Costco Cannot Be Trusted - Sea Shepherd Calls for an International Boycott

On March 1st,  Sea Shepherd Conservation Society received the following e-mail from Richard Duffy, the Assistant Vice-President of Costco's Canadian and Eastern U.S. Division:

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Duffy
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 1:14 PM
To: Steve Thompson
Cc: Joe Portera; Louise Wendling; Pierre Riel; Reza Farmand; Ron
Damiani; Charles Burnett
Subject: Seal Oil Capsules
Importance: High

Mr. Stephen Thompson;

Regarding the sale of seal oil capsules at the Costco warehouse in St. John's, Newfoundland I am providing an e-mail response as a follow up to our phone
conversation of earlier today, March 1st.

This e-mail will confirm that Costco has made a decision today, March 1st,
at the highest levels of Costco management, that it will no longer carry any
seal oil capsules in St. John's Newfoundland or any other Costco location in


Richard E. Duffy R.Ph.
Assistant Vice President
Costco Wholesale
45940 Horseshoe Drive
Sterling, VA 20166
(703)406-6857 Fax

It does not get clearer than that. The decision was based at the "highest level" and states as fact that seal oil capsules will not be sold in the future at Costco stores in Newfoundland and Canada.

A month later, Costco has reneged on this promise and has mistakenly decided that the interests of one store in Newfoundland are more important than all of Costco's outlets internationally. They announced on the morning of April 5, 2006, that they will resume selling seal oil capsules made from baby harp seals.

Costco is Now in the Baby Seal Killing Business

When word that Costco had removed the seal oil capsules hit the media in Newfoundland, the negative local controversy solicited the cowardly and false reply that Costco had removed the product because it was not making money and that they had no communications with Sea Shepherd.

Yet, Sea Shepherd has e-mail and phone mail records of negotiations on this issue going back more than a year.

"Costco simply lied," said Sea Shepherd Canada spokesperson Steve Thompson. "I handled these negotiations personally and the decision to remove the seal oil capsules was a direct result of our talks."

However, under pressure from the Premier of Newfoundland and the Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Loyola Hearn, Costco has waffled yet again and informed the media that they will restock a product obtained through inflicting incredible cruelties to baby harp seals, a so-called "health" product that contains heavy metals and PCB's and a product that presents a threat to the marine ecology of the Northwest Atlantic.

Costco has decided that to save face in one store in Newfoundland, they are willing to call Sea Shepherd's bluff over an international boycott of all Costco outlets worldwide.

It is not a bluff. Sea Shepherd is now officially calling for an international boycott of all international Costco retail outlets.

This boycott was officially announced on the CBC today by Stephen Thompson. This boycott begins with the Society itself. "Last year, we stocked our ships with thousands of dollars of provisions purchased from Costco at locations in Jacksonville, Florida; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Seattle (2 locations) and Mount Vernon, Washington. The value of the seal oil capsules sold by Costco does not equal the amount we spend for supplies alone."

A boycott will include rotating pickets at Costco locations, leafleting to customers, internet communication, celebrity endorsements of the boycott, and advertising.

Boycotts involving marine animals have been quite successful over the last year. Disneyland agreed to stop serving shark fin soup after Sea Shepherd threatened to call a boycott in 2005. This last week, Nissui corporation divested their shares in the Japanese whaling fleet after Earth Island Institute launched a boycott of their New Zealand subsidiary Sea Lord and their U.S. subsidiary Gorton's Seafood. Red Lobster has also felt the sting of the international Boycott of Canadian Seafood products, a boycott called by Sea Shepherd, HSUS, and other non-profits, and supported by Trader Joe's, Wild Oats, Whole Food Markets, Legal Seafood, Miami Crab, and hundreds of restaurants across the United States.

Costco has decided that they would rather support men who viciously club helpless baby seals over people of compassionate who are opposing this horrific slaughter of over 325,000 seal pups annually.

As long as Costco supports the killing of baby seals, we will not support Costco. We urge animal lovers and conservationists worldwide to send a message to Costco: "We will not shop at Costco outlets while you have baby seal oil capsules on your shelves in your store in Newfoundland."

If you would like to let Costco know how you feel about the fact that they sell a product derived from dead baby seals:

CEO of Costco:

Jim Sinegal
Chief Executive Officer

Karen Paulsell
Administrative Assistant to Jim Sinegal
Direct phone: 425-313-8565
Fax: 425-313-8103

Shareholders - Two contacts best used by anyone who holds shares in Costco or who is thinking about purchasing shares:

Sharon Rugh
Executive Assistant to Richard Galanti
Direct phone: 425-313-8256
Fax: 425-313-6593

Richard Galanti
Chief Financial Officer
Direct phone: as of yet unknown

Canadian Senior Executives - Costco's top decision-makers in Canada (the ones who ultimately pushed to restock the shelves with seal oil caps):

Louise Wendling
Senior Vice President of Costco Canada
Direct phone: 613-221-2000 ext. 2020
Fax: 613-221-2001

Pierre Riel
Senior VP and General Manager for Eastern Canada
Direct phone: 613-221-2000 ext. 2003
Fax: 613-221-2001

Pharmaceuticals - Two individuals in Canada in charge of Costco's pharmaceutical division which handles the seal oil product:

Reza Farmand
Director of Pharmacy
Direct phone: 613-221-2313
Fax: 613-221-2001

Mitch Johnston
Buyer - Canadian Pharmacies
Direct phone: 613-221-2385