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Boycott Canadian Maple Syrup, Don’t Buy Canadian Seafood

Boycott Canadian Maple Syrup, Don’t Buy Canadian Seafood

The annual Canadian seal hunt is cruel and unnecessary. That’s a given. Now we need to figure out how we’re going to stop it. We have seen some major victories recently, some legislative changes, some media stunts, consumer boycotts, and direct action. Let’s talk about boycotting as a tactic for ending the seal hunt.

Since March 29, 2005 the Humane Society of the United States has been calling for a boycott of Canada seafood. Since then, over 60 animal and environmental protection organizations, lots of restaurants and seafood companies have joined our campaign. HSUS even went after Red Lobster to get them to stop supporting Canadian fishers. As far as I know, Red Lobster hasn’t caved yet.

It is fisherman who are killing seals during their off-season, so the goal of the HSUS boycott is to affect the fishermen’s bottom line by getting companies to boycott their primary income source. But I think there’s a strategic problem with this approach. As animal activists, we should be encouraging people to boycott all seafood, all of the time. Just like seals, fish are sentient animals who are capable of suffering. Fish ought not be hunted by Canadians anymore than seals. Despite some of the successes of this boycott, it just rubs me the wrong way. It seems like we’re throwing one animal under the bus to save another.

PETA is also running a boycott of Canadian products. They’re asking conscientious people avoid buying Canadian maple syrup. Syrup is a major export of Canada, but less directly linked to the seal hunt. While the PETA boycott makes more sense to me, I think the HSUS boycott is also an important part of a diverse movement. I’m sure there are HSUS supporters who may not be vegetarian yet, so having them boycott Canadian fish may be good in the short-term. It would be better for animals overall if they went vegetarian.

In order to topple the Canadian seal hunt we need a diverse group of people attacking it from different angles. The truth is that we don’t know what will work, so we need to engage in a wide diversity of tactics. We will win this one, it’s only a matter of time.

Take action by signing the petition letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Let him know that you are against the hunt!

What do you think about these boycotts? Answer in the comments below.

UPDATE: Read the follow-up article here: How will we end the cruel seal hunt?

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288 comments

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5:17PM PDT on Jun 28, 2009

WHY ISN'T KILLING THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES OF GOD A CRIME? WHY IS THERE NOT AN ENORMOUS FINE OR A JAIL SENTENCE, AS THERE IS IN AUSTRALIA? HASN'T THE TOURISM INDUSTRY STEPPED IN TO MAKE THIS ACTION STOP!!!! AND TO CREATE NEW EMPLOYMENT IN PROTECTING THESE MAMALS. I AM AN AUSTRALIAN AND PROUD OF IT. I DON'T BUY CANADIAN PRODUCTS AT ALL SO IT WON'T BENEFIT ANYONE OR ANIMAL IF I BOYCOT PRODUCTS FROM CANADA.
THIS ACT HAS!!!!!! TO BE MADE A CRIME AND ACTED UPON.
YOURS SINCERELY
JANET R. COLLEY

12:56PM PDT on Jun 17, 2009

I do not agree with Megan! It’s backwoods to me and there is no excuse, therefore it is Pathetic. Seems like someone should be in the market for a new job. Bloody hands is not a job. And as I here there are no veggies in your part of the woods. Your country should have them shipped in like everybody else.
I don’t care if it is the Eastern or the Northern Province of Canada, it is still wrong for any kind of slaughter.. And I could care less about maple syrup I would rather use honey. Also someone had mentioned that the Indians wearing there moccasins back in the day had to hunt seals for food, therefore we should understand what it would be like to walk that mile in there moccasins. Well I’m half Indian and I don’t wear moccasins. I am voicing my opinion and I do not like the killings!!!!

3:27PM PDT on Jun 16, 2009

I've been following all the comments related or not to my previous posts and I am astonished of how many Canadian folks don't get it(many do, though): your own government is killing your industry and trades...your fellow citizens are (maybe) going to be starving because of your Government's ignorance! Yes, some people get hurt sometimes in order that something good happens, and they are equally at fault for not "pushing" their government to take a stand! They're all "guilty" for enjoying their cozy lives and subventions while THE REAL INNOCENT animals suffer, until something goes really wrong!!
Aren't you ashamed for not taking a stand and that Europe did?
If your GOVERNMENT really cares about these "innocent" farmers, they SHOULD STOP THE SLAUGHTER (but the truth is they don't care!)
For how long are we going to hear senseless people saying things like: "people were doing this for generations..." etc! Unbelievable: slavery was there for centuries and also cannibalism and corridas! Does that mean they're good or they have the "right" to go on? Get your values straight once and for all, humanity has to CHANGE, Earth has to EVOLVE!

