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 user 2006-02-15 at 10:08:00 am Views: 55
  • #14204

    Whale meat ‘made into dog food’

    Meat from whales caught under Japan’s “research” programme is so
    abundant that it is being sold as pet food, according to a UK
    conservation group.

    Thousands of tonnes of
    whale meat has been stockpiled as more animals are killed each year,
    says the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).

    The Japanese government has attempted to sell the whale meat to schools but the price has continued to fall.

    A company is selling meat on the web as “healthy and safe natural” dog food.

    “A quiet whale meat boom is starting,” says the website hakudai.com.

    “The number of pet-owners who care about their animals’ health are
    growing, recognising the nutritious value of whale meat,” it adds.

    “Now the demand and the sales are soaring.”

    Nutritious and delicious

    We have heard many arguments from Japan… but they have never stated that they needed to kill whales to feed their dogs

    Mark Simmonds

    The website describes whale meat as “organic” and fished “freshly out of the water”.

    Mark Simmonds, director of science at WDCS, said: “Whaling is a cruel
    activity and the fact that Japan is killing these amazing animals to
    produce dog food is shocking.

    “We have heard many arguments from Japan over the years
    about why whaling is necessary to them but they have never stated that
    they needed to kill whales to feed their dogs.”

    A global moratorium on commercial whaling has been in
    place since the 1980s, but hunting for scientific research is permitted
    under the rules of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

    The hunting is condemned by most conservation groups on
    the grounds that it is inhumane, unnecessary and may harm fragile

    Japan and Iceland run scientific programmes, while
    Norway lodged a formal objection to the moratorium and maintains an
    openly commercial operation.

    A number of indigenous peoples are also allowed to hunt under tight restrictions.

    Expanding the kill

    The sheer volume of Japan’s operations makes it the principal target for the wrath of conservation groups.

    In the current hunting season, it launched a programme called JARPA-2
    which doubles its annual minke whale catch from Antarctic waters.

    JARPA-2 will remove 935 minkes and 10 fin whales each year;
    while its other research programme JARPN takes 100 sei whales, 100
    minkes, 50 Bryde’s whales and five sperm whales annually from the north

    The IWC obliges countries practising scientific whaling
    to process what they catch, and the meat from Japan’s programmes has
    always found its way into restaurants.

    Last year, it initiated a scheme to distribute whale meat to schools, and a fast-food chain began selling whale burgers.

    But the latest news suggests demand from Japan’s human population is running some way behind the recently expanded supply.

    WCDS quotes research showing that the price of meat from Bryde’s whales
    has halved over the last five years, with other species falling as

    Protest for survival

    Most whale species are at risk of extinction, and last year 63 members
    of the IWC’s Scientific Committee condemned the JARPA expansion.

    “With the new proposal, Japan will increase its annual take… to
    levels approaching the annual commercial quotas for Antarctic minke
    whales that were in place prior to the moratorium,” they declared.

    In January a group of 17 countries, including the UK, mounted a formal diplomatic protest.

    “The UK is totally opposed to any activity that undermines the present
    moratorium on commercial whaling,” said Britain’s fisheries minister
    Ben Bradshaw at the time.

    “We urge Japan to reconsider its position and end this
    unjustified and unnecessary slaughter which is regarded by many
    countries and their public as a means to bypass the IWC moratorium.”

    Japan maintains that hunting is part of its cultural heritage, which other nations have no right to condemn