PETA calls boycott on Canadian maple syrup
By SARAH HINCKLEY Staff Writer | May 26,2009
MONTPELIER – Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are launching an international boycott of Canadian maple syrup at the Vermont Statehouse at noon today in an effort to stop the slaughter of baby seals in Canada.
Similar protests are planned in Maine and New York.
Each year more than 300,000 baby seals are clubbed to death for their fur and other by-products, according to Holly Beal, senior media coordinator for PETA. The "Stop the Seal Slaughter" boycott campaign is expected to continue until the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
"We want to focus the world attention on seal slaughter," said Beal, explaining the main area in which this practice takes place is Newfoundland, in Canada's northeastern region. "This year we've stepped up our efforts, because of the Olympics, the world's attention will be on Canada."
For today's demonstration, a PETA member will whack a six-foot bottle of maple syrup with a hakapik, which is the weapon used to kill baby seals. The intention is to puncture the bottle and release the blood-red contents inside. On the bottle will be a label featuring a maple leaf dripping blood next to the tagline, "Stop the Seal Slaughter."
Other demonstrators are expected to be holding signs that read, "Buy American: Boycott Canadian Maple Syrup."
While there is no correlation between the death of the seals and Canada's maple syrup industry, Beal explained the boycott is an effort to bring awareness to the issue.
"Whenever you hit the bottom line, people will pay attention to something that they wouldn't normally pay attention to on their own," said Beal, adding that product boycotts have been a PETA method throughout its 28 years of existence.
"Canada has ignored calls from around the world to stop the seal slaughter, but we're hoping that a plunge in maple syrup sales might get the government's attention," said Tracy Reiman, executive vice president of PETA, in a statement. "We want consumers to buy only American maple syrup because there's nothing 'sweet' about a country that condones the largest annual massacre of marine mammals on the planet."
Area consumers may receive calls from PETA urging them not to purchase Canadian maple syrup as part of the campaign. Demonstrations are also scheduled to take place in front of Canadian embassies around the world, as well as in other major maple syrup-producing states in the United States.
"You have to boycott all fur, because the demand on it is what allows this to happen," said Beal about why baby seals are targeted.
A call to the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association was not immediately returned for a comment.
Contact Sarah Hinckley at firstname.lastname@example.org.