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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2010
Contact: Anand Ramanathan, Executive Director, (508) 364-6802, firstname.lastname@example.org
IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048
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