Cats Rejoice! Pet Food Giant Takes Action on Seafood
by Kate Melges
September 7, 2016
Along with some of the world’s most famous cats, thousands of you demanded answers from Mars, and now they’ve provided us with exactly that.
After cat and ocean lovers alike called on Mars, and its brand Whiskas, to face up to human rights abuses in the supply chain of seafood supplier Thai Union, it’s taken the first step: committing to a plan of action to protect the workers of the seafood industry — the people who catch the fish to feed cats, who all too often suffer in the process.
Along with some of the world’s most famous cats, thousands of you demanded answers from Mars, and now they’ve provided us with exactly that — a step in the right direction.
This is a big win for people power and for Mars, which sources seafood from some of the biggest fishing companies in the world.
In May, after you forced them to confess to buying tuna from Thai Union, Greenpeace activists shut down the heart of Whiskas’ Australasian operations for 11 hours, stopping #BadTuna going into the factory or out onto our supermarket shelves.
You called on Mars to produce an action plan to address the shocking problems in its supply chain and to put pressure on Thai Union to shape up.
Buying seafood from Thai Union can mean buying bad seafood. It may have been caught by abused or trafficked fishermen, trapped far out at sea, with no pay, no food and no way off. There is also a very high chance it’s been caught using destructive fishing methods that capture and kill all kinds of marine life, like sharks, turtles, seabirds, rays and even baby tuna that never get a chance to help keep our oceans full and thriving.
The Mars Plan promises a significant investment in Thailand to ensure human rights are protected at sea and in factories, and to develop a model that can be rolled out across the globe. Mars has also promised to follow up with a strong Fisheries Code of Conduct, and say if suppliers like Thai Union fail to meet these standards, they’ll risk having their contracts cut.
And we aren’t just talking about seafood in Whiskas products. It is a global plan for all Mars seafood products worldwide — in the pet food aisle this means Whiskas, IAMS and Sheba.
This is a big step forward for the international pet food giant and a victory for the growing movement of people taking action to protect our oceans. Mars’ plan means they are committed to cleaning up their seafood sourcing and eliminating seafood suppliers who remain connected to modern-day slavery and labor abuse. This will lead to genuine change on the water, both for the people who work at sea and for our fragile and precious oceans.
While this fight is far from over, Mars’ announcement puts pressure squarely back where it belongs — on Thai Union.
Now two of Thai Union’s best known pet food customers, Mars and Nestle (owner of Purina Fancy Feast), are acknowledging the hideous problems in their seafood sourcing and are committed to driving change.
The cat’s out of the bag, Thai Union. Your customers want better.