BREAKING NEWS: Yahoo Japan! Knowingly Selling Toxic Whale Meat, Refuses to Stop


For immediate release: Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Environmentalists call for ban on whale sales by Yahoo! Japan

TOKYO, Japan: Environmentalists today called on Yahoo! Japan to ban all sales of whale, dolphin and porpoise products on its fee-based Store and Auction sites after discovering that whale products sold via the Yahoo! Japan sites were contaminated with toxic mercury pollution. Mercury can cause brain and neurological damage in humans.

Whale Meat Products Purchased on Yahoo! Japan (Photo via EIA)

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a non-profit environmental group based in Washington DC and London UK, released new results of eight whale products purchased recently from Yahoo! Japan Store sites and tested by a laboratory in Japan earlier this month.

Fried Minke Whale Meat- Common Minke Whale is listed as ‘Least Concern’, Antarctic Minke Whale as ‘Data Deficient’ (Photo via EIA)

Five of the products exceeded the Government of Japan’s safety guidelines for mercury contamination in seafood for human consumption. The average concentration of mercury in the eight products was 1.78 parts per million (ppm), more than four times higher than the ‘safe’ level of 0.4ppm set by the Government.

Bacon Meat of Pilot Whale, both species are listed as ‘Data Deficient’ (Photo via EIA)

One whale meat sample was more than 16 times the limit for mercury at 6.5ppm. The sample was sold as “dried whale from Taiji”. Taiji is the town where the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove documented mass killing of dolphins in the nearby bay.

Dried Pilot Whale Meat (Photo via EIA)

Clare Perry, EIA’s senior campaigner who released the mercury results today in Tokyo, said today: “Yahoo! Japan has a responsibility to end the sale of whale, dolphin and porpoise products to ensure that mercury-contaminated products are no longer sold to their internet customers. Thousands of dolphins, porpoises and small whales continued to be killed around the coast of Japan, posing a threat to the health of anyone who consumes such products.”

Minke Whale Stew (Photo via EIA)

Kitty Block, Vice President of the Humane Society International, said today: “Yahoo! Japan is the biggest internet retailer in Japan and we appeal to it to help protect both the people of Japan, who may eat these contaminated products, and also the whales, dolphins and porpoises that are killed in their thousands around the coast.”

Fried Meat of Baird’s Beaked Whale, which is listed as ‘Data Deficient‘ (Photo via EIA)

This is the second time EIA has tested whale products sold via Yahoo! Japan Store sites. In 2010, similar tests found that 50% of ten samples of whale meat sold via Yahoo! Japan exceeded the safe levels for mercury contamination.

Baird’s Beaked Whale Meat Canned in Soy Sauce (Photo via EIA)

The mercury test results were provided to Yahoo! Japan, but the company has refused to take any action to stop the sale of whale, dolphin and porpoise products via its store or auction sites.

Dried Pilot Whale Meat (Photo via EIA)

Japan suffered one of the world’s worst mercury poisoning tragedies, discovered in the town of Minamata in 1956, after a nearby company dumped large amounts of methylmercury waste into Minamata Bay over many years. Thousands of people suffered severe nervous system damage as a result, and almost 1,800 died.

Whale Bacon from Taiji (Photo via EIA)

For further information, contact:

Clare Perry, EIA, in Tokyo on 09039139616, or email

Kristen Eastman, Humane Society International, in Washington DC on 301 721 6440, or email

Photos and Video of the products and full laboratory test results are available on request

1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK-based Non Governmental
Organisation and charitable trust (registered charity number 1040615) that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.

2. Humane Society International and its partner organisations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations, backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide. On the Web at Follow HSI on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching “HumaneTV” in the App Store.

Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
Tel: +44 207 354 7960
Fax: +44 207 354 7961

Baird’s Beaked Whale in Minamiboso, Japan (Photo via China Daily)

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), over 1,500 whales have been killed each year since a ban was passed to protect them from whaling in 1986.  This equates to more than  37,500 whales in just the last 25 years.

Has what you’ve just read upset you?  Then click here to DO something!

Bookmark and Share