Is Lush Cosmetics playing a dangerous game?

The seal hunt has always been heated debate in Canada.  This country’s Conservative government has been supportive of the Maritimers that depend upon sealing as part of their livelihoods while support from other parties has been ambiguous.

Liberal Senator Mac Harb is the leading Canadian political voice against the hunt. His Bill S-229 would outlaw the commercial seal hunt.

Here’s Senator Harb in Ottawa’s Byward Market on March 15th of this year,

Just a few blocks away, a Lush Cosmetics store has also made its position clear in the debate. The store, among the over 40 Lush locations nationwide, is protesting the seal hunt. Present on the front of the Lush website is a white baby seal with the words “End Canada’s license to kill” emblazoned overtop in red.

We also learn from their website that Lush is partnering with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to raise money for the organization,

“For the campaign LUSH has partnered with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a direct action group that has been at the forefront of defending baby seals against slaughter for over 30 years. Sea Shepherd volunteers risk their safety and face the possibility of arrest to document and witness the killing of baby seals (illegal to do without the permission from the Canadian Government). They go directly onto the ice packs of Eastern Canada to document the cruelty of the seal hunt and expose the truth to the world.”

For $19.95 you can buy a “charity pot” of lotion “gorgeously fragranced with ylang ylang, geranium and marigold essential oils” with “every penny of the retail price (excluding taxes) [going] directly into a charitable fund to support animal rights, environmental protection and humanitarian concerns.” Currently, Lush Cosmetics is supporting the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

What is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, you may ask? Are they heroic documentary filmmakers? The organization started as a splinter group from Greenpeace and its activists regularly engage in not only protest, but the destruction of commercial property and in the endangerment of the lives and safety of fishers.

The group has harassed and attacked Japanese and Canadian vessels. In a string of incidents involving the Japanese, activists from Sea Shepherd threw butyric acid on the decks of three vessels injuring a crew member in one incident. The group has also used its own ships to caused extensive damage to commercial fishers. Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson boasts,

“Yes we have sunk whaling ships, rammed whalers and drift netters, boarded poaching vessels and destroyed equipment used for illegal exploitation of the oceans and we believe that these are valid tactics.”

In this video, the Sea Shepherd’s vessel the Steve Irwin rams a Japanese fishing ship.

On the tragic deaths of four fishers who perished after their sealing vessel sank while a Canadian Coast Guard vessel was towing it after it had been disabled (unrelated to Sea Shepherd activities), Watson wrote,

“The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society recognizes that the deaths of four sealers is a tragedy but Sea Shepherd also recognizes that the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seal pups is an even greater tragedy.”

“One of the sealers was quoted as saying that he felt absolutely helpless as he watched the boat sink with sealers onboard,” said Captain Paul Watson. “I can’t think of anything that defines helplessness and fear more than a seal pup on the ice that can’t swim or escape as it is approached by some cigarette smoking ape with a club. This is a seal nursery and these men are sadistic baby killers and that might offend some people but it is the unvarnished truth – they are vicious killers who are now pleading for sympathy because some of their own died while engaged in a viciously brutal activity.”

Watson was criticized by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the remark

“It’s despicable that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society would use the death of Canadian sealers to try and advance its campaign of misinformation against the seal hunt.”

The Fisheries minister at the time had this to say about Watson’s statements,

“By attacking and trivializing the memory of these men who tragically lost their lives, Mr. Watson has proven to the world that he is gutless, shameless, and has not one shred of human decency. His lust for media coverage knows no bounds.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to once again express our condolences to the family and loved ones of these sealers.

Our government has said that it will stand up for the safety and security of sealers, and I want to confirm that the militant actions of the Sea Shepherd Society have not gone unnoticed are currently under investigation.” — Canadian Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn

The Japanese have branded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as “eco-terrorists” and even Greenpeace doesn’t want anything to do with them,

“We have always pledged to take a non-violent approach to saving the whale,’ said Holden. ‘We are not going to compromise on those ideals and we are not going to help people who have said they will use violence. We are here to save the whale, not put the lives of whalers at risk.” — Greenpeace spokesperson Sara Holden speaking about the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Here’s an alleged history of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s activities (originally published at The Institute for Cetacean Research, the aforementioned Japanese group attacked by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

But there’s your neighbourhood cosmetics store taking a stand for “social justice”, for the “environment”, and for “animal rights” but one wonders if they’ve done their research on the folks with whom they’re now sharing a bed. Customers will hopefully ask themselves that by patronizing Lush, buying their “charity pots” are they instead enabling something more sinister?

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: Paul Watson describes the use of the seal hunt as a poster campaign for environmental groups.

