The Japanese Government is Poisoning its Own Citizens
Dolphin meat is sold in stores throughout Japan. Some of it is labeled correctly as dolphin meat, and some is mislabeled as whale meat. What is never included on the label, though, are the levels of mercury, methyl mercury, cadmium, DDT and PCBs; one or more of these contaminants pollute almost all of the dolphin meat for sale in Japan. That this toxic “food” is sold for public consumption at all is a disgrace; that it is sold without the Japanese government warning its citizens that eating dolphin meat is hazardous to their health is downright irresponsible and negligent.
In 1999, an international team of scientists working in Japan analyzed 130 samples of whale and dolphin meat and reported their findings to the International Whaling Commission (IWC). They analyzed the samples for mercury, methyl mercury, cadmium, DDT and PCBs. Their summary shows that not only is dolphin meat often disguised as whale meat, it is almost always contaminated:
- 24 of the samples of whale meat were actually dolphin or the kind of small whales slaughtered in Taiji.
- More than 91% of the samples from dolphins and small whales exceeded the limits for one or more pollutants.
- One sample had more than 1,600 times the maximum permitted amount of mercury.
Tetsuya Endo, a Japanese scientist and the lead scientist on the 1999 project, believes that the high concentrations found in the samples "may be enough to cause acute mercury poisoning " and that "the products should be taken off the shelves immediately."
Other studies have come to similar conclusions. Harvard University biologist, Dr. Palumbi, who assisted in joint Japanese and Harvard research, wrote a letter to Japanese officials requesting public health warnings and an immediate ban on sales of contaminated meat:
"We believe that Japanese consumers are receiving inadequate and, in some cases, inaccurate information about the cetacean products they purchase. As a result, such consumers are unwittingly consuming highly contaminated and potentially dangerous cetacean products."
All of the studies clearly show that dolphin meat is unsafe, and that the mercury contamination is particularly dangerous to fetuses and breast-fed children if the meat is eaten by their mothers. Yet the Japanese government allows this contaminated food to be sold without warning, even to pregnant women.