Activists Target Red Lobster Over Canadian Seal Hunt

Animal rights activists upset over the return of seal hunting in Canada are targeting Red Lobster for protests.

Red Lobster’s crime is that it buys a lot of seafood from Canada, and the activists want Red Lobster to observe their boycott of Canadian seafood until that country agrees to stop the seal hunt.

A letter posted by Harpseals.Org volunteer Sue Hirsch to AR-NEWS in July read,

As you may know, HSUS had a protest at almost all the Red Lobster
restaurants across the US and Canada last month on June 25th, 2005.
This Saturday (and for every month now on) Harpseals.org along with
Seashepherd.org will be having the same kind of protests at as many Red
Lobsters as we can until the massacres stop.

Please go to www.harpseals.org <http://www.harpseals.org> for more
information and updates.

OUR GROUP WILL BE AT THE RED LOBSTER RESTAURANT OFF ROSE AVENUE IN
OXNARD AND WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS TO HELP US! WE JUST STAND WITH SIGNS
(NON-VIOLENT) FROM HSUS,etc., AND TELL PEOPLE (who want to listen) THAT
RED LOBSTER IS THE LARGEST PURCHASER OF CANADIAN SEAFOOD AND IF THEY
WOULD STOP PURCHASING THE SEAFOOD, WE COULD END THESE BARBARIC SLAUGHTERS).

Please come out to support us.

I haven’t eaten at Red Lobster in a long time, but the activist’s protest — not to mention Red Lobster’s Create Your Own Summer Seafood Feast special — might be just enough to send me there this weekend.

Source:

Canadian Baby Harp Seal Protest Oxnard July 30th, 2005. Sue Hirsch, Harpseals.Org.

Eli Lilly Plans Withdrawal of Insulin in Canada; Diabetics Not Happy

Animal-based insulin is becoming increasingly difficult to find in the West, and Eli Lilly recently announced plans to stop selling animal-insulin in Canada. That decision has brought on the anger of a number of diabetes charities who accuse the drug company of putting people ahead of profits in withdrawing the animal-insulin.

Until the early 1980s, all insulin was either beef or pork-based. But in the early 1980s, synthetic insulin began to get approval in Western countries and has gradually displaced animal-based insulin. Synthetic insulin has a number of advantages, including that it is cheaper to produce, has fewer impurities, and its is more-or-less identical to human insulin.

But some users of animal-based insulin claim that the synthetic insulin causes any number of side effects, and that it gives them better awareness of impending low blood sugar.

Comparative studies between the two, however, have tended to show that synthetic insulin is just as safe and effect as animal-based insulin, and avoids the potential of an immune response that is a risk with animal-based insulin.

Source:

Diabetics fear loss of animal insulin. Don Harrison, The Province, July 22, 2005.

There Is No Right to Read in Canada

This story is just bizarre. Some Canadian bookseller accidentally sold 14 copies of the new Harry Potter novel before they were supposed to go on sale. So the publisher asked for and received an injunction which makes it illegal for those people to actually read the copies of the book they purchased.

The Times reports,

The supreme court of British Columbia issued a court order preventing anyone from “displaying, reading, offering for sale, selling or exhibiting in public” their books. J. K. RowlingÂ’s legal advisers said that the author was entitled to prevent buyers from reading their own books even though they had not broken the law.

“The fact is that this is property that should not have been in their possession,” said Neil Blair, a legal specialist for Christopher Little, the authorÂ’s literary agent. “Copyright holders are entitled to protect their work. If the content of the book is confidential until July 16, which it is, why shouldnÂ’t someone who has the physical book be prevented from reading it and thereby obtaining the confidential information? How they came to have access to the book is immaterial.”

British lawyers described the injunction as “unfair and excessive” but added that the reader did not have a right in law to read the book. Korieh Duodu, a media lawyer for David Price Solicitors and Advocates, said: “I have never heard of such a wide-ranging order. One sympathises with the reader from a non-legal point of view, but property rights often trump civil liberties. There is no human right to read.”

No human right to read? WTF?

Source:

Reading ban on leaked Harry Potter. The Times (London), July 13, 2005.

Someone Leaves Dead Rabbit Outside University Vegetarian Cafeteria

In March, someone left the remains of a dead rabbit hanging outside a vegetarian-oriented cafeteria on the campus of the University of Victoria. Anti-vegetarian slogans were also scrawled on a window.

According to Victoria News, a security camera recording showed three men arriving at the cafeteria, removing a rabbit from a bag and then hanging it from a string.

University of Victoria spokeswoman Patti Pitts told Victoria News,

It’s sad and senseless. The university doesn’t condone any kind of animal cruelty.

