|Thursday, March 30, 2006|
Costco Makes Business Decision - Good News for the Seals
ORIGINAL POSTING OF MARCH 30TH:
Sea Shepherd applauds the decision to remove this vile product.
Canada has been desperate to justify the annual slaughter of seals ever since 1984 when the European Union banned whitecoat pelts on the grounds that the product was obscene. A decade later, Canada revived the practice of viciously clubbing seals with a newly improved, and according to the Canadian government, "morally acceptable seal hunt."
Canada announced that only adult seals would be killed. The trick was in redefining what it means to be adult. By allowing the seal pups to grow for an extra week or two until losing their white coat, the still defenseless baby seals now dressed-out in a mottled coat could be slain "more acceptably."
Turning a three-week old baby seal into an adult requires some suspension of disbelief but Canadian bureaucrats apparently have no problem in convincing themselves that the slaughter is now justified because only "adult" seals are slain.
This disbelief is even more incredulous when they parrot the Department of Fisheries and Oceans unsubstantiated and ridiculous claim that the slaughter of the seals is "humane." Sea Shepherd and other groups have filmed repeated violations of regulations illustrating blatant abuse and cruelty.
To create markets, Canadian diplomats actually traveled to places like China to convince them that baby seal penises, if severed and dried, could be powdered and made into a tea that could cure impotence.
Not content with pushing voodoo snake oil remedies for Chinese erectile "disfunctionates," Canada recommenced the marketing of sealskin coats to Russia and Japan.
With seal products banned in the United States, the only product they could develop for the Canadian market was Omega-3 seal oil capsules to sell as some sort of health benefit. Still posing as snake oil salesmen, Canadian government civil servants working as seal product promotional salesmen began pushing seal oil as a cure for everything from warts to a remedy to prevent heart attacks. They conveniently failed to inform consumers of the toxins in this product such as trace amounts of PCB's and heavy metals including mercury. And so, bottles of seal oil capsules began to be produced and marketed.
Costco inadvertently provided some credibility to this product by stocking the shelves of their Eastern Canadian outlets with Omega-3 baby seal oil capsules. But, thanks to the efforts of Sea Shepherd volunteer Stephen Thompson of Vancouver, who brought this product to the attention of Costco's executive team, they reviewed the feasibility of selling this product and subsequently made a business decition to remove this product and not offer it again. He has been tirelessly tracking and opposing the baby seal oil capsule market in Canada.
Captain Paul Watson responded by saying, "I have been an executive member of Costco for over fifteen years and Sea Shepherd has utilized Costco to supply our ships on both the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts. We are happy that we can continue to do business with Costco and we are very happy that this despicable and vile product has been removed from Costco shelves. It is a product from an industry that has brought Canada nothing but shame and disgrace. Costco has made a decision that will benefit the seals and that will ultimately benefit Canada."
One thing is for certain, the Canadian government along with the government of Newfoundland will more than likely not take this lying down. After being on the receiving end of one broadside after another, from pop icons such as Sir Paul McCartney, to international film stars the likes of Brigitte Bardot, we can expect the seal slaughter proponents to come out (yet again) kicking and punching at any and all who would oppose the massacre of seal pups.
If you would like to let Costco know how you feel about the fact that they sell a product derived from dead baby seals:
The old adage of voting with your dollars presently could not be truer, we at Sea Shepherd recommend to all our supporters and to those of you who like us care about the seals choose to shop at locations that support your way of thinking, do business with the compassionate.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has endeavored to create alternative employment for sealers.
In 1995, Captain Paul Watson developed the idea of a cruelty-free non-lethal form of sealing. This would have involved the collecting of the naturally-molted hairs from whitecoated baby seals. These hairs, which are transparent and hollow, have qualities similar to eiderdown. Sea Shepherd was able to convince a German bedding and fabric company to market the hairs for the production of bed comforters.
The Canadian government refused to issue permits for the development of this alternative after sealers objected to the idea saying, "This is a faggoty idea. Seals are meant to be clubbed not coddled."
In 1995, when Captain Watson and Sea Shepherd Advisory Board member Martin Sheen traveled to the Magdalen Islands to promote this alternative, they and their crew were violently attacked by sealers. Captain Watson was severely beaten and Martin Sheen had his life threatened. Reporters were beaten and had their cameras broken. Canada responded with then Minister of Fisheries Brian Tobin declaring that he could understand the frustrations of the sealers, and of course, no sealers were charged with assault or for damaging property.
It was Sea Shepherd's goal to end the violence (to both seals and people) and present an economically viable solution for the community at the same time. The tradition and industry of killing could be turned into a business which would both aid the local people and remove the stain of seal "hunt" from Canada's reputation.