Professor Frank Cipriano, of San Francisco State University, is a pioneer of whale meat identification using DNA matching techniques.
Dr. Cipriano's latest investigation has uncovered the fact that whales caught by Japan's illegal whaling fleet in Antarctica and the North Pacific are being ground up into dog food. The DNA found in the dog food is proof that Antarctic Minke whales and dolphins are being used in the Japanese pet food industry.
Dog food products from supermarkets in Shizuoka and Otsuchi, Japan, were purchased in February 2003. The DNA analysis of the products has revealed that the dried dog food from Shizuoka contained Antarctic Minke whale, and a packaged dog food product purchased in Otsuchi contained dolphin DNA.
At the IWC meeting held earlier this month in Berlin, Japan unsuccessfully attempted to win a quota of whales for coastal communities. They were voted down by the majority of the members of the IWC.
According to Captain Paul Watson, "Here we have Japan claiming that there is a subsistence need for whale meat in Japanese communities and at the same time they are directing a surplus from their illegal activities in Antarctica into pet food."
Dolphins are annually being rounded up and cruelly slaughtered in Japanese bays. The evidence indicates that some of the meat from these dolphins is turning up in pet food.
Whale and dolphin meat contain high levels of heavy metals, especially mercury. The level of toxicity in whale and dolphin meat has discouraged many Japanese consumers and is causing a surplus. This surplus is being processed into pet food.
This not good news for whales and dolphins, and not good news for the dogs of Japan.