7:54PM PDT on Jun 5, 2009

I am Canadian, and I'd like to thank everyone for all that you do for seals. Your devotion touches my heart. Keep up the boycotts, and the good work!

2:00PM PDT on Jun 3, 2009

"does banning Maple Syrup on behalf of Seals really make sense"?, Sure It Does. The Controversy Alone is getting more attention to this struggling issue, then the DECADES of Boycotting seafood & fur. Yes, America also has issue that need more attention & rectification. And as Americans, I, along w/ many here, support every petition, & boycott in the States against inhumanity of man or animal. All are Free to choose what issues are important enough to participate in.

Now IF Inuits were the only hunters in Canada killing seals for "survival"- as noted in another's post (for food, blubber for fuel, & Yes, PELTS sold for Export)", THEN Hunt Adult Seals ONLY for survival, Not Baby Seals for PELTS. But The Inuits are NOT the only 1's slaughtering for Pelts in Canada. And never-ending greed of $$ for Pelts, to pacify an overindulgent society based on vanity & selfishness, is what WE've been pleading w/ Canada to put a stop to for years. This same fight w/ Newfoundland's hunt Is ALSO under the same scrutiny, but doesn't offer much in trade, for boycotting to make much difference.

Again, Boycotting Just Seafood & Fur for decades, is non threatening, nor productive enough.

So, to boycott a Country for it's bad behavior or it's blind eye to humanity, should hold no boundaries as it is legal & Our right. As is to Any who chooses Not to Boycott.

But Manipulating 'Words' to Discredit or Minimize Another's Principles, is just plain Wrong!

3:30AM PDT on Jun 3, 2009

I am Canadian and have supported campaigns against the Seal hunt for years. Boycotting Maple Syrup????Sorry, but I fail to see the connection. Some of you people should think things through more seriously before becoming irrational. Inflicting damage on industries (plant-related of all things and not really huge)that have absolutely nothing in common with the seal hunt, will not contribute to your cause. I would liken that tactic to that of someone bombing a school to achieve victory in a political struggle.

10:12PM PDT on Jun 2, 2009

Thanks Megan and Jill...well said

8:10PM PDT on Jun 2, 2009

I made a comment on this earlier; I read others comments that have been written since I posted.

Megan W. I loved your comments - well said.

I'm especially getting a kick out of the Americans posting they are banning all Canadian products. Considering the situation the US economy is in, I think it's better for Americans to not piss Canadians off right now - do you want us to continue to travel to the states & vacation ..... helping the economy by spending money in the US, or, would you rather us quite vacationg in the US, ban American products & spin your country more-out-of-control at this time?

Maybe Canadians should have chosen to do the same thing when you decided to vote George W. Bush in for a SECOND TERM! (Would that have made sense?)

Give me a break already! I live in Saskatchewan, Canada which is a central province. Does this mean your going to stop eating carbs because we are the "bread-belt of the world" among other things the province produces.

I'm not in agreement with the Seal hunt, but not purchasing Canadian products like Maple Syrup has absolutely nothing to do with the hunt. Contact the Canadian Government.

Just stop for a minute & pause right now. Think for a second ..... does banning Maple Syrup to stop the Seal hunt really make sense?

6:55PM PDT on Jun 2, 2009

Well said, Megan,

Indeed, it would appear MANY people don't do their own research, and merely rely upon advocacy groups like PETA to spoonfeed them half-truths and misinformation.

I still don't get why punishing small maple syrup producers is effective in ending the Seal SLaughter. Is it because they are cruel to all those poor, innocent trees?

12:53PM PDT on Jun 2, 2009

Ok, so where do you propose to get maple syrup from? We don't exactly produce much of it in America any more. And no, I'm not going to use the fake syrup which is just high-fructose corn syrup garbage.

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