The story so far
Whale meat tins from Tesco's Japanese stores
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) investigations revealed
that UK supermarket Tesco was selling canned whale meat in 32 of
its 78 C-Two Network stores in Japan. Fresh whale meat was
available in ten of the stores, despite the fact that commercial
whaling has been illegal since 1982.
In a joint campaign with the EIA and the Whale and Dolphin
Conservation Society (WDCS), we called on Tesco to remove all whale
meat from its stores.
We met with Tesco officials in May and October 2004 and told
them Japan kills more than 800 whales in the North Pacific and
Antarctic each year under the dubious guise of scientific research,
defying the International Whaling Commission's ban on commercial
More than 20,000 small whales, dolphins and porpoises are also
killed in Japan's coastal waters each year.
Against a background of growing concern among Japanese consumers
about pollutant levels in whale meat, as well as falling prices and
growing stockpiles, we asked Tesco to consider the evidence.
According to Tesco, they took the decision to remove the whale
meat "due to a lack of customer demand".
But we need to know if whales eat fish!
Despite this lack of customer interest, Japan insists on whaling
in the name of government-supported "scientific research" and then
openly selling the meat commercially to keep the whale meat market
open. Recent times have called for desperate measures including
promoting the meat to schoolchildren. And just what is this
research that has taken 18 years and 6,000 dead minke whales? Japan
claims it is for the International Whaling Committee (IWC) - but
the IWC has said it does not need the data and has repeatedly asked
for the programme to be stopped.
Japan's "science" is highly illegal since the waters surrounding
the Antarctic were made into a whale sanctuary in 1994. Japanese
government officials have even said that they intend to renew the
hunt next year - without waiting for a scientific review of the
Recent surveys have found less than half the number of Antarctic
minke whales estimated in previous studies.
Greenpeace oceans campaigner Willie MacKenzie said: "The
Japanese government should stop calling for the resumption of
commercial whaling and should stop calling this expedition
"World-wide, whales face a huge range of threats to their
survival because of humanity; pollution, climate change and
entanglement in nets. Commercial hunting under the guise of science
is the one threat to whale populations that we can end
Find out more about Japanese whaling
the Iceland Whales pledge