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August 10, 2011

Fireman Hospitality Group, LLC Joins The HSUS Boycott to Protect Seals

The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce that the eight-restaurant Fireman Hospitality Group, LLC has joined the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood. 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.

Executive Chef Brando D’Olivero was quick to join the campaign after viewing footage of the slaughter. "As an advocate for the Protect Seals campaign I am very careful where we purchase fish and seafood. It's great that we have been able to save so many Canadian seals over the last few years. The FHG joins an impressive list of restaurant groups across the United States that are boycotting Canadian seafood until Canada ends its annual commercial slaughter of seal pups.”

The trendsetting restaurant group headquartered in New York City consists of eight locations, six of which are located in in the city itself -- BOND 45, Brooklyn Diner on 57th Street, Brooklyn Diner on 43rd Street, Redeye Grill, Trattoria Dell’Arte and Café Fiorello. The two other restaurants in the group are Fiorella Pizzeria e Caffé and BOND 45, both located in National Harbor, Md.

“The Humane Society of the United States thanks Chef D’Olivero for lending his important voice to the hundreds of thousands of restaurants, chefs and individuals across the world who are showing their solidarity to end the commercial Canadian seal slaughter,” said John Grandy, Ph. D., senior vice president of wildlife for The HSUS.

Throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, support for the boycott is growing with more than 5,500 restaurants and grocery stores participating. Other top chefs such as Mario Batali, Cat Cora, Michel Richard, Kerry Simon, Nancy Oakes, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger have also pledged their support as have such companies as 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.

Canada's seal slaughter is conducted by commercial fishermen who earn, on average, less than 5 percent of their annual income from killing seals. Polling in 2010 by research firm Ipsos Reid shows that 50 percent of Newfoundland sealers holding an opinion support a federal industry buyout – a plan in which sealers would be compensated for their licenses, and funds invested in economic alternatives in the communities involved.

Facts:

  • 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 younger than 3 months old, while most have been just 1 month old or younger 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 hsicanada.ca

 

Media Contact: Heather Sullivan; 301.548.7778; hsullivan@humanesociety.org

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