Japanese Government Covers Up Mercury Poisoning From Eating Dolphins

Tokyo, Japan – For many years, Taiji, Japan has been a target of international criticism due to its cruel mass capture and horrific slaughter of mercury-contaminated dolphins and pilot whales, both for human consumption and to supply captive marine mammal aquaria industry. Evidence presented in the Academy Award winning film The Cove, and  in University of Hokkaido Professor Tetsuya Endo’s study revealed that Taiji residents have 10 times higher mercury levels than other Japanese citizens. Despite the evidence, Japanese researchers with the National Institute for Minamata Disease (NIMD) claimed in a news conference this past Sunday, May 9th 2010 that there is no cause for alarm since they haven’t yet found any cases of neurological methylmercury toxicity.

In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization along with a network of concerned Japanese scientists, activists and animal protection organizations as part of the Suigin Iranai (“No More Mercury Poisoning”) Campaign, point out significant fundamental flaws in the NIMD conclusions presented to the public. First, infants and young children were not adequately tested for neural development disorders, learning disabilities or IQ impairments. Second, the NIMD researchers ignored recent, widely reported studies by Faroe Island researchers (http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/faroe605/interview_weihe.html) who found harmful impairments to children’s memory, language, visual-spatial abilities, and reaction times from consuming mercury-contaminated cetaceans (dolphins, porpoises and whales). The NIMD study included no such testing.

“Since many adult humans in the Taiji region are 50 to 100 times more mercury-toxic than banned fish, the risk to fetuses, infants and toddlers is inexcusable. It is unconscionable that the Japanese government states everything is fine and residents need not be concerned.” said Dr. Anand Ramanathan, executive director of IDA. “This government permits the horrific slaughter of entire pods of dolphins, porpoises and whales, and then encourages their citizens to eat the contaminated flesh. They should immediately ban the consumption of cetacean meat.” he added.

Denmark’s Faroe Islanders have eaten pilot whales for the 300 years. Government doctors now aggressively push for a total ban on eating these animals due to their increasing mercury and PCB toxicity. One of their recent advisory letters stated:

“The growing scientific documentation has … given rise to the anticipation that the time was approaching when it would be appropriate to recommend against human consumption of pilot whale meat and blubber. From the latest research results … the conclusion from a human health perspective must be as follows: It is recommended that Pilot Whale is no longer used for human consumption.”

In Defense of Animals, who has been a founding member of the Save Japan Dolphin Campaign upon which The Cove movie is based, demands that Japan protect the lives of their own people and ban the hunting of and consumption of cetaceans immediately.

For more information, visit: www.idausa.org.


May 11, 2010

Contact:  Anand Ramanathan, Executive Director, (508) 364-6802, anand@idausa.org

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals' rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India, Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi. _________________________________________________________________________________

IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048

14 Comments on “Japanese Government Covers Up Mercury Poisoning From Eating Dolphins”

  • Lori Marino wrote on 11 May, 2010, 13:30

    It is indeed inexcusable to endanger the lives of innocent people in Japan through the eating of dolphin meat. Moreover, the Japanese dolphin drive hunts are a tragic example of how both people and other animals, in this case dolphins, can suffer similar fates. Both are exploited by the Japanese drive fisheries industry. Dolphins and people, in this case, are on the same side of the issue. The common enemy is the industry that exploits them. In addition to the drive fisheries there is another exploiter in the equation, that is, the captive dolphin industry. The captivity industry continues to provide financial support to the Japanese dolphin hunters in order to obtain animals for their theme parks and shows, which are, in turn, kept alive by the public. So there is a strong link between public visits to dolphin theme parks and the mass slaughter of dolphins in Japan and, indirectly, the poisoning of human beings. The point is that both the human and the dolphin abuse can be stopped by ending our support for the captive marine mammal industry. If you care about dolphins or if you care about people or both – there is every reason to end these drives.
    Thank you!

