Monday, April 03, 2006

Costco Seal Oil Removal: Coincidence or Politically Influenced

Costco regularly pulls items of the shelf that don't sell well, but why choose this time to take down seal omega3 oil capsules? They were approached by one of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's (SSCS) volunteers, Stephen Thompson of Vancouver, just recently, so it is a bit suspicious that they would not wait till all the media hype surrounding the hunt, died down. If there were no other information connecting Costco or its board of directors to such an interest, then I would not question it. But Paul Watson's web site infers that the action of their people is what influenced Costco to remove the capsules.
"After discussions with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Costco's senior management team have decided to remove seal oil capsules from the shelves of their St. John's location"
- Sea Shepherd Conservation Society website news
There is another reason that Costco could have purposely timed the removal of the capsules to coincide with the annual seal protest hype. Stephen Thompson's sell may not have been hard since
"Jim Sinegal, co-founder of Costco, and a prominent US Democrat supporter, has donated to the campaigns of active seal hunt opponents Edward Kennedy, Maria Cantwell, Barbara Boxer, Christopher Dodd and Patty Murray - therefore, an action like this would contribute to the cause of anti-seal political representatives. Democratic Senator Carl Levin has already supported a Canadian seafood boycott."
- (See Sen. Carl Levin on Resolution 33 from the HSUS web site)
In addition, Jeff Brotman, co-founder of Costco and also a prominent US Democrat supporter, has in the past donated to Sen. Carl Levin (behind Senate Resolution 33 condemning the Canadian seal hunt as cruel) and also Patty Murray. These senators have political connections to the Costco board of directors.

So these connections alone make you think that removing the seal omega3 oil capsules, when the animal rights activists would be doing one of their most popular fundraising drives, i.e., protesting the seal hunt, was more than just coincidence. I am sure that from a business point of view, Costco has every right to remove any product they deem to be not worth the trouble keeping. However, the political affiliations mentioned above makes me doubt that the timing of this move is purely coincidental, but rather politically influenced. If this is actually the case, then Costco should know that in time to come Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) group will eventually betray Costco's trust. Costco may not know it but the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's mission is to stop fishing, period. So that includes many other fish species and products. PETA and the Humane Society of the U.S. want stores like Costco to get rid of all meat, fish, leather, and animal derived products.

It would be ironic if Costco is supporting extremist people like Watson, Ingrid Newkirk of PETA, and dangerous offenders like, Dr. Jerry Vlasak - extremists that hate people and businesses that sell meat, fish, and leather, or labs that use animals to find cures. This is one of many shocking quotes from Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, that is typical of their extremist views:
"Even if animal research resulted in a cure for AIDS, we'd be against it.
- Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA (Vogue, September, 1989).
There is a greater chance that Pamela Anderson will be given an oscar for playing Mother Teresa in her next movie, than Costco ever getting rid of all it's fish, meat and leather products. But animal rights groups could eventually turn on them to do just that. So for now it looks like Costco is a friend of animal rights groups, but they are really the enemy.

Like other Newfoundlanders I want our seal hunt to be as humane as it can be, so any constructive suggestions from credible and valid organizations like the Candian Veterinary Medical Association and the Independent Veteranarian's Working Group on the Canadian Seal Hunt to improve it should be heeded. Like any other animal industry this one has the potential to grow by using seals for a variety of meat and oil products. Since the 1960's regulations have been continually updated to improve the methods and efficiency of the hunt, so Newfoundlanders can take some comfort in knowing that, and hopefully stores like Costco will too.


SkylarKD said...

Wow... that quote from PETA is shocking.

Thanks for posting links to those reports! I had a quick look, and plan to read them more thoroughly later.

Here's one you might also be interested in:

Pierre-Yves Daoust, Alice Crook, Trent K. Bollinger, Keith G. Campbell, and James Wong.
Animal welfare and the harp seal hunt in Atlantic Canada
Can Vet J. 2002 September; 43(9): 687–694.

kodak said...

Thanks for the article skylarkd, it is very useful. It's good to see that such research has been done, and validates the hunt too. However, as they point out, vigilence is still needed to ensure that the methods used and the sealers hunting conduct in always the most efficient manner. It's too bad that protest groups will make the 98% efficient and humane methods, and turn it into a figure like 40% are being skinned alive etc.