If the perpetrators are every caught, they should face criminal trespass and vandalism charges and be expelled from the university assuming they are students.

Source:

Rabbit killed at UVic. Brennan Clarke, Victoria News, March 30, 2005.

Paul Watson Compares Seal Hunt to Holocaust

As Canada announced in March that it would proceed with a seal hunt this spring in which up to 320,000 seals would be killed, animal rights and environmental extremist Paul Watson compared the seal hunt to the Holocaust.

According to Toronto Star columnist Kelly Toughill, Watson was responding a Newfoundland Memorial University student on whether or not Watson and seal hunters could reach a compromise. Watson’s reply was that,

I would not have compromised with the Nazi over the fate of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto and I do not believe in compromising with the thugs who kill these seals.

In a response on his web site, Watson countered,

I think this is a good analogy. It is not a question of comparing Jews to seals. It is all about compromising with evil. I, in fact, honour the defenders of the Warsaw Ghetto. They were brave men and women who stood up to tyranny with courage against hopeless odds. In that movement against the NaziÂ’s, those who compromised led their people to defeat and death. The statement was about not giving in to compromise and was not a criticism of the Jewish struggle. If I offended the sealers with the analogy, then that was my point. If I offended anyone of the Jewish faith, then I apologize for the unintended slight.

Yet more evidence that Godwin’s Law extends will past the confines of the Internet.

Sources:

The big lie about the harp seal hunt. Kelly Toughill, The Toronto Star, March 26, 2005.

Response to Kelly Toughill of the Toronto Star. Paul Watson, March 28, 2005.

Surprise — Free Trade Works Out In The End

Despite Adam Smith’s definitive explanation of how free trade could benefit both parties engaging in trade, pretty much every society is skeptical of free trade and that other country stealing our jobs. So, today, we have the specter of some of the richest nations in the world appalled at the thought of having to compete with some of the poorest nations, and all too happy to condemn the developing world to poverty by closing off markets.

Surprisingly there isn’t actually a lot of research looking at how free trade affects industrialized countries, but Virginia Postrel published an article in the New York Times in January that explored just this topic.

She reported on an academic study of the effects of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. The study, by Daniel Trefler of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.

Trefler’s study focused on the effects that liberalizing tariffs between the two countries had. Postrel writes,

Before the agreement went into effect in 1989, more than one in four Canadian industries were, in fact, protected by tariffs of more than 10 percent. Those industries included not only businesses known for their protectionism, notably apparel makers, but manufacturers of a wide range of products, from beer and pretzels to coffins, plastic pipes and paper bags.

Before the agreement, imports from the United States faced an average tariff of 8.1 percent and an effective tariff of 16 percent. The effective rate included import taxes on the final product and tariffs plaid on raw materials. Someone importing a chair could face a direct tariff on furniture, for example, but could also pay indirect tariffs on wood and upholstery fabric.

At the very beginning of the free trade agreement, those industries that were the most heavily protected took big hits as imports from the United States became even cheaper. According to Trefler, such industries, saw employment declines of as much as 12 percent, and the free trade agreement as a whole reduced employment by 5 percent in industries that had previously been protected by tariffs.

But, over the long run, the Canadian economy regained those jobs and has one of the healthier industrial bases in the developed world. According to Trefler,

Within 10 years, the lost employment was made up by employment gains in other parts of manufacturing. . . The average effect of the U.S. tariff cuts on Canadian employment was thus a wash: the employment losses by less-productive firms offset the employment gains by more productive firms.

And rather than force Canadian wages into a downward spiral, as had been predicted by opponents of the free trade agreement, Canadian wages increased by 3 percent over the eight years studied. A small increase to be sure, but not the predicted decline.

So what did Canadians get out of the free trade agreement if employment was a net wash and wages increased just slightly? It got a big productivity boost. Postrel writes,

The big story is that lowering tariffs set off a productivity boom.

Formerly sheltered Canadian companies began to compete with and compare themselves with more-efficient American businesses. Some went under, but others significantly improved operations.

The productivity gains were huge. In the formerly sheltered industries most affected by the tariff cuts, labor productivity jumped 15 percent, at least half from closing inefficient plants. “This translates into an enormous compound annual growth rate of 1.9 percent,” he [Trefler] wrote.

But closing plants is not the whole story, or even half of it. Among export-oriented industries, which expanded after the agreement, data from individual plants show an increase in labor productivity of 14 percent. Manufacturing productivity as a whole jumped 6 percent.

Free trade — its good for you. Even you folks in the industrial world. So loosen up those protectionist tariffs and quotas already, and give the developing world a fair chance.

Source:

What happened when two countries liberalized trade? Pain, then gain. Virginia Postrel, The New York Times, January 27, 2005.