Canine Caviar has so far failed to respond to the letter writing campaign, so The Global Shark Initiative has decided to initiate a massive e-mail campaign, starting this weekend and continuing for several weeks. The members of GSI will be asked to send as many letters to the company as possible over a period of several weeks, using all contact possibilities that are available to us. In a combined effort, a standard letter was drafted for them to use. You can find the letter at the end of this message.
Next to sending letters, we will also be contacting the editors of several dog magazines, asking them to look into the matter and to publish an article about it. Finally we will also be contacting and informing 4 online stores that order the Great White Bites/Chews from Canine.
Of course we hope we can also count on you, to write Canine Caviar and to urge your contacts/members to do the same. Since CC was informed extensively on the issues concerning their products in the past, the content of the letters will now be aimed at informing the public. So if you draft a new letter, please also post or publish it on a website, blog or page.
This is the contact information for Canine Caviar:
The e-mail addresses and links to be used as e-blast recipients are the following:
Canine Caviar website’s Contact forms:
Canine Caviar website’s add a testimonial
These are some links to information and articles you might find interesting to use in this campaign: (Thanks to Mary O’Mally for providing several of these links last year).
• Canine Caviar’s concerned products:
• Article Thresher Sharks protected in Indian Ocean: http://www.sharkalliance.org/content.asp?did=34922
• Report Conservation status of Pelagic Sharks and Rays: http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/ssg_pelagic_report_final.pdf
• EDF page: Thresher Sharks ECO-worst choice because of slow reproduction and methylmercury levels: http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=15755
• EDF page: NO safe shark servings for women and children: http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=17694
• EPA and FDA advice: What you need to know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish: http://www.epa.gov/fishadvisories/advice/
• Article reporting about levels of methylmercury in shark cartilage (fins) according to tests conducted at the University of Hong Kong: http://www.fathom.com/course/21701777/session4.html
• Report of the World Health organization: Exposure to Mercury: A major public health concern: http://www.who.int/phe/news/Mercury-flyer.pdf
• Article concerning the effects of methylmercury in natural systems: http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc101.htm
• Article American Cancer Society: Sharks Get Cancer: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Sharks_Get_Cancer.asp
• Article Quackwatch.com: Government Action Curbs Shark Cartilage Claims: http://www.quackwatch.com/04ConsumerEducation/News/shark.html
Finally we invite you all to join us at the facebook fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Global-Shark-Initiative/104705676229836?ref=ts
And the GSI community network: http://theglobalsharkinitiative.ning.com/
to stay informed on the course of the campaign and to join forces, against Canine Caviar.
Here is the official letter:
I am writing to voice my concern over the continued silent stance your company adopts in response to your product ‘Great White Bites’. Sold as chews for domestic pets and almost proudly marketed as containing ‘Open Ocean Thresher Shark Spine’ which is known to contain high levels of methyl-mercury. This is tantamount to be detrimental to the health and well being of the beloved family pets they are intended for. Further, I find it distasteful that your company should see fit to align with the continued exploitation of a threatened marine species. Open Ocean Thresher Sharks populations are estimated to be at the point of critical collapse in relation to their numbers of just 3 decades ago. The unregulated fishing and ensuing monetizing of this resource has left them perilously close to extinction. The argument that you are using the leftovers is a moot point. The fact is your company receives endangered animal components in return for financial compensation to your supplier, period. Which ever way you look at it your financial dealings in these animal parts provides a commercial incentive for their continued slaughter. If your company is as dedicated to the well being of animals as it professes then I hereby request, as a pet owner, that you see fit to ‘do the right thing’ in removing this product from your inventory. Should it transpire that your company refuses to act on this request then I will have no option but to address my concerns to The American Kennel Club. I cannot fathom how they would not be able to see that whilst you advertise a product aimed to offer medicinal benefits to pets the reality of the situation is that this product in fact introduces trace elements of a known deadly toxin into the diet of its intended recipients. Effects of methyl-mercury poisoning include neurological complications, infertility, shortened life expectancy and the increased susceptibility to further and varied diseases. After having been repeatedly requested in the past to address this issue I should also mention that many shark conservation entities have been enlightened of your stance. As one of the many thousands of members of The Global Shark Initiative and I am now taking this time to voice my concern at your continuing decision not only to ignore the very high risks to loved domestic pets attributed to the consumption of known toxins but to your continued trade in this diminishing commodity. Plans are also afoot to create publicity in various domestic pet interest sites and mainstream media outlets informing them of your peddling in potentially toxic products derived from a threatened marine species. To all Canine Caviar employees, managers and staff. Please understand that this email is a prelude to the actions outlined and placed before the directorship of your company on April 6th, 2010. The disregarding of that effort, appealing to the sense of honor and business sense of the company directors suggests that the next step in this petition is to take this to a broader audience. There is no excuse to continually ignore these requests. We will not go away, our voices will get stronger and louder. Sincerely, (Name)
The Global Shark Initiative Canine Caviar has a history of ignoring the requests of conservation entities.
September 1 2009:
Ran Elfassy of Shark Rescue exposes the sales of Thresher Shark dog chews at an online wholesaler called “Best Bully’s” and starts negotiating with them.
September 28 2009:
Shark Rescue convinces Best Bully’s to stop ordering the “Great White Chews” and to reveal who their supplier is: Canine Caviar
Beginning of October 2009:
Several people, including representatives of conservation organisations write letters to Canine Caviar containing extensive information and explaining the ethical and health issues.
October 19, 2009:
Canine Caviar replies to everyone using an unresponsive, and even slightly mocking standard letter.October 23, 2009: One reply summarising the seriousness of the issues is sent to Canine, signed by all the different people who have been involved in the matter so far.
November 28, 2009:
Since Canine Caviar fails to reply on this last letter, an e-mail blast is organised on facebook, plenty of people react on the Action Alert. Canine Caviar remains quiet.
December 19, 2009:
Erik Brush, author of the book “The Sixth Extinction” writes a new letter, informing Canine that we will be organising a full scale campaign if they don’t comply. The letter is presented to many different representatives who all confirm their support.
April 6, 2010:
The letter that now carries the signatures of people like Rob Stewart and Julie Andersen is sent to Jeff Baker, the CEO of Canine Caviar, using registered post.
Canine Caviar still refuses to communicate and to stop selling the chews.
By Katrien Vandevelde