  • nora coyle wrote on 13 May, 2010, 15:05

    We have to stop polluting our planet, the oceans, and all it’s living creatures. All countries should be able to get together to agree on this issue. It is not debatable. It’s deplorable.

  • Diana Dick wrote on 13 May, 2010, 16:32

    There are no excuses, no reasons to continue this mass slaughter…, I´m agree with Nora Coyle, it´s not debatable…it´s a lot of harm, cruel, sadist…Only fisheries industries and government can “explain” this for not end this drives…only ambition. I´ll never can undestand this. But not because I´m stupid, I´m Systems Engineer, I work for justice in Argentine, I was university professor…Just I love and care the life of all creatures in this planet and this slaughter makes me cry…Never I will undestand

  • Linda Tipton wrote on 13 May, 2010, 16:35

    I am praying to God for a miracle to stop the carnage of dolphins at the infamous Cove in Japan where every September the dolphins are lured in, slaughtered unmercifully, and sold as tainted meat with high levels of mercury. Their fate is in the hands of a few fishermen, how can they not be stopped?!

  • Merryl Goldman wrote on 13 May, 2010, 18:00

    Why is it, that the liberals get blamed for everything? If we condemn the Right for denying Climate Change,we are called stupid and un- american. If we support the end of Crush Videos we are condemned by people who think we are taking away freedom of speech. What about the animal’s rights? Just because a man needs to see a helpless animal being tortured to get a hard-on…the Supreme court suports that. Well, what about child porn?
    Stupid people say stupid things and maybe they should, shut their mouths and open their minds!

  • Joy wrote on 14 May, 2010, 5:46

    What goes around comes around.. Talk about justice..The japanese have been slaughtering dolphins(easily one of the most intelligent animals on earth or in the water) supposedly in the name of scientific research..Hurray for the dolphins!!!!!

  • evie wrote on 14 May, 2010, 6:38

    Whenever we get sick and get tired of pharmaceutical drugs, that do nothing but more harm, we turn to holistic medicine. We turn to the earth to help us, we run to natural markets to be saved, but yet we do so much harm to this earth in return. This earth supplies us with nurturing food, oxygen and water. We are determined to destroy it, poison it, and in the end we will all be extinguised from this planet. If aliens from other planets exist and decide to have a short stay on the earth, they would run for their lives and go back home.

  • Lisa wrote on 10 June, 2010, 12:21

    @evie “This earth supplies us with nurturing food, oxygen and water.”

    It also (the Earth) supplies us with Ebola, Smallpox and Aids. What is your point? Not everything “natural” or “organic” is good. An education and the ability to critically analyze information is essential to making a coherent argument. Wrap your brain around this simple concept…in order for us to live, something must die (or change it’s form). That is a fact. Facts help us to understand the reality of our existence.

  • Debbie B wrote on 10 November, 2012, 23:03

    Please help expose the Taiji, Japan slaughterings of Dolphins and Whales. This tragedy has to stop. It’s so wrong to treat Cetaceans this way, they are surely our brothers and sisters of the oceans. By exposing their actions you are educating more people about the TAIJI JAPAN crimes against many, many innocent Cetaceans. Thank you. Sincerely, Debbie B.

  • jeanpublic wrote on 19 January, 2013, 13:03

    mercury is in all fish to some degree – from power plants too. from burning coal. mercury is also in vaccines.

  • Anonymous wrote on 4 April, 2013, 3:23

    you suck japan

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  • holistic medicine wrote on 15 January, 2014, 21:45

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  • diana wrote on 15 January, 2015, 11:10

    This comment rebuts Lisa’s comment, you really think Ebola is a natural earthly cause? How many diseases have we not caused, Ebola did not exist years ago, I’m pretty sure we caused it, we also caused aids not the earth and smallpox is still unknown to how it was caused. And how many animals haven’t we killed maybe there’s a reason why were getting so many diseases.

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