Beel den Stormer Presents the Only Fishery Blog You Need

Fish, Fisheries and Queryomics

Kmart and the Dead Shark: Lessons to be Learned from the British Horse Meat Scandal

photograph of a white tipped shark the species that died in a Kmart commercial shoot

Oceanic whitetip shark (photo source: Creative Commons/ OldakQuill)

Last week there was extensive reporting on the death of a white tip shark that had been flown to California to star in a Kmart commercial.  News of this began leaking out early in the week, but the story went big on Friday as can be seen by Twitter activity in the graph below.

Topsy Analytics results for a search of tweets using the words: shark Kmart

Topsy Analytics results over the past week for tweets containing the words: shark kmart.  (source: Beel) Click on graph to embiggen.

Please allow Beel to make a note about the graph above, although the number of tweets is not particularly high, once they reached their targets and were re-tweeted, Topsy estiamates that nearly 100,000 persons were exposed to the 16 March tweets.

Among the above tweets was one by PETA, shown below, to measure Kmart’s response against.

PETA tweet challenging Kmart to action and accountability


“We take this matter seriously and safety is always our paramount concern. We have been advised by our agency that the production company responsible for this shoot worked with professional animal handlers and a representative of the American Humane Association for the purpose of monitoring the shark’s welfare. We are saddened by this incident.” (Howard Riefs, a spokesman for Sears Holdings, which owns Kmart.) (source)

So, Kmart expresses an emotion and, basically, passes the buck to their production company.  Kmart makes no statement of responsibility, nor any promise to investigate, rethink the use of animals, or to keep the public informed.  Yeah, they’re sorry.  Sorry they got caught.

In contrast, earlier this year the giant grocery chain Tesco was caught up in a mess of  its own, when reports came out that it’s beef was adulterated with horse meat.  Please friends, allow Beel to present the Twitter history of that incident.

Topsy analytics graph of tweets containing the words: horse meat

Topsy Analytics results for the past 90 days for tweets containing the words: horse meat.  (source: Beel) Click on graph to embiggen.

Again, early reports of horse meat being found in Tesco beef were out there, but the incident blew up on 16 January.  On 17 January, according to a Guardian, UK report Philip Clarke, the chief executive of Tesco, used his Talking Shop blog to hammer home the message that the supermarket chain is taking the horsemeat scandal head on.

“If some of our customers are angry, so are we,” he wrote. “We expect our suppliers to deliver to a standard, and to meet basic food traceability rules. But our customers shop with Tesco, not our suppliers, so you won’t find us hiding behind suppliers,” said Clarke.

Quite a different response.  Tesco is pissed, they should be.  But they take ultimate responsibility for the problem and made it clear to the public in these, and other, comments that action will be taken- the problem fixed- and the public will be kept in the loop.

Tesco took this on like the big-time corporation that it is.  In contrast, remember Kmart’s response?  Kmart is sorry.  Like, totally.  And it’s someon else’s fault.

Good form, Kmart, says Beel.

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This entry was posted on March 17, 2013 by in Commentary, Conservation and tagged , , , , .
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