A History of Deceit From Costco

Costco Canada blatantly accused Sea Shepherd Conservation Society of lying to the media when they said they had never had any communication with Sea Shepherd over the issue of seal oil capsules being removed from the shelves of their outlet in St. John's

This forces us to post the record of communications with Costco to disprove their public allegations.

Most of the correspondence was between Sea Shepherd representative Steve Thompson and Costco Executives.

The postings start from the most recent and goes back to October 25, 2006 when Costco reneged the first time on their agreement in 2004 to have the seal oil capsules removed.


March 31st, 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Watson
Sent: Friday, March 31, 2006 6:22 PM
To: List
Subject: Fw: News Release: Posting update - re: Costco

SEND A MESSAGE OF SUPPORT TO COSTCO FOR BANNING SEAL OIL CAPSULES

Costco Has pulled Seal Oil capsules from their shelf in their Newfoundland outlets. This is a great victory for us.

The Premier of Newfoundland is calling for boycott of Costco in Newfoundland and the Canadian Minister of Fisheries is demanding a meeting with Costco Executives to try and reverse the decision.

Apparently Costco has received about 150 protest messages from pro-sealers.

We need to send a message to Costco that we applaud this decision.

Please take the time to send a message or/and if you can call your local Costco to thank-them.

You can send a message by clicking here

https://www.costco.com/CustomerService/EmailUs.aspx?secure=1


March 16th, 2006

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Thompson"
To: "List"
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2006 10:03 AM
Subject: RE: Seal Oil Capsules

I just confirmed with Deanna that Friday Harbor has received the letter from Costco re: confirming their commitment to not market seal-oil-capsules ever again. Also all the stock they had was sent back to the manufacturer.

This one was a long drawn out challenge resulting in a small victory and now thankfully its over and we won.

Rick Duffy commented on the letter he received from Bruce Foerster, Sinikka Crosland and Anthony Marr - these were sent following the announcement of the Costco boycott made by Captain Watson, proof that no matter how big they are the right letter sent to the right person can make a difference.

Steve


March 11th , 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Thompson
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2006 3:02 PM
Subject: FW: Seal Oil Capsules

Greetings Everyone,

Here's the latest email I received from Rick Duffy in regards to seal oil capsules and Costco.

As you can tell by the content of Mr. Duffy's email he is none too pleased at being second guessed.

Well that's just too bad. I trusted his business colleagues Charles Burnett and Reza Farmand back in 2004 when they promised Costco would discontinue the sale of seal-oil-capsules in Newfoundland, Canada and then (the fool that I was) I trusted yet another Costco Executive (by the name of Rick Duffy) again in 2005 when he gave me his word that Costco would discontinue the sale of this product.

What exactly does Mr. Duffy expect?!? For me to sing Kum-Ba-Yah now that Costco's agreed again, again, again to do the right thing and with nothing in writing to back this up?

This is a very small victory in terms of $$$ value however there is one bonus to not having Costco selling seal oil capsules and that is implied respectability. The way I discovered Costco was selling this product was I phoned a major seal oil caps manufacturer (at the time in '04 it was Gateway and then most recently Terra-Nova brand: http://www.omega3-drho.com/) and posing as a potential buyer for a large order I hesitated, said I was concerned about the controversial nature of this product and asked the sales rep for references. He was more than happy to oblige me and bragged about the fact that even Costco was selling his product.

Steve


March 11, 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Duffy
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2006 5:06 AM
To: Stephen Thompson
Cc: Joe Portera; Louise Wendling; Pierre Riel; Reza Farmand; Ron Damiani; Charles Burnett
Subject: RE: Seal Oil Capsules

Mr. Thompson,

Considering that you did not feel sufficiently assured with my e-mail response, I will print and sign the e-mail correspondence that I sent you on March 1st indicating that Costco had made the decision to remove all seal oil capsules from it's Newfoundland warehouse and that Costco would no longer be selling seal oil capsules.

