Japanese firm takes Icelandic whale pet treats off the shelves

Fin_whale83A Japanese company has stopped selling fin whale pet treats after being criticised by campaign groups.

Saitama-based Michinoku Farm had advertised the snacks for dogs that are made from fin whales purchased from Iceland. The company removed the snacks from its website following protests from campaign groups including the US-based Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

The company’s president, Takuma Konno, said that despite the fact it’s legal to sell the product in Japan he opted to take it off the shelves. He explained that people in Japan see their dogs as family members, and want to offer them a variety of food. He acknowledged that he could be ignorant regarding the whaling issue, but said that if selling the product will anger people, it’s not worth it.

Michinoku Farm, which also sells kangaroo and Mongolian horse pet snacks, had been offering the whale treats in three different packet sizes. Japan has been importing fin whales from Iceland for human consumption for five years, but has recently focused on the pet food market as less people are eating whale meat.

Japan-based Dolphin and Whale Action Network’s executive director Nanami Kurasawa said that it is probable that Japanese shops sell the whale meat  pet treat in order to appeal to more affluent people, who enjoy showing off their wealth. She added that it appears the use of whale fin in pet food shows companies are exploring new markets.