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March 26, 2014

Richard Sandoval Joins Protect Seals Campaign

Richard Sandoval and Richard Sandoval Restaurants have joined The Humane Society of the United States’ Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood. By encouraging restaurants, chefs and consumers to boycott Canadian seafood, The HSUS intends to persuade Canada's fishing industry to stop participating in and supporting the commercial seal slaughter each spring off the East Coast.

After viewing footage of the 2013 commercial seal slaughter, Richard Sandoval, was quick to encourage all 27 of his company’s US locations to take action. The company and all its US restaurants have pledged to boycott all Canadian seafood. Sandoval says, “We are pleased to do whatever we can to help stop this unnecessary, barbaric practice so that baby seals can finally live in peace.”

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.

“Chef Richard Sandoval is 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 W. Grandy, Ph.D., wildlife counselor to the CEO for The HSUS.

Richard Sandoval Restaurants (RSR) is a leading restaurant group founded by Mexican-born chef/restaurateur Richard Sandoval and based in New York City. This internationally-recognized contemporary Latin restaurant group owns and operates more than 40 restaurant concepts around the globe.

More than 6,500 restaurants, grocery stores and seafood supply companies are participating in the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood. Richard Sandoval joins dozens of other top chefs, including Cat Cora, Curtis Stone and Susan Feniger, and companies who are already part of the boycott. Companies participating in the boycott include Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, Harris Teeter, Legal Sea Foods, WinCo Foods, Ted Turner's steakhouse chain – Ted's Montana Grill, The Patina Group and Old Spaghetti Factory. A complete list of grocery companies and seafood suppliers participating in the boycott is here and a list of participating restaurants is here.

Facts:               

  • 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 one of the largest slaughters 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.
  • The majority of income for commercial sealers comes not from killing seals but 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, The HSUS launched the Protect Seals boycott of Canadian seafood in 2005.
  • There are several options for participation in the Protect Seals Boycott. Some participants focus their efforts on Canadian snow crab (the mail seafood product of Canada’s sealing provinces), some discontinue sale of all seafood from sealing provinces, and others discontinue sale of all Canadian seafood.
  • The majority of income for commercial sealers comes not from killing seals but from seafood including crab, shrimp and lobster.  In Newfoundland, where more than 90 percent of sealers live, income from the seal hunt accounts for less than one half of one percent of the province's economy. Less than one percent of Newfoundlanders participate in the seal hunt.

Media Contact: Heather Sullivan; 240.477.2251; hsullivan@humanesociety.org

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