I will send this to Friday Harbor via next day mail on Monday, March 12th. I would then expect that we could consider this matter closed.

Sincerely,

Richard E. Duffy R.Ph.
Assistant Vice President
EASTERN DIVISION AND CANADA
Costco Wholesale
45940 Horseshoe Drive
Sterling, VA 20166
(703)406-6924
(703)406-6857 Fax


March 10th, 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Thompson
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2006 11:00 AM
To: Rick Duffy
Cc: Joe Portera; Louise Wendling; Pierre Riel; Reza Farmand; Ron Damiani; Charles Burnett
Subject: RE: Seal Oil Capsules

Mr. Duffy,

I checked in with the Sea Shepherd head office in Friday Harbor this morning to see if they have received the follow-up letter I requested from you concerning the removal of seal-oil-capsules from Costco's locations in St. John's Newfoundland, a letter I believe you agreed would be drafted as a follow-up to your email dated March 1st.

Friday Harbor has informed me that as of yet nothing has been received from Costco.

Therefore I would be grateful if you could confirm whether or not a letter is in the works, has been mailed, etc.?

The reason I ask is because the International Day for the Seals Protest is coming up on the 15th of March and Costco's confirmed position, assuming your company is no longer promoting products derived from Canada's seal slaughter, will have an influence on what message we present to the general public.

Sincerely,

Stephen Thompson
Richmond, British Columbia, Canada


March 1, 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Thompson
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 4:49 PM
To: Rick Duffy
Cc: Joe Portera; Louise Wendling; Pierre Riel; Reza Farmand; Ron Damiani; Charles Burnett
Subject: RE: Seal Oil Capsules

Mr. Duffy,

As I expressed in our phone conversation earlier today this is certainly welcome news and we look forward to updating our members as well as ending the boycott of Costco Wholesale as soon as we have a written statement to this effect that confirms what you have mentioned below.

Therefore I would be grateful if you could address this letter (assuming one is to be drafted) to:

Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
P.O. Box 2616
Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Please understand the cautionary attitude the Sea Shepherd has adopted in regards to this matter is the result of the 2 year history (in reference to our communications) related to this product and Costco's previous response to our organization authorized by yourself on December 16, 2005 in which you stated seal-oil-capsules were no longer being sold by Costco in St. John's Newfoundland. Then 27 days later on January 12, 2006 this commitment was in turn nullified by Mr. Damiani.

To get to the heart of the matter, we have a duty to our members to report accurate information and at this point in time the only way we feel we can be assured of this favorable response sticking is if it is in writing.

In closing I can appreciate this was not an easy decision for your senior management team and that this decision will produce some (limited) fallout in Newfoundland, however this will be next to nothing compared to the positive press Costco will certainly receive in exchange for this compassionate decision.

Sincerely,

Stephen Thompson


March 1, 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Duffy
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 1:14 PM
To: Stephen Thompson
Cc: Joe Portera; Louise Wendling; Pierre Riel; Reza Farmand; Ron
Damiani; Charles Burnett
Subject: Seal Oil Capsules

Mr. Stephen Thompson;

Regarding the sale of seal oil capsules at the Costco warehouse in St. John, Newfoundland I am providing an e-mail response as a follow up to our phone conversation of earlier today, March 1st.

This e-mail will confirm that Costco has made a decision today, March 1st, at the highest levels of Costco management, that it will no longer carry any seal oil capsules in St. John Newfoundland or any other Costco location in Canada.

Sincerely,

Richard E. Duffy R.Ph.
Assistant Vice President
EASTERN DIVISION AND CANADA
Costco Wholesale
45940 Horseshoe Drive
Sterling, VA 20166
(703)406-6924
(703)406-6857 Fax


February 16, 2006

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Thompson
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2006 11:55 AM
To: Rick Duffy; Charles Burnett; Louise Wendling
Subject: Costco Boycott

Dear Costco Executives,

The email message noted below was authorized by Captain Paul Watson, President - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Director - Sierra Club USA. This message will be going out to all our members as well as to other animal rights/welfare organizations informing everyone of Costco's decision to support the Canadian seal slaughter.

