Thursday, April 06, 2006

After Intimidation and Pressure by Canadian Government, Costco Wimps Out and Decides to Restock Dead Baby Seal Oil Capsules

Flawed logic – the customer is right. So, whatever they want, we’ll put on the shelves. What liars. It was Canadian government intimidation and pressure that led to the reversal. After all, they took the products off the shelves due to initial customer pressure. I’m sad to see that government lobbying for sick practices such as the Canadian baby seal slaughter has reached such levels. Even worst the companies bow to such intimidation.

The customer is right: Costco restocks seal oil capsules

http://www.cbc.ca/nl/story/nf-costco-seals-20060405.html

Costco announced Wednesday it will restock seal oil capsules at its store in St. John's, in the wake of consumer protests that it had caved to animal rights protesters.

Costco removed the capsules, which are rich in heart-protecting omega-3 fatty acids, from its shelves at its St. John's location in early March.

Tom Rideout said he was pleased to hear Costco will restock seal oil capsules on the shelves of its St. John's store. (CBC image)

Tom Rideout said he was pleased to hear Costco will restock seal oil capsules on the shelves of its St. John's store. (CBC image)
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society then claimed the decision was made in response to its lobbying efforts.

Louise Wendling, Costco's senior vice-president, said the company changed its mind because of consumer pressure.

"Our earlier decision to remove the product was misinterpreted," Wendling said in a statement.

She said Costco "does not and has never supported" the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a group headed by veteran anti-sealing activist Paul Watson.

"Let me be clear on this point – the only lobby Costco pays attention to is the consumer lobby. When there is sufficient demand for a product, we listen."

Seal oil capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with protecting against heart disease and other ailments.

Seal oil capsules contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked with protecting against heart disease and other ailments.
Wendling met Wednesday in Ottawa with Tom Rideout, Newfoundland and Labrador's fisheries minister.

Rideout applauded the decision.

"We thought it was suspicious," Rideout said of the removal of the capsules.

"However I am convinced that the senior officials of Costco who made the decision made that decision on a business basis.

Rideout said he had no assurances that Costco won't make such a decision again. However, he said, "I'm relatively optimistic you won't see this kind of a decision taken lightly again."

Rideout said he would be prepared to make similar trips to persuade other retailers who are persuaded by anti-sealing activists.

Rideout said Costco was not aware that the decision was made on the eve of the start of the hunt, which also coincides with annual public-relations – and fundraising – campaigns by groups opposed to the hunt.

Furor sparked over product removal

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's announcement sparked outrage among consumers in St. John's, with some Costco members organizing a boycott or resignations from the big-box retailer's membership lists.

Premier Danny Williams last Friday encouraged consumers to think carefully about whether they should shop at Costco.

Open-line radio programs have been filled with calls about the issue since last week.

Meanwhile, Karl Sullivan, a senior executive with the Barry Group of Companies, which produces the capsules, said the company was contacted Tuesday.

A Costco executive, Sullivan said, contacted company president Bill Barry.

"[They] apologized for the lack of communication after the product was pulled, and apologized for how it was handled on the side of Costco," Sullivan said.

Sullivan also said Costco wants the Barry Group to be its national supplier for the capsules as well as other products.

Sullivan said Tuesday, the day preceding Rideout's meeting, that the Barry Group will take some time to decide whether it wants to get involved with Costco again.

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