I’m hopeful that Lush and its customers don’t want to enrich Watson and enable his attacks elsewhere. We should all call upon Lush to drop its association with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Here is their email if you’d like to contact them:

saveourseals@lush.com

Please tell them too that the commercial seal hunt is important for jobs in Atlantic Canada.

Comments

comments

  • name withheld

    Nelson Mandela was called a terrorist as well.

    Lush is an organization that cares about the well being of animals. The Canadian Commercial seal Hunt is the largest marine mammal slaughter in the whole world to which the purpose is primarily for vanity reasons.

    If you want to make enemies, try to change something. ~Woodrow Wilson

  • Omanator

    I am appalled at the history of this bunch of terrorists. That is the only fitting name. Why has nobody confiscated
    their ship? I feel your representation should be published in every availabe venue.

  • DaveCF

    The hunting of 'whitecoats' has not been legal for more than 20 years, but the nonsense propaganda carries on. I understand that the Canadian government is now selling the Sea Shepherd vessel impounded last year. At least some action is being taken against these idiots – but more light needs to be shed on their activities in the MSM.

  • Yooper

    “Please tell them too that the commercial seal hunt is important for jobs in Atlantic Canada.” Are you kidding? It accounts for less than .5% of fisheries revenue. Say what you want about SS, but the seal hunt needs to stop. Maybe the Canadian government should take the money they use to subsidize the hunt to help find income alternatives for the sealers. Fact is, this type of activity has been banned by nearly every other country in the world. The EU is even pressuring Canada to end it, and seal products are not legal for trade in many countries as well. The seal hunt is an atrocity, and Canada needs to stop supporting it.

  • name withheld

    Why doesn't “Atlantic Canada” harvest the wind off the ocean and have turbine factories instead of relying on a 6 week hunt that the keeps the “hunters” on EI for the next 6 months. The hunt is as unsustainable as the seal population. Saying the hunt is important for jobs in Atlantic Canada is ridiculous.. or do you feel we should also continue to mow down the Amazon, pump tons of pollutants into the air, drop millions of plastic bags into the oceans and landfills and ingest buckets of pesticides and preservatives because “someone needs a job”? Anybody who is relying on a dying industry needs to sadly, wake the fuck up.

  • Dawn

    Stephen
    I am a life long Conservative and most often agree with your point of view. However, in this instance I do not. I strongly disagree with the seal hunt. I think it is a barbaric practice and it should be stopped. Does the income gained by the local sealers even equal the money spent by the Canadian Coast Guard patrolling the hunt? It is an embarassment to Canada. I can not believe that I am the only Conservative who disapproves of clubbing and hacking these poor animals to death while the rest of the world watches in horror.
    Dawn

  • Stan

    Has anyone here been in a slaughterhouse? I bet everyone here wears leather shoes. Dawn, do you eat meat or use any products made from animals? What poor animal was electrocuted and beheaded for your shoes? I hope you are not the kind of person who think milk comes from a carton and shoes come from Holt Renfrew.

    Does your definition apply to all living creatures or just the ones you think are cute?

  • Ben

    I have emailed Lush. Not shopping there again. I only know one native of Atlantic Canada (outside of Halifax) who supports the hunt. I'm sure there's a second. But people from here know about it. We know the facts, not what Paul Watson claims.

    The hunt is a good thing for the economy. While it's only a small percentage of the overall fishery, for the fisherman who are involved, it's a significant portion of their income and keeps their boat in the water making money longer.

  • Gabby in QC

    I think the seal industry is going about its PR campaigns the wrong way. Never mind the appeals to reason that sealing preserves a traditional way of life and that unfettered growth of the seal population has helped to deplete fish stocks.

    The benefits of products like seal oil should instead be marketed as natural anti-aging, wrinkle-erasing, orgasm-enhancing, and “high”-enducing natural products. Not only that; those products will also solve global warming/climate change because everyone on the planet will immediately eschew fossil fuels and use bicycles instead of cars; if rubbed on the temples of one's enemies in three circular motions while facing east, seal oil extracts will guarantee world peace; and last but no least, the entire population of the planet will automatically lean left.

    Maybe that kind of marketing campaign would help all those European and North American baby boomers who are still dreaming of Woodstock rethink this issue.

  • AtlanticJim

    It's FISHERMAN, not fisher. Leave that CBC generated PC crap in the toilet where it belongs.

  • batb

    Lush Cosmetics head honchos should have to spend six months in the company of those who make their livelihood culling Canada's seal population before accepting and financially supporting Paul Watson's Greenpeace (sic) propaganda.

    I will never buy products from Lush Cosmetics, seeing as they are obviously useful idiots and pawns of Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

  • Annie

    “Please tell them too that the commercial seal hunt is important for jobs in Atlantic Canada”, I'm not too sure about this. They hunt seals for 35% of their yearly income and then collect the other 65% from Employment Insurance … myth dispelled. And while I don't condone violence of any kind – I also think that it must be really difficult for these activists / humans to witness the brutality of senseless death and possible annihilation of a species, day in day out … I might lose my mind too.