It has now been approximately 2 weeks since I last spoke with Mr. Duffy, at the time our conversation was upbeat and I was hopeful (yet again) that Costco would come around and do the right thing, namely banning - this time for good - seal oil capsules.

And now Costco has left our organization with no choice but to commence with a full out boycott. We will launch the boycott on March 1st unless Costco agrees to (in writing) permanently remove seal oil capsules from its stores. There is also the potential for a protest to be held outside one of your locations in the Vancouver area which I would personally organize and attend. In this event I can assure you it will be a very visual and vocal spectacle - worthy of media coverage.

Sincerely,

Stephen Thompson


Sea Shepherd Announces Boycott of Costco - to commence March 1st, 2006

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is initiating a boycott of Costco until the corporation agrees to no longer sell baby seal oil capsules.

Costco agreed over a year ago to remove seal oil capsules from their outlets in Newfoundland and Eastern Canada

A recent follow-up has revealed that Costco is continuing to sell seal oil capsules made from the bodies of seal pups that are cruelly slaughtered every spring on the East coast of Canada.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has held an Executive Member's card from Costco for over 10 years and each year spends thousands of dollars at Costco for provisions and supplies for Sea Shepherd vessels.

This card has now been cut in half and no Sea Shepherd purchases will be made until Costco agrees to stop trading in a product that represents the ultimate cruelty to wildlife - the annual clubbing of baby seals.

"Costco has made a decision," said Stephen Thompson, who has been representing Sea Shepherd on this issue in negotiations with Costco. "Costco has decided that the few dollars they make from the sale of these baby seal capsules is more important than the concerns of humane minded people across North America and the rest of the world."

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is urging Costco members to write to tell them you will not renew your membership if Costco continues to support the largest mass slaughter of marine mammals in the world.


This message has been sent from the M/Y Farley Mowat
This message has been authorized by Captain Paul Watson and/or First Officer Alex Cornelissen.


December 16th, 2005

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Duffy
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 2:28 PM
To: Stephen Thompson
Cc: Charles Burnett
Subject: RE: Information - Canadian Seal Slaughter

Stephen, The seal oil capsules were removed from the shelves yesterday, and are no longer for sale in our Newfoundland location, which was the only location that was selling them.

Regards,

Richard E. Duffy R.Ph.
Assistant Vice President
EASTERN DIVISION AND CANADA
Costco Wholesale
45940 Horseshoe Drive
Sterling, VA 20166
(703)406-6924
(703)406-6857 Fax


October 27, 2005

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Thompson
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 10:52 AM
To: Charles Burnett
Subject: Second thoughts - Seal Oil Capsules

Dear Mr. Burnett,

I've had some time to recollect the conversations we had back in March and April of 2004. At times my memory serves me well and in this case it has. In my earlier email to you I mentioned my belief that I had communicated with someone who truly cared about the issues regarding seal oil capsules.

I'm going to go out on a limb. I believe you appreciate the morality (or rather the lack of) regarding seal oil capsules. In 2004 when I mentioned how this product comes to be, your response left me with no doubt in my mind that I was dealing with someone who has compassion and integrity. Your response was that of an individual who was horrified to hear seal oil capsules comes from the boiled blubber of 12 day old seal infants that are beaten to death (or skinned alive) in front of their mothers, not just a cold senior executive from a business colossus whose only consideration revolves around profit.

And now I sincerely apologize for having (temporarily) lost faith in you as I am confident you will right this wrong in short order.

