Center for Consumer Freedom

Center for Consumer Freedom

March 24, 2006 07:30 ET

Humane Society of the United States Promotes Phony Canadian-Seafood Boycott 78 Percent of 'Boycotters' are Really Bystanders/Canadian Fisheries Minister Criticizes Animal-Rights Deceit

CHARLOTTETOWN, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND--(CCNMatthews - March 24, 2006) - The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has published a list of restaurants and seafood companies supposedly boycotting Canadian seafood. But 78 percent of the listed companies contacted by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom indicated that they are not actively participating in the boycott. HSUS launched its campaign against Canadian seafood in 2005 in an attempt to intimidate Canada's government into discontinuing its unrelated annual seal hunt.

During February and March, CCF attempted to contact (by phone or in person) all 234 companies included (as of March 17) on HSUS's published list of boycotters, and completed interviews with knowledgeable representatives of 87 (more than one-third) of them. Most respondents were chefs, managers, or seafood buyers.

Overall, 31 percent of the respondents said that they were still serving Canadian seafood. Another 47 percent said that while their menus do not include Canadian seafood, this was also the case before HSUS's boycott began. And 62 percent said they were unaware that HSUS was publicly describing them as boycott participants.

Only a small fraction of survey participants, 13 percent, cited the HSUS boycott as the main reason they do not serve Canadian seafood. One restaurant on the "boycott" list serves a vegetarian menu which includes no seafood at all.

"This is a huge blunder for the Humane Society of the United States," said Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko. "HSUS is either intentionally deceitful or monumentally incompetent. Neither is good news for the millions of people who send HSUS money every year. We were shocked at how easy it was to find major problems with this fake boycott campaign."

The Honourable Loyola Hearn, Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, reacted to CCF's survey immediately, saying: "Some animal rights groups have been misleading the public for years about the nature of our annual seal hunt. So it's no surprise at all that the richest of them would mislead the public with a phony seafood boycott aimed at hurting our fishermen."

"The apparent dishonesty in this boycott hoax raises serious questions about the Humane Society's other campaigns," Martosko added. "HSUS already has serious credibility problems, since it's not affiliated with any local 'humane society' animal shelters. But it's going to be even harder to take the group seriously from now on."

A summary of CCF's findings, including the survey questions and direct quotes from participants, is available to members of the media. A profile of the Humane Society of the United States is published at

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

Contact Information

  • Center for Consumer Freedom
    Andrew Porter
    Communications Director
    (202) 463-7112