for use in fashion markets.
  • Canada's commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth, with nearly 1 million seals killed in the past five years alone.
  • Veterinary experts say Canada's commercial seal hunt is inherently inhumane because of the environment in which it operates and the speed  at which the killing occurs.
  • Sealers are commercial fishermen who earn, on average, less than 5 percent of their annual incomes from killing the seals. The remainder comes from seafood including crab, shrimp and lobster.
  • Canadian government representatives have said the only way the commercial seal hunt can be ended is if the fishing industry demands it.
  • To give the Canadian fishing industry an incentive to act, HSUS launched the ProtectSeals boycott of Canadian seafood.
  • To date, more than 5,500 restaurants and grocery stores across the nation have joined the ProtectSeals campaign.  
  • Giancarla Bodoni, Michelle Bernstein, Cat Cora, Jonathan Critchley, Mario Curko, Jonathan Eismann, Cindy Hutson, Todd Mark Miller, Nancy Oakes, Nora Pouillon, Michel Richard, Douglas Rodriguez, Michael Romano, Michael Schwartz, Kerry Simon and Allen Susser are among the hundreds of compassionate chefs working with The Humane Society of the United States.


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.

Chefs for Seals is an informal group of chefs whose passion for the seal issue has propelled them to host events designed to raise public awareness about the plight of seals targeted in Canada's annual commercial seal slaughter. Partnering with The Humane Society of the United States, we are dedicated to spreading the word that by boycotting Canadian seafood we can enact change with pressure on the industry that orchestrates the hunt. The first event was hosted by chefs in Washington DC in July 2009.





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