Meat from endangered species of whales caught in Iceland’s waters is being sold in Japan as luxury dog treats, according to Japanese environmentalist group IKAN.
Michinoku Farm, a Tokyo-based company, is offering treats made from Icelandic fin whales. On the company’s website, the meat is described as a “low calorie, low fat, high protein” snack.
Selling meat from endangered species as treats for spoiled dogs is the worst kind of consumption, environmentalists think.
“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,” said Nanami Kurasawa, executive director of IKAN.
Michinoku Farm also sells treats made of Mongolian horses and kangaroos meat. The whale chews are sold in three different sized packets, with a 60 gram bag selling for Y609 yen ($6.25) and a 500 gram bag for Y3,780, the international press reports.
“The product description identifies the meat as being fin whale of Icelandic origin,” IKAN 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 the company’s activity 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.”Maybe I was ignorant of the debate (about whaling), but it’s not worth selling the product if it risks disturbing some people,” he said.