This from “Social Movements” by Suzanne Staggenborg (Oxford University Press 2008) is worth a think about.
Many environmental groups used the image of the dolphin as a very sympathetic sea mammal to get the public to boycott tuna so they could force the international tuna industry to change its technology to use nets that allow dolphins to escape. In 1990, the major US tuna companies announced that they would buy only ‘dolphin-safe’ tuna, labelled accordingly. While most environmental organisations were thrilled with this outcome, ‘Greenpeace began to consider the social consequence of an international boycott of dolphin-caught tuna’. Greenpeace had learned from its earlier boycott of seal pelts that the issues were often more complex than simply saving an attractive animal, and the organization’s Latin American bureaus also offered a different perspective on the tuna boycott. They argued that the US companies were acting to protect themselves from foreign competition insofar as the industries of poorer countries did not have the technology to avoid killing dolphins and would be driven out of business by the boycott. Greenpeace wanted to try to address these economic problems and look for a long-range solution to the dolphin-tune problem, but that position created public relations problems for Greenpeace as well as tensions with other environmental groups, which wanted to declare victory.
Mrs Towers points out that “dolphin-friendly” nets screw albatrosses. It’s almost as if our industrial strip-mining of the seas is a bad idea… (see DT post “The Death of Cod”)
[The Staggenborg book is rather good, btw. And shall be raided for quotes.]