Anger at Japan's vending machines for whale meat

Anger at Japan's vending machines for whale meat

Anger at Japan’s vending machines for whale meat as critics fear they could fuel expansion of controversial industry

  • A Japanese firm opened its first whale meat stores at two locations in Tokyo
  • Animal rights campaigners have labelled the machines a ‘cynical sales ploy’
  • In 2020, the Japanese government spent £31m to prop up the whaling industry 

A Japanese whaling company has provoked a wave of criticism from animal rights activists over the installation of vending machines selling whale meat.

Kyodo Senpaku opened its first kujira (whale meat) stores at two locations in Tokyo this month following trials last year. 

Prices range from 1,000 (£6) to 3,000 yen (£19).

The move has been slated by animal rights campaigners, who labelled it a ‘cynical sales ploy’.

A Japanese whaling company has provoked a wave of criticism from animal rights activists over the installation of vending machines selling whale meat

Astrid Fuchs, of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said in a statement: ‘This latest cynical sales ploy comes at a time when the fisheries agency in Japan is aiming to expand the nation’s whale-catch quotas – and possibly increase the list of species that can be killed.’

Consumption of whale meat has declined since the 1960s as more traditional livestock – including pork, chicken and beef – has become more affordable.

Kyodo Senpaku opened its first kujira (whale meat) stores at two locations in Tokyo this month following trials last year.

Japanese customers ate 233,000 tonnes of whale meat in 1962, according to the country’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries ministry.

In 2021 the Japanese consumed just 1,000 tonnes of whale meat.

The vending machines have been introduced as part of a drive to encourage the Japanese public to eat more whale meat.

Kyodo Senpaku spokesman, Konomu Kubo, said: ‘Sales have outstripped our expectations, even though the products aren’t exactly cheap,.

In 2014, the international court of justice ordered Japan halt its annual slaughter of about 900 whales in the Southern Ocean

The IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, but Japan has been permitted to catch whales in the Southern Ocean every winter

‘Some of the items have sold out.’

In 2020 the Japanese government reportedly provided 5bn yen (£31m) in subsidies to prop up the whaling industry.

In 2014, the international court of justice ordered Japan halt its annual slaughter of about 900 whales in the Southern Ocean.

Japan had claimed the hunts were carried out for scientific research.

Japan later pulled out of the International Whaling Commission and announced it would end hunts, but resume commercial whaling in its coastal waters.

The IWC imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, but Japan has been permitted to catch whales in the Southern Ocean every winter.

The Japanese government set a quota of 379 whales across three species, this year.

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