Group Calls on Yahoo Japan to Ban Whale Sales

     (CN) – Yahoo profits from the sale of whale and dolphin meat in Japan, environmental groups said Wednesday, citing a new study it hopes will encourage the company to ban the sales.
     The Environmental Investigation Agency released “Killing for Commerce” in conjunction with Humane Society International and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
     It describes how Yahoo Japan continues to sell whale and dolphin meat, even though the parent company banned the sale of all endangered or protected species from its other sites.
     Yahoo’s failure to persuade the Japanese subsidiary to stop the practice is concerning, according to the groups.
     In March, Yahoo Japan offered whale bacon and canned whale meat on its sales and auction sites, the four-page report says.
     A search for “whale” on the Japanese site showed 249 products for sale, even though there has been an international moratorium on commercial whaling since 1986, the groups say.
     The most expensive item offered was a variety set of whale meat and sashimi, which sells for 31,500 yen (almost $400).
     The report also claims that some of the whale meat contains high levels of mercury, and was sometimes mislabeled. Last February, the Environmental Investigation bought 10 of the products to analyze them for mercury and DNA.
     A sample of dried pilot whale had more than 16 times the legal mercury limit, and the average mercury level was more than 3 1/2 times higher than the limit specified by the Japanese government, the report found.
     In another case, DNA analysis found that a product labeled as pilot whale bacon was actually Risso’s dolphin, the groups say.
     Sixteen of the products for sale come from the town of Taiji or the district of Wakayama, which were featured in “The Cove,” a 2009 documentary that exposed the continuing practice of dolphin hunting in Japan, the report says.
     Since 34 of the whale products do not include a description, the products from Taiji very likely could contain dolphin meat, the groups say.

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