All the Best,

Steve Thompson


October 27th, 2006

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen Thompson"
To: "Michael Moore" "Sinikka Crosland"; "Paul Watson"; "Allison Watson"; "Carla Robinson"; "Heather Callin"
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 10:58 AM
Subject: FW: Second thoughts - Seal Oil Capsules

If we give Charles a bit of breathing space (1 week) I am confident he will come through for us.

Steve


October 26, 2005

-----Original Message-----
From: Farley Mowat
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 4:21 PM
To: Charles Burnett
Cc: Sinikka Crosland; Rebecca Aldworth; Stephen Thompson; Ian Robichaud; Robinson Carla; Tim Midgely; Heather Callin; Michael Moore; Lance-Watson Allison
Subject: Message Charles Burnett, senior vice president of Pharmacy at Costco Wholesale Corp
To: Charles Burnett, senior vice president of Pharmacy at Costco Wholesale Corp. Kirkland, Washington.

Dear Mr. Burnett,

Please let me introduce myself. I am Captain Paul Watson, the founder and current President of the International Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. I was also one of the co-founders of the Greenpeace Foundation and I currently serve as a National Director for the Sierra Club.

At the moment, I am onboard our flagship Farley Mowat in the Pitcairn Islands group in East Polynesia. We are conducting a wildlife survey of Henderson's Island today, before continuing on the Australia to oppose illegal Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Oceans near Antarctica.

I am sending you this e-mail via Sat-phone from the mid-South Pacific Ocean because we are distressed to hear that Costco has gone back on your agreement to remove Omega-3 Seal Oil capsules from Costco outlets in the Canadian market.

This product is of course illegal in the U.S. market under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

I can't imagine that this product generates as much profit as would be lost if conservation groups were to boycott Costco for selling the oil from the over 320,000 baby harp seals slaughtered each year on the east coast of Canada.

I am an Executive Member of Costco and if you check on my record you will find that we have spent thousands of dollars at Costco over the last few years at outlets in Washington State, California, and Florida. I have used Costco as a major supplier of provisions and materials for our ships and crew. We also use Costco for purchasing materials for our office in Friday Harbor, Washington. We have been good customers of yours.

You know we can't continue to be so if this product is sold in any Costco outlet in the world. We have over 35,000 members in Sea Shepherd and they expect us to be responsible consumers with their donations and purchasing products from a company that markets marine mammal products would not be responsible.

With respect Sir, I appeal to you to instruct your outlets in Canada to cease selling this product that is obtained through wholesale slaughter of wildlife and that involves such abject cruelty to the new born seals targeted by the Canadian commercial sealing industry.

We are presently involved in association with the Humane Society of the United States with a boycott of Canadian seafood products. Our boycott in the U.S. has focused on the Red Lobster chain. We have not targeted other retailers or wholesalers because we are trying to make our point with the Darden Corporation because of their involvement with the Fur Commission USA and their lobbying efforts to directly undermine the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Costco may or may not be marketing Canadian seafood. We have not been interested in targeting Costco over this issue. We have assumed that Costco was a company we could endorse because of your decision to not have your outlets in Canada sell this cruel and ecologically harmful product. The seal populations in Eastern Canada cannot sustain the incredibly large kill quotas allotted each year. This seal hunt is the single largest mass slaughter of a marine mammal population in the world and as such it is unacceptable.

By marketing Omega 3 seal oil capsules, Costco is sending a message that you condone this cruelty and this mass slaughter.

I would like to respectfully ask Mr. Burnett, that you please instruct your Canadian outlets to pull this product from their shelves and to cease selling it to the public.

Most Sincerely Yours

Captain Paul Watson


October 25, 2005

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 1:14 PM
To: Charles Burnett
Subject: Email from Steve Thompson concerning Costco's decision to
resume selling Omega-3 Seal Oil capsules in Canada

Dear Mr. Burnett,

I am emailing you today in light of the same concern I originally contacted you about on behalf of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society back in April of 2004. I am referring of course to Omega-3 Seal Oil capsules which today I was truly saddened to hear Costco Wholesale is back in the business of selling.

