Endangered whale used in Japan for dog treats

MEAT from endangered whales caught by Icelandic hunters is being sold in Japan as luxury dog treats, environmental campaigners said yesterday. Shanghai Daily reports

Michinoku Farm, a Tokyo-based company, is offering chews made from North Atlantic fin whales on its company website, with the meat described as a “low calorie, low fat, high protein” snack.

Japanese campaign group IKAN said selling products made from endangered species as treats for pampered pooches was the worst kind of conspicuous consumption.

“The most likely reason for shops to sell the whale meat dog treat is to target affluent Japanese who want to show off their wealth with something different,” it said.

Michinoku, which also sells pet goodies it says are made from Mongolian horses and from kangaroos, has three different sized packets of whale chews, with a 60 gram bag selling for 609 yen (US$5.97).

IKAN was one of four campaign groups that issued a joint statement on the treat.

“The product description identifies the meat as being fin whale of Icelandic origin,” the statement said. “Its use in pet food suggests that new markets are being explored.”

“As Iceland prepares to hunt over 180 fin whales in 2013 for this export market, NGOs question the environmental and economic logic of using meat from an endangered species for the manufacture of dog treats.”

The president of Michinoku Farm, Takuma Konno, said that the company was selling produce that was legal in Japan.

“Dogs are like family members for many people in Japan. We just wanted to sell a wide variety of food for dogs,” he said.

“(Campaigners) look at whales as important animals, but we consider dogs to be just as important,” he said.

Japan hunts whales under a loophole in an international moratorium, insisting it is carrying out research.

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