Filed Under: Seafood

Canada Skewers Phony Animal-Rights Seafood ‘Boycott’

It’s that time of year again, when the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) goes north of the border to bully the Canadian government. HSUS says it has organized a massive boycott of Canadian seafood as leverage to force Canada to cancel its annual seal hunt. (HSUS, by the way, was caught on camera last year ignoring the cries of a dying seal while filming its annual ice-floe fundraising video.) Last year we investigated HSUS’s boycott claims; fully 78 percent of the restaurants and seafood businesses on HSUS’s list weren’t actually participating. (Click here to read our findings.) And now Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has done us one better, demonstrating that HSUS’s phony "boycott" hasn’t affected its chief seafood export to the United States — the yummy snow crab.In an analysis of snow crab prices and exports that DFO shared with us this week, the agency concludes that "HSUS’s claims about the success of the boycott are much inflated at best, but more likely they are simply deceptive and misleading." We agree that HSUS simply isn’t to be trusted, and today we’re telling the Canadian media why.According to data DFO purchased from the respected market research firm Urner Barry, snow crab prices were in a free-fall between 2004 and 2005. But we now know that the same thing was true of Alaskan king crab. Last time we checked, Alaska is not actually a part of Canada. HSUS has yet to explain how its Canadian seafood "boycott" could be responsible for ordinary market forces that appear to have affected the entire continent.HSUS announced in early 2005 that its "boycott" would focus on Canadian snow crab — after prices had already been declining for six straight months. (Click here and see the graph on page 5.) And in some nifty sleight-of-hand, HSUS later took credit for causing this slide. At least now we know what the group is spending its $150 million annual budget on: time travel.Perhaps the funniest part of this entire story is on HSUS’s own website. Its published list of "boycotting" restaurants includes links to many of their websites. And as of this morning, several have online menus that include Canadian seafood. (Click here, here, and here for just a few examples.)

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