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Japanese company stops sales of pet treats made from endangered whales

A Japanese company has stopped selling petfood made from endangered Icelandic fin whales after a campaign by conservation groups.

Michinoku Farm was previously advertising jerky-like treats for dogs made from the endangered whales imported from Iceland. However, the company removed the product from its website after protests from four groups, including UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency and US-based Animal Welfare Institute.

Michinoku Farm president, Takuma Konno, said the company pulled the treats, despite being legal to sell in Japan. "Dogs are like family members for many people in Japan. We just wanted to sell a wide variety of food for dogs," he said. "Campaigners look at whales as important animals, but we consider dogs to be just as important. Maybe I was ignorant of the debate over whaling, but it's not worth selling the product if it risks angering some people."

Susan Milward, executive director of the Animal Welfare Institute, said, "We are extremely pleased to see Michinoku Farm respond in such a progressive, compassionate and prompt manner, and we would strongly urge all other businesses to follow suit and end such sales."

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