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Image from one of the WDC Risso's dolphin research catalogues

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Endangered whales sold as dogs snacks

WDC, together with partner organisations the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), and the Japanese based Ikura & Kujira Network (IKAN), expressed alarm at the discovery that meat from endangered North Atlantic fin whales killed by the Icelandic whaling company Hvalur hf is being used by the Japanese pet food company Michinoku Farms to produce dog snacks.

Icelandic fin whale has been sold in Japan for human consumption since 2008, but its use in pet food suggests that new markets are being explored. As Iceland prepares to hunt over 180 fin whales in 2013 for this export market, WDC questions the environmental and economic logic of using meat from an endangered species for the manufacture of dog treats.

Chris Butler-Stroud, WDC chief executive said: “Sadly, this discovery does not surprise us. Turning beautiful and endangered fin whales into pet treats is utterly repugnant to right-minded people, yet this sort of callous disregard for an intelligent species is no more than we have come to expect from Kristjan Loftsson, a man prepared to turn whales into pretty much anything as long as it turns a profit.”

Michinoku Farms is a Japanese pet food company based in Iwate Prefecture. In addition to traditional pet food products, the company offers a wide variety of “exotic” pet foods, everything from Australian kangaroo meat to Mongolian horse meat.  Evidence that the company has also been selling dried dog food jerky “treats” made from Icelandic fin whale meat was recently found on its website.