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November 15, 2012

More Than 6,000 Establishments Join with The HSUS to End Canada’s Seal Slaughter

harp seal pup - ragged jacket

Kathy Milani/HSUS

The Humane Society of the United States is pleased to announce that more than 6,000 restaurants and grocery stores have taken a stand to protect seals by pledging to avoid purchasing some or all Canadian seafood. By encouraging chefs, restaurants and consumers to join the Protect Seals boycott, The HSUS intends to convince the Canadian government and fisheries to end the annual commercial slaughter of tens of thousands of baby seals.  

“The end of the Canadian seal slaughter is finally in sight,” said Kathryn Kullberg, marine wildlife director for The HSUS. “Each week, more businesses, small and large, are choosing to stand with The Humane Society of the United States and the tens of thousands of other compassionate companies and consumers for a humane economy to end this bloody business for good.”

These establishments are standing together and sending a strong message to Canada’s fishing industry that as long as it participates in and advocates for the annual seal slaughter, the industry will find itself shut out from sales to an ever growing number of American grocery and restaurant companies. The bottom line is clear: not only is the commercial seal slaughter inherently cruel, but it does not make sense economically.

Many top chefs, including Iron Chefs Mario Batali and Cat Cora, are participating in the HSUS Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood.

“When I first found out about the commercial seal slaughter in Canada, I was shocked and disgusted,” said Cora. “There’s so much that is great about Canada, but the commercial seal slaughter is a glaring exception. I’m happy to play a part in encouraging Canada’s fishing industry and government to bring an end to it. I urge other chefs to focus their seafood purchasing on seafood that isn’t caught by fishermen who kill baby seals.”

International celebrities, such as Paul McCartney, Ke$ha and Jackie Evancho, have also helped by rallying their global fan bases.

A smart phone app, released in the spring of 2012, allows individuals to locate seal-friendly businesses that have signed the Protect Seals pledge. It is available for free on iPhone and Android phones at humanesociety.org/sealapp.

Facts:

  • Ninety-seven percent of the seals killed are defenseless pups younger than 3 months old. Seals are killed primarily for their fur, which is exported for its use in fashion markets.

  • Canada's commercial seal hunt is one of the largest slaughters of marine mammals on the planet, with nearly 1 million seals killed in the past five years alone.

  • Veterinary experts state that Canada's commercial seal slaughter is inherently inhumane because of the environment in which it operates and the speed at which the killing occurs.

  • Sealers are commercial fishermen who on average earn 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 stated that the commercial seal slaughter will only end if the fishing industry demands it. A 2010 poll by Ipsos Reid found half of Newfoundland sealers holding an opinion on the issue support a federal sealing industry buyout—a plan under which sealers would be compensated for their licenses, and additional funds invested in economic alternatives in the communities involved.

  • To give the Canadian fishing industry an incentive to act, The HSUS launched the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood in 2005.

  • The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International/Canada are calling upon the Canadian government to implement a one-time buyout of the commercial sealing industry.

  • Mario Batali, Michelle Bernstein, Richard Blais, Terrance Brennan, Cat Cora, Dominique Crenn, Carla Hall, Gabrielle Hamilton, Aaron London, Raphael Lunetta, Michael Mina, Nancy Oakes, Michel Richard, Aarón Sanchez, Kerry Simon, Fabio Viviani, and Tre Wilcox are among the hundreds of compassionate chefs working with The Humane Society of the United States.

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

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