national

Amazon Japan profiting from slaughter of whales, dolphins: investigation agency

26 Comments

Internet marketplace giant Amazon.com has been called on to stop supporting commercial whaling by immediately and permanently banning the sale of all products from whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as "cetaceans").

Amazon.com's Unpalatable Profits, a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency, launched in co-operation with Humane Society International, reveals that Amazon Japan, the wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon Inc, sells more than a hundred cetacean food products.

In December 2011, 147 whale products were found for sale on Amazon Japan. The listed products included fin, sei, minke and Bryde's whales, all protected by the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on commercial whaling and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which forbids international trade. Despite this, several companies were selling endangered fin whale imported from Iceland.

Amazon Japan was also selling pilot whale and other unspecified products from the infamous Taiji drive hunts, highlighted in the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove."

EIA has released a hard-hitting 50-second campaign film urging consumers to tell Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to stop selling whales.

"Amazon.com has a clear policy of banning trade in endangered and threatened species but is turning a blind eye to commercial trade in whale products from endangered and threatened whales on its Japanese website," said Allan Thornton, president of the Environmental Investigation Agency. "We are appealing to Jeff Bezos and Amazon to ensure that Amazon's ban includes all trade in products from whales, dolphins and porpoises across all of Amazon's websites."

EIA investigators purchased eight whale products from Amazon Japan in 2011, including canned whale meat, whale jerky, whale bacon and whale stew. Analysis revealed six of them to have mercury levels exceeding the Japanese national limit for mercury in seafood of 0.4 parts per million and one had a staggering mercury level of 20ppm, which is 50 times the safe limit.

"Amazon says 'we're constantly looking for ways to further reduce our environmental impact' – banning these harmful products is an easy way for Amazon to show genuine commitment to this principle, while protecting its customers," said Thornton.

One-third of the 147 products were not listed with a species name, contrary to the requirements of Japan's labeling laws. Since many of these products originate from Taiji, where 10 times more dolphins are killed than whales, it is likely Amazon Japan is selling dolphin products mislabeled as "whale."

"The vast majority of Americans and nations around the globe oppose the commercial slaughter of whales," said Kitty Block, vice president of Humane Society International. "Profiting from the killing of whales is a dirty business which no reputable company should be involved."

International condemnation of Japan's cetacean hunts, coupled with concerns about pollution and food safety, have already spurred Japan's leading supermarket chains to ban the sale of whale and dolphin products in thousands of stores. EIA and HSI call on Amazon to do the same.

© PR Newswire

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

26 Comments
Login to comment

Scimshaw is an ancient hobby. Eating whale is even older.

Whales, dolphins, and sharks may be threatened but don't blame Japan. Japan has fished responsibly centuries. Blame pollution.

-15 ( +6 / -19 )

From what I read elsewhere, Amazon.co.jp had already removed all of these items from its site. Good for them - quick and decisive action is good to see.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

the Cable channel Animal Planet, the advertisers that run commercials during the show Whale Wars and the group Sea Shepherd profit from whale slaughter too,.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Iowan:

" Japan has fished responsibly centuries. "

Japan has fished responsibly for centuries in the Antarctic? Do give some references for that.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Time for an Internet ban and DOS attacks. We'll get them to change their attitude real quick. Anonymous is the answer.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

this is a scary story that a giant company like amazon began propaganda incitement on its site. basically foreign companies need to try to understand the country tradition. if i were an amazon user, i would stop using amazon.

0 ( +5 / -4 )

Very typical in Japan's trade nowadays ... support this, support that ... but in the end, nothing but a show. All in the name of profits and kizuna.

fin, sei, minke and Bryde’s whales, all protected from international trade. Despite this, several companies were selling endangered fin whale imported from Iceland.

So ... Japan is illegally selling products which were also bought from Iceland. Why does the article not say anything about Iceland investigation?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Analysis revealed six of them to have mercury levels exceeding the Japanese national limit for mercury in seafood of 0.4 parts per million and one had a staggering mercury level of 20ppm, which is 50 times the safe limit............................

for the buyers, " serve " them right. Enjoy.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Amazon?.. good, i was looking for a place to buy some whale meat and bacon... i have had a craving ever since Whale Wars.... if i can't get it now, i will definately try it when i make my first trip to Japan.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

This is a newswire story, so I'm not going to blame JT... but this article doesn't even mention "Amazon.com couldn't be reached for comment", let alone any quotes from Amazon = pretty one-sided journalism to me.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I did not know Amazon sold it. Amazon should have made use of this free publicity, to compete with Rakuten, which has many whale products available.

-9 ( +1 / -9 )

Is this news worth posting? JT likes news about whales, maybe too much.

-5 ( +2 / -6 )

Seriously? it's not legal to import whale from Norway? What about the other meats which I reckon as just as poor taste. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_sr_grocery?_encoding=UTF8&node=16310101&field-brandtextbin=Exotic%20Meats%20USA%20%C2%AE

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I did a search in Amazon Japan just now for whale meat. Lots of books and dvds on the subject of whales, but nothing about getting them to your table.

Amazon Japan has solid policies in place to keep certain objectionable products off the market, so from all appearances this is also being done for our cetacean friends.

Amazon by its very nature is an ally of conservationists. The fuel saved from being able to shop from home is major. Sure, a truck delivers it -- but each item in that truckload essentially represents one shopping trip that did not have to be taken by a consumer. More than one, if you consider all the unsuccessful trips made to find something.

If Amazon Japan did carry whale products before, kudos to them for eventually wising up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“The vast majority of Americans and nations around the globe oppose the commercial slaughter of whales,

Bull dinky.

Mr. Sushi, you will love the bacon. Blubber is good too with soy and spicy mustard.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

JGal, You are misinformed.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

wow, didnt know about this. Good to hear they took it off. Shouldnt this new hit JP directly as they did not catch it nor did they try to catch and instead made a profit off of the taxing of each item sold?

If they are only doing research on the whales how can they sell what is not used? I dont understand that. could some one explain it to me?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I imagine that this wasn't actually Amazon selling these products, but rather a local, third-party seller using the Amazon website to hawk their wares.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Al Stewart

Of all the whale species, some of the ones reportedly sold are not on the research list, but rather on the endangered whale species.

Which means that the ones fishing these whales are different from the ones who travel to Antartica annually. Please look up the other article: http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/marshall-islands-fine-japanese-ship-for-violating-shark-fin-ban

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Time to stop shopping on Amazon Japan until they get this issue resolved.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Whale meat contains heavy metal: Mercury; Organochlorines: PCB, DDT, & CH; Other Persistent Organic Pollutants: PBDE & Co. ...and I am sure Amazon probably did not notify customers of these health benefits.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Oh dear. And so the plot thickens. Before we know it, there will be an eco-hacker group called 'Internet Shepherd' trying to take down Amazon Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This article reminds me of a documentary "What to Do About Whales?" talks about, the industry to whale meat being sold on the open market and skillfully enters the international debate over the future of the world’s whales.

To watch the documentary please visit - http://www.cultureunplugged.com/play/7084

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan gal u don't seem to understand they are endangered that means if u eat them no matter how good they taste there won't be any left for ur children to eat plus it has an impact on other creatures that feed on them and that they feed on too upsetting the balance and destroying a magnificent creature.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Banning sales on Amazon Japan doesn't mean you can't buy whale products from other countries like Norway.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@JGal - As per Jonathon Swift: "I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricasie, or a ragoust."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites