The canned tuna industry has created its own video to deflate Greenpeace's parody. (Photo: YouTube/TunaForTomorrow/FIS)
Tuna industry fires back at Greenpeace with legal threats
Thursday, August 18, 2011, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
Greenpeace this week received cease-and-desist letters from the three canned tuna companies targeted in its animated parody. Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea and Starkist’s legal threats follow the green organisation’s new campaign called The Tuna Industry’s Dirty Little Secret, which depicts the companies as unscrupulous and accuses them of using particularly unsustainable and destructive fishing methods.
The letters claim that Greenpeace is misusing the firms’ trademarked images -- a bee, a mermaid and a fish -- and demand that the group stop broadcasting the “violent, tasteless” video.
Greenpeace responded by asserting that it will continue to use the cartoon characters, CNBC Washington’s Eamon Javers reports.
“In their clumsy and litigious attempt to hide their dirty little secret, the industry has illustrated the lengths to which they will go to keep their methods in the shadows,” remarked Greenpeace Senior Campaigner Casson Trenor. “We believe the American public has the right to know how their tuna is caught.”
Greenpeace says the companies’ fishing methods, particularly their fish-aggregating devices (FADs), generate a tremendous amount of bycatch that includes endangered species such as sharks and turtles.
The tuna giants are particulary objecting to the use of their cartoon mascots against them.
“The tuna companies have expressed concern that their logos are being used as part of an overtly violent, tasteless video that's part of a fundraising campaign by Greenpeace,” said Gavin Gibbons of the industry group National Fisheries Institute (NFI). “Keep in mind Greenpeace is a USD 300 million dollar a year, multinational organisation that needs to bring in about 700,000 a day just to keep the lights on, so regardless of the issue they are addressing they are raising money for themselves.”
Attorney Ben T Lila of the firm Mandour & Associates wrote to Greenpeace on behalf of Bumble Bee Foods, a company owned by Lion Capital. He suggested the campaign is “false, misleading and deceptive.”
“The campaign in many material aspects is facially defamatory and constitutes trade libel and unfair competition in violation of California Law,” he added.
Attorney Richard Pierce of the firm EckertSeamans wrote on behalf of Dongwon Industries-owned StarKist, and suggested that viewers are misled because the parody is not revealed right away.
An attorney representing Tri-Union Seafoods, which owns the Chicken of the Sea brand, addressed Greenpeace in a letter as well.
The canned tuna industry has created its own video to deflate the environmental group’s parody and posted it to YouTube. The video says Greenpeace has made millions of dollars worldwide by “deceiving the public.”
- Greenpeace attacks three tuna multinationals in new campaign
By Natalia Real