issue 142

From Issue 142 May/June 2013


US supermarkets boycott GM salmon

In March a number of US supermarket chains pledged not to sell genetically modified salmon.

Commitments not to sell genetically engineered seafood have come from several national chains including Trader Joe’s, Aldi and Whole Foods, as well as regional retailers.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the final stages of deciding whether to allow GM salmon onto the market. If approved, AquaBounty Technology’s salmon will be the first genetically engineered animal to enter the food supply.

Eric Hoffman, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said in a statement: “Now it’s time for other food retailers, including Walmart, Costco and Safeway, to follow suit and let their customers know they will not be selling unlabelled, poorly studied genetically engineered seafood.”

Trudy Bialic from PCC Natural Markets, a chain of health food stores in Washington state, told the Guardian newspaper: “We won’t sell genetically engineered fish because we don’t believe it is sustainable or healthy.”

Biogenetics company AquaBounty combined genes from two species of salmon with a pouter eel to produce a fish it says it can bring to market twice as fast as conventional salmon.


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Black Sabbath’s bassist calls on fans to boycott Fortnum & Mason

Black Sabbath bassist Terence ‘Geezer’ Butler called on his fans to boycott Fortnum & Mason while it shamefully clings to the sale of foie gras.

It is illegal to produce foie gras in the UK due to the cruel methods of production, where geese are force-fed using oral feeding tubes.

The rock ’n’ roll legend has also written to Fortnum & Mason’s chief executive, Ewan Venters, urging him to remove the controversial product from the store’s shelves.

“I’ve been a musician for most of my life, and I’m not afraid to make some noise, especially when it comes to issues of cruelty to animals”, says Butler. “I’ll therefore be urging my family, friends and fans to stay away from Fortnum’s … until you stop selling that vile foie gras.”

He also asks Fortnum’s boss, “Do you really want to give two fingers to British animal welfare laws by being one of the only remaining retailers to sell this ‘torture in a tin’?”

Geezer’s scathing criticism comes after PETA showed him undercover video footage which exposed terrible abuse on foie gras farms supplying Fortnum & Mason – including at the abattoir, where birds had knives plunged into their throats without prior stunning, in contravention of both UK and French law.



Israel update

The student union at Canada’s York university has passed a resolution endorsing the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

The resolution calls for the university to divest from holdings in companies that do business with Israel and to cut ties with Israeli academics. The vote by the council of the York Federation of Students in March was 18-2 in favour and was advocated for by York Students Against Israeli Apartheid. The student federation represents over 52,000 undergraduate students at York, Canada’s third-largest university.

York University’s student association joins two others in Canada — the University of Toronto and Concordia University graduate student associations — in endorsing the BDS campaign.


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Nikon boycott over bloodsports

Nikon is subject to a boycott call from campaign group Viva! over its promotion of bloodsports.

Viva! have accused the company of hypocrisy for promoting cameras to wildlife photographers while at the same time selling sights for hunting rifles.

Viva! say that the latest Nikon catalogue shows a photo of two polar bears touching noses with the line, “Nature is full of moments of timeless beauty, to be captured before they are gone forever.” Elsewhere the company proclaims: “Nature is a gift to be appreciated, treasured.” At the same time the company produces a rifle-scope specifically designed for killing “large game”. With the company’s website stating, “Africa has long been a continent of dreams and danger for hunters around the world. For those seeking their dangerous game adventure on the Dark Continent.”

However most of their market is in the US where Nikon produce rifle-scopes designed for turkey hunting and one called the Coyote Special. They say they are “… proud to introduce the first line of rifle-scopes built specifically for predator hunters”.

Nikon also still sponsor hunting and in 2012 declared they were proud to be a strategic partner with Texas Trophy Hunters.

The campaign group is asking people to boycott Nikon, email the company and sign an online petition.

You can do these things via the Viva website at


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Product guide to digital cameras