  • Girly

    Will never go to Lush again, even called them to tell them so. I bet these Lush morons are chomping on pork chops chicken breasts and big juicy steaks…. I guess they think meat grows in the super market as oppose to on a farm where they are SLAUGHTERED. Also they show a little cuddly harp seal on their website – more ignorance on their part. A complete waste of time and yes they are supporting those terrorists. I didn’t vote for Harper but I am proud that he defends the sealers- I live in Montreal, so there is no way I can relate to the sealers, but I support them because I sure as hell would do anything to keep my family and I alive

  • Girly

    Will never go to Lush again, even called them to tell them so. I bet these Lush morons are chomping on pork chops chicken breasts and big juicy steaks…. I guess they think meat grows in the super market as oppose to on a farm where they are SLAUGHTERED. Also they show a little cuddly harp seal on their website – more ignorance on their part. A complete waste of time and yes they are supporting those terrorists. I didn’t vote for Harper but I am proud that he defends the sealers- I live in Montreal, so there is no way I can relate to the sealers, but I support them because I sure as hell would do anything to keep my family and I alive

  • Samantha

    THANK YOU!
    I 100% agree and have written them expressing my extreme displeasure with this particular marketing decision!

  • James

    Sealers use rifles, not clubs.
    Sealers kill adult seals, not whitecoats.
    All over the world, animals are raised in deplorably cruel conditions and then slaughtered. You eat these animals.
    Seals provide several weeks of seasonal employment to people who would be on EI otherwise.
    Seals are preventing our cod stocks from recovering.

    Paul Watson is a terrorist. By supporting him LUSH is destroying its credibility, they might as well be sending a part of their proceeds to Hezbollah or Al-Qaeda – they're fighting for causes they believe in too.

    If you are really serious about ending the seal hunt that's fine with me, I think you're wrong, but I think it's only fair that in a free and democratic society you should have your say. Protest the seal hunt all you want. Don't buy seal fur, write letters to politicians, call an open line show, write your local newspaper, get on tv, hell, you can get within half a mile of the hunt and observe it for yourself if you want! Just don't destroy private property, blow up boats and endanger lives. If you defend those kind of actions you should take a long hard look at what you believe in.

  • leslie

    To all you people referring to Sea Shepherd as “terrorists”, do you have any idea how disrespectful and ignorant you are being to people who have REALLY been victims of terror? I would hardly call rancid butter a weapon, get some perspective.
    On that note, NO ONE has ever been injured by the Sea Shepherds, EVER.
    These sealers have no desire for a new career, especially one that keeps them working at a real job 12 months a year! You want to see violence and what they're really all about? Here's some fisherman attacking Sea Shepherd's docked boat while police stand by complacently. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUIaB76NBIg
    They love to blame the seals for over-eating the fish population when any intelligent person can put together that fact that seals and fish balanced themselves out for centuries before we showed up. So who'd really overfishing?
    Did you know they send our military out there to “protect” (hide) the seal hunt? If it's so humane, what do they have to hide? I'm so tired of being ashamed of my country for these monsters, all the power to Sea Shepherd for doing what it takes.

  • samuraijackisback

    I'm sorry, but this comment: 'Seals are preventing our cod stocks from recovering', is totally false. Seals only eat what they need to survive. Humans? We eat to survive, and we also fish the cod for economic gain. Obviously. Do you know what a deep sea net does when a fisherman releases it into the water? Not only are you raking up the cod by the thousands, but also other marine life that is illegal to sell/cannot be used, such as dolphins, sharks, tortoises, birds, ect. Don't preach to me that seals are preventing cod stocks from improving, when really, it's just another 'fact' to divert the attention to the massive overfishing, not just in Canada, but all over the world, too.

    Please not that the following is about commercial seal hunting, NOT Aboriginal seal hunting:

    Seal hunting as a career and a livelihood for hunters in Atlantic Canada. Well, really, there are only fifteen thousand (15 000) registered hunters in all of Canada. They do a lot of damage and work fast to kill seals, especially when most seals cannot defend themselves against a club, gun, or a hook. 45% of seals are skinned alive, and granted, there IS animal cruelty elsewhere, but at least for the most part there are laws protecting animals against inhumane slaughter. Seal hunters do not use the entire seal at all, either. They just use the pelts. As for animals that we consume almost every day, such as cows and ducks, we at least use most of the animal for food, clothing, ect. Seal hunting is a bit like shark finning: sharks that are de-finned don't have a chance against fishermen who hunt this poorly misunderstood animal illegally (even off of the shores of the government protected Galapagos Islands!), and when they have their fins removed, the fishermen don't keep the rest of the animal for its meat, but instead throw the body back into the water where the shark drowns. Pretty humane, no? Unlikely. Seal hunting is really just an excuse to sell luxury goods to people and a way to divert attention from human overfishing, to 'seal overconsumption'. Did you know it was illegal to film a seal hunt? Why? Why can't someone film it?