When we spoke in 2004 I was greatly moved by what I was convinced was someone in a position of power who related back to me as one like-minded compassionate humane-being to another.

Following our conversation I spoke with Mr. Farmand who provided me with Costco Wholesale's newly confirmed official position on the matter. In April of 2004 Mr. Farmand informed me that Costco had pulled all Seal Oil products from its shelves in Atlantic Canada (St. John's) and "would not be re-ordering this product again". Mr. Farmand clarified "not be re-ordering again" to mean "ever again the foreseeable future". In my mind eighteen months does not exceed the limits of the definition of the foreseeable future.

Costco's position was warmly received by me and the organization I do volunteer work for. In turn this bit of good news was forwarded on to many other organizations such as The Humane Society of the United States, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Greenpeace, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (the list goes on and is quite lengthy).

There can be little doubt that within these organizations instead of boycotting Costco for continuing to promote this product many would have responded to Costco's thoughtful decision by shopping at Costco. This I know was the case for many of us associated with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

To be frank, respectfully I ask Sir, what has happened to our agreement? The nature concerning the horrific cruelty of this product remains the same. Furthermore since we last spoke the environmental/animal welfare movement, like a gigantic boiler, has had a fire lit under it and now there is no limit to the power and influence it can generate. This powerful momentum is on our side and with the lengthy list or organizations opposing the seal slaughter, the day will arrive soon when the seal slaughter is abolished. However between now and then we need those environmentally responsible businesses such as Costco to remain faithful to this worthy cause and to not give in to the temptation to profit from the misery of the seals. The news is very bad for the pro seal hunt side and the Canadian government who is ultimately its main supporter. Even the heavily biased pro-sealing-industry veterinary experts (who have formed a new group called the Independent Veterinary Work Group: www.ivwg.org) have criticized those in charge of the seal hunt (the Canadian government's Department of Fisheries and Oceans) as well as the sealers themselves. This group recently produced a 27-page highly critical report that would not exist if this slaughter were humane. Twenty seven pages worth of criticism from the very group the government has been supporting is proof positive things are very wrong. Please take the time to read this report (attached as a PDF file), it is an eye-opener especially considering it was produced by a pro-seal slaughter group. One cautionary note: this veterinary group somehow manages to naively claim the "hunt" (read: slaughter) has the potential to be humane. The question that begs to be answered is if this slaughter has the potential to be humane just what has it been for all the years past?

Just as I appealed to you before, I sincerely request that Costco re-affirm the position it took back in 2004. Taking into account the $47.1 billion Costco generated in sales last year, the net profit Costco generates from the sale of this supremely inhumane product is nothing more than a rounding error for your accountants to dismiss and certainly not worth the highly corrosive damage it will do to your company's name.

In closing I am always available by phone should you wish to discuss this matter further and would welcome your call.

Respectfully,
Steve Thompson


October 25, 2005

From: "Stephen Thompson"
To: "Michael Moore"' "Paul Watson"; "Connie Domenech";"Allison Watson"
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 11:18 AM
Subject: Costco is back in the Seal Oil shleeping business

Bad news everyone,
I checked with Costco in Newfoundland to see if they are still honoring their commitment to not stock Seal Oil capsules.

And I regret to inform you that once again they are in the business of selling this product. When I spoke with the manager for the pharmaceutical dept in St. John's he informed me the decision to restock this product had come from the top person in Canada, Reza Farmand.

I have set the wheels in motion to hopefully shut this down again. I will be emailing Reza Farmand and his boss in the U.S. (Kirkland, Washington) Charles Burnett. The person who took the high road to yank the Seal Oil Caps back in '04 was Charles (not Reza) so there is some hope that we can accomplish this again.

Keep your fingers crossed. If I fail then this might be worthy of a story to get SSCS members to put the pressure back on Costco.

Steve