The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) issued a joint press release this morning expressing dismay over fin whale caught in Iceland, which is being repackaged and sold as luxury dog treats in Japan.
According to the press release, issued in collaboration by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and the Iruka & Kujira [Dolphin & Whale] Action Network (IKAN), the Japanese company Michinoko Farms is now producing and selling dog snacks using meat from endangered fin whales killed by the Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf.
While the selling of Icelandic whale meat to Japan for human consumption is not new, the groups say that its use in pet food shows the market has reached a new low, both ethically and economically speaking, as it suggests there is a glut of whale meat on the regular market.
Susan Millward, executive director of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), is reported as saying: “Turning an endangered whale species into pet snacks is deplorable and seems to be nothing more than a desperate attempt to keep a cruel and unnecessary industry alive at any cost.”
According to Nanami Kurasawa, executive director of the Japanese conservation group IKAN, Michinoku Farms can afford to turn fin whale into dog food because the Icelandic company Hvalur hf. sells its catch at a cut-rate price.
Michinoku Farms produces a dog food “jerky” from the dried fin whale and sells the product online in various package sizes ranging from 60 grams (for ¥609 / US$5.97 / 741 krónur) to 500g (for ¥3780 / US$37.13 / 4600 krónur). The product is sold alongside other luxury dog food treats with exotic ingredients like Australian kangaroo meat and Mongolian horse meat. Kurasawa says these products appeal to affluent Japanese who want to display their wealth and pamper their pets with something different.
And yet, it appears the market for pet treats made from Icelandic fin whale is already floundering, as various stores and carriers of the product are reported to have recently reduced its price and labelled it as a bargain item.
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