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McMenamins joins Protect Seals Campaign

McMenamins, an Oregon-based brewery and pub chain, is taking a stand against Canada’s commercial seal slaughter. The restaurant group has joined The Humane Society of the United States’ Protect Seals campaign which intends to persuade Canada’s fishing industry to end the slaughter by encouraging restaurants, grocery shops and consumers to shift away from seafood caught by fishermen who promote and participate in the killing.

Gina Niesl, McMenamins’ food & beverage director, said, “We are pleased to be joining with The Humane Society of the United States and so many impressive companies in calling on Canada’s fishing industry to bring an end to the cruel and needless slaughter of seal pups.”

McMenamins, established by brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin in Portland, has just celebrated 31 years of tasteful and earth-friendly brewing. McMenamins now includes 57 neighborhood pubs and breweries across the Pacific Northwest. Still family-owned, McMenamins is the fourth-largest producer of microbrewed beer in a region famous for the craft. The chain also distills spirits, roasts coffee, turns grapes to wine and ferments cider. The company is appreciated for its concert venues and love for art and historic buildings, with several of its properties on the National Historic Register.

“The Humane Society of the United States thanks McMenamins for lending its 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, PhD, wildlife counselor to the CEO for The HSUS.

Canada’s seal slaughter is conducted by commercial fishermen who earn, on average, less than five 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. This would allow sealers to be compensated for their licenses and funds invested in economic alternatives.

More than 6,500 restaurants, grocery stores and seafood supply companies are participating in the Protect Seals campaign, including Arctic Circle Restaurants, The Batali-Bastianich Hospitality Group, Innovative Dining Group, Legal Sea Foods, Richard Sandoval Restaurants, The Fresh Market, The Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurants, The Patina Restaurant Group, Ted's Montana Grill, Trader Joe's, Vallarta Markets, Whole Foods, and WinCo Foods. A complete list of grocery companies and seafood suppliers participating in the boycott is here and a list of participating restaurants is here.


  • 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.


Media Contact: Kaitlin Sanderson; 240-672-8397; ksanderson@humanesociety.org