Activists protesting on behalf of Greenpeace New Zealand halted operations at Whiskas’ Australasian after discovering that the cat food producer sources its tuna from Thai Union Group – a supplier that has been connected with human labor violations and destructive fishing practices.
On 16 May, six Greenpeace activists chained themselves to one of the NGO’s trucks branded with Thai Union’s logo, effectively blocking the entrance to a Whiskas’ facility in Whanganui, New Zealand. Additional Greenpeace members hung a 14-meter banner on the building that read "Stop Bad Tuna."
Whiskas is owned by major food corporation Mars, which has known about Thai Union’s ties to forced labor for at least 10 months, Greenpeace accused.
“It’s time Mars publically acknowledge these serious problems in their supply chain and tell us what they’re going to do to ensure they’re not selling products contaminated by modern-day slavery, overfishing and the needless slaughter of endangered sharks and other animals. Workers and our oceans deserve immediate action,” said Greenpeace New Zealand campaigner Kate Simcock in a press statement.
Greenpeace has been campaigning against Thai Union since October 2015 after articles in the The New York Times and Associated Press reports revealed alleged links between Thai Union’s supply chain and human labor violations.
“The oceans don’t belong to industrial fishing companies, they belong to all of us. Thai Union is the world’s biggest exporter of canned tuna, they have products everywhere. Consumers, retailers, and customers expect them to fish sustainably and respect human rights,” Simcock said. “Whiskas must tell us what its plan is and demand Thai Union take immediate action to stamp out slavery and destructive fishing."