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NEWS: Contaminated dolphin meat being sold as whale meat in Japan


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
One more reason to refrain from whale meat, as reported by Kyodo News on Oct. 1, 2001:

Contaminated dolphin meat being sold as whale meat in Japan

Highly contaminated dolphin meat and blubber is frequently passed off as whale meat and sold in supermarkets in Japan, an environmental watchdog organization said Monday.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said nearly half of all allegedly whale meat products bought for analysis in 42 of 47 prefectures in Japan last year turned out to be the flesh of small cetaceans, including dolphins and small whales.

Subsequent independently commissioned studies, using DNA analysis, identified seven out of 14 products as actually being from small cetaceans, according to the EIA.

The EIA also said that chemical analysis showed extremely high levels of toxicity, such as the presence of mercury, which exceeded the permissible levels in Japan.

The species identified, including bottlenose dolphins, striped and spotted dolphins and short-finned pilot whales, do not "have healthy enough populations to withstand continued hunting," the EIA said.

"This is a potentially catastrophic situation for both the hunted animals and the consumer," said Clare Perry, EIA senior campaigner.

"Consumers are being deliberately misled into buying contaminated products, while dolphins and porpoises are being wiped out to satisfy a false market demand," Perry said.

More than 2,000 dolphins and small whales face slaughter in Japan's annual dolphin hunting season, starting Monday, the EIA said.

The EIA, set up in 1984, is a nonprofit group that investigates and reports on environmental issues around the world. It has offices in London and Washington.

Copyright ツゥ Kyodo News
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