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The Fresh Market, Inc. has become the latest retailer to team up with the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) ProtectSeals campaign to help end Canada's commercial seal kill. Over 5,000 grocery stores and restaurants are now participating in the initiative, according to the nation's largest animal protection organization.
"The Fresh Market is a privately owned company committed to operating responsibly," noted company c.o.o. Craig Carlock of the decision. As a ProtectSeals member, Fresh Market has pledged not to offer any Canadian seafood from the seal-hunting provinces, except for farm-raised mussels, in any of its locations.
Additionally, as soon as its existing inventory runs out, the grocer will stop selling Canadian snow crabs.
"These two actions send a very clear, direct message to the industry and individuals responsible for the annual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seal pups," according to the HSUS.
Based in Greensboro, N.C., The Fresh Market operates over 85 stores in 18 states in the South, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions, with plans for expansion in these areas as well as in the Northeast.
Other grocers participating in the ProtectSeals campaign include Harris Teeter, Bi-Lo Supermarkets, Whole Foods Market, Lowe's Food Stores, Trader Joe's, Earth Fare, WinCo Foods, PCC Natural Markets, and Rosauers Supermarkets.
Since the launch of the ProtectSeals campaign in 2005, the value of Canadian seafood exports to the United States has plummeted, USUS said, providing financial incentive for Canadian fishermen to stop taking part in the yearly seal hunt.