Aerial view of a FAD at night. The devices also pollute the ocean with ‘ghost’ nets and debris, which wash up on beaches and coral reefs. Photograph: Will Rose/Greenpeace

Every day, all around the world, people and their pets eat tuna sourced from a Thai seafood conglomerate that has been condemned for destructive fishing methods and a connection to slave labour, including the locking of indentured workers in cages.

Whether we’re talking about exploiting people or our oceans, until they clean up their supply chain, any seafood from Thai Union should be seen as bad seafood. Thai Union supplies tuna to a whole bunch of major pet brands, including brands owned by MARS like Iams and Whiskas.

Cat food might not seem like a big deal compared to the tuna human beings eat, but let’s paws a moment and do some calculations.

We’ll start with New Zealand, it’s a small country, around four and a half million people, one hobbit, and nearly 1.5 million cats. According to records obtained from New Zealand customs, it looks like a minimum of 50 tonnes of Thai Union tuna is imported for cat food each year.

Again, that may not seem like a huge amount but Thai Union supplies tuna for cat food all around the globe, so let’s scale that up.

Australia is a bigger country, with more people and nearly 3.5 million cats. Why should we care? Because in some parts of the world, including Australia we’re told cats eat more seafood than people. Hold that thought.

Cat food companies are global. With over 10 billion dollars of turnover a year each, the two biggest, MARS and Nestle, supply most major markets and have pet food brands in most countries, including the UK where feline lovers own a collective 8 million of the self-grooming fur balls.

In France, le chat population is 11 million, the Japanese own nearly 10 million, the Germans own 8 million, there are 7 million couches at risk of being clawed in Canada, and another 7 million Italians check their espresso for cat hair every morning. Spain has over 3 million cats sniffing around the paella, and even Korea has just hit its 1st million. Then there’s the good old record-breaking U.S of A, where the pillow sleeping critters comfortably peak 74 million.

Now, you know some of our best friends are cats, but even if some cats are more seafood mad than others, multiply that conservative New Zealand fifty tonnes across the cat eating universe, and global cat seafood consumption starts to look like a serious part of the tuna and seafood market.

If American cats alone chow down on Kiwi quantities of fish, they’ll be eating nearly two and a half thousand tonnes (over 5 and a half million pounds!) per year. That’s a lot of fish. That’s a lot of fishing.

Our biggest and fastest ship, the Esperanza, is out there right now, hauling Thai Union’s destructive fishing gear out of the Indian Ocean, but we can’t solve problems of exploitation and overfishing just by working on the water. We need to talk to consumers too, so you can help tell Thai Union there’s no place for bad tuna.

And that’s why we’re talking about cat food.

It’s big business and the big companies clearly don’t want the dirty truth of seafood slavery and ocean devastation to get its claws into their big profits.

But here’s how I see it… Thanks to Thai Union, and the companies they supply like Mars and their brands like Whiskas, over a hundred million cats around the globe may be unwittingly funding seafood slavery and overfishing, and that just doesn’t seem like something cat owners would want to support.


Sign the petition asking Thai Union to clean up its act

Send a message to MARS and tell them to get bad tuna out of their Whiskas

And you can get your cat in action at