    Some people disagree with Paul Watson, but sometimes, people don't realize what kind of actions the hunters have towards Sea Shepherd, either. Sea Shepherd put their lives on the line every time they go out onto the ice, and even if they don't provoke violence by physically shoving a hunter (they talk instead), the hunters usually get irate and prod back- not with words, but with their hands, clubs, spikes, knives, ect. One story where Sea Shep. were merely talking with hunters on the ice, a fight broke out starting with the hunters. When the fight ended, Sea Shep. were arrested (after defending, not fighting physically), and the hunters were let go without a charge.

    Sure, I don't agree with the violent acts and the crazy words that sometimes comes out of Paul Watson's mouth, but sometimes acting on something is better than just sitting passively on the sidelines.

    What I don't get is why Canada is pouring thousands of dollars into a 'hunt' (it's not really a hunt when the animal can't really hide and you have to go looking for it)-more like a slaughter- where the industry isn't even sustainable for the hunters themselves. Instead of pouring funds into a 6 week long hunt against the seals, Canada could be using the money for something else: finding new jobs for the hunters (creating new jobs that would further fund the economy in a much higher percentage that the 0.5% of the seal hunt), health care and education, ect. It's a ridiculous industry.

    Hm.

  • samuraijackisback

    I'm sorry, but this comment: 'Seals are preventing our cod stocks from recovering', is totally false. Seals only eat what they need to survive. Humans? We eat to survive, and we also fish the cod for economic gain. Obviously. Do you know what a deep sea net does when a fisherman releases it into the water? Not only are you raking up the cod by the thousands, but also other marine life that is illegal to sell/cannot be used, such as dolphins, sharks, tortoises, birds, ect. Don't preach to me that seals are preventing cod stocks from improving, when really, it's just another 'fact' to divert the attention to the massive overfishing, not just in Canada, but all over the world, too.

    Please not that the following is about commercial seal hunting, NOT Aboriginal seal hunting:

    Seal hunting as a career and a livelihood for hunters in Atlantic Canada. Well, really, there are only fifteen thousand (15 000) registered hunters in all of Canada. They do a lot of damage and work fast to kill seals, especially when most seals cannot defend themselves against a club, gun, or a hook. 45% of seals are skinned alive, and granted, there IS animal cruelty elsewhere, but at least for the most part there are laws protecting animals against inhumane slaughter. Seal hunters do not use the entire seal at all, either. They just use the pelts. As for animals that we consume almost every day, such as cows and ducks, we at least use most of the animal for food, clothing, ect. Seal hunting is a bit like shark finning: sharks that are de-finned don't have a chance against fishermen who hunt this poorly misunderstood animal illegally (even off of the shores of the government protected Galapagos Islands!), and when they have their fins removed, the fishermen don't keep the rest of the animal for its meat, but instead throw the body back into the water where the shark drowns. Pretty humane, no? Unlikely. Seal hunting is really just an excuse to sell luxury goods to people and a way to divert attention from human overfishing, to 'seal overconsumption'. Did you know it was illegal to film a seal hunt? Why? Why can't someone film it?

    Some people disagree with Paul Watson, but sometimes, people don't realize what kind of actions the hunters have towards Sea Shepherd, either. Sea Shepherd put their lives on the line every time they go out onto the ice, and even if they don't provoke violence by physically shoving a hunter (they talk instead), the hunters usually get irate and prod back- not with words, but with their hands, clubs, spikes, knives, ect. One story where Sea Shep. were merely talking with hunters on the ice, a fight broke out starting with the hunters. When the fight ended, Sea Shep. were arrested (after defending, not fighting physically), and the hunters were let go without a charge.

    Sure, I don't agree with the violent acts and the crazy words that sometimes comes out of Paul Watson's mouth, but sometimes acting on something is better than just sitting passively on the sidelines.

    What I don't get is why Canada is pouring thousands of dollars into a 'hunt' (it's not really a hunt when the animal can't really hide and you have to go looking for it)-more like a slaughter- where the industry isn't even sustainable for the hunters themselves. Instead of pouring funds into a 6 week long hunt against the seals, Canada could be using the money for something else: finding new jobs for the hunters (creating new jobs that would further fund the economy in a much higher percentage that the 0.5% of the seal hunt), health care and education, ect. It's a ridiculous industry.

    Hm.