Dolphin Meat Obtained In Japan Drive Fisheries: Toxic to Humans

The brutal annual slaughter of dolphins at places like Taiji, Japan is not only an act of extreme cruelty to highly sentient animