French film legend Brigitte Bardot has renewed her crusade against the Canadian seal hunt by calling for a boycott of Canadian maple syrup.
In a message posted Thursday on a blog belonging to the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Bardot said "refusing to buy maple syrup so as to refuse to be an accomplice to the slaughter perpetrated on the ice floes can send a strong message to Canadian officials."
Since Canada is the world's largest producer of maple syrup, she said a boycott would put economic pressure on Canadian officials — forcing them to reconsider the country's stance on the seal hunt.
"Canadian officials are accomplices to these massacres and spend huge amounts of money to support this dying industry, which is a stain on their reputation in the eyes of the world," said Bardot.
She compared the idea to a call in 2003 to boycott French products because of the country's involvement in the war in Iraq.
Bardot has been a vocal opponent of the seal hunt for more than 30 years.
In 1977, she travelled with the activist group Greenpeace to the ice floes off Canada's East Coast, where she was photographed holding a baby harp seal, known as a whitecoat.
In 2006, government officials refused to meet with her when she once again visited the country to raise awareness about the hunt.
In July, the European Union banned the import of seal products from Canada and other sealing nations. The ban is expected to take effect in all 27 EU member countries in October.
The Canadian government has vowed to challenge the ban before the World Trade Organization, calling it an unfair trade restriction.
Canada's East Coast seal hunt is the largest of its kind in the world, with an average annual kill of about 300,000 harp seals. Canada exported about $2.5 million worth of seal products to EU countries in 2008.
The EU trade ban does provide a limited exemption for seal products derived from traditional Inuit hunts, but sealers say the exemption comes with restrictions.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada produces about 85 per cent of the world's maple syrup, selling more than 40,600 tonnes valued at more than $213 million to almost 45 different countries.