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June 6, 2012

New Report Documents Yahoo! Profits From Killing Endangered Whales and Dolphins

Internet giant urged to ban all sales of whale and dolphin products

Humane Society International

  • Products from endangered whale species are currently available through Yahoo! Japan. Gyi Nsea/iStockphoto

WASHINGTON - Hundreds of whale products for sale on the Japanese website of Internet search engine company Yahoo! show how the California-based company profits from the venture, according to a new report released today that can be found by clicking here.

“Killing for Commerce,” released by the Environmental Investigation Agency, in conjunction with Humane Society International and the Natural Resources Defense Council, details how the website Yahoo! Japan facilitates the sale of meat and other products of endangered whale in Japan. EIA tests have also turned up evidence that products derived of dolphin are sold.

“Yahoo! continues to ignore international outrage over the sale of whale and dolphin products via its Japanese website, even as it continues to profit from the slaughter of whales and dolphins,” said EIA President Allan Thornton.

Take action now to help save whales.

Although Yahoo! has banned the sale of endangered and protected species from all other Yahoo! sites, EIA, HSI and NRDC are deeply concerned that the company has made no significant effort to persuade Yahoo! Japan to end the sale of whale and dolphin products.

The report shows how in March, Yahoo! Japan was found offering 249 whale products, including sashimi, bacon and canned whale meat, for sale on its fee-based sales and auction sites. That’s around 100 more listings of individual products than Amazon’s Japanese website was found to be selling when it was exposed earlier this year. In response to pressure from around the world, Amazon swiftly announced a ban on all such sales.

The report also confirms that many of the products are from internationally protected great whale species including fin, sei, minke, sperm and Bryde’s whale—all of whom are protected under the moratorium on commercial whaling established by the International Whaling Commission in 1986 and have the highest level of protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. In one example, despite the international trade ban, seven companies on Yahoo! Japan’s website were selling endangered fin whale imported from Iceland.

“Yahoo! should respect international laws rather than offering market access to those who want to profit from flouting these protective agreements,” said Kitty Block, vice president of HSI.  

Moreover, whale products sold via the Japanese website have been found harmful to human health. EIA commissioned laboratory tests on 10 products purchased from the website and found that five exceeded Japan’s guidelines for mercury levels in food for human consumption. One product was 16 times the “safe” limit.

“We appeal to Yahoo! to follow Amazon’s lead and stop the sale of all whale and dolphin products,” said Taryn Kiekow, staff attorney for NRDC. “By selling these products, Yahoo! Japan is condoning the slaughter of internationally recognized endangered and protected species. Whale meat is not only unsafe for human consumption; it is a travesty for the biological diversity of our oceans.”  

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Media Contact: Humane Society International: Rebecca Basu, 301-258-3152

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations—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 programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—On the Web at hsi.org

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a US tax exempt environmental organization 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. Visit EIA at www.eia-global.org

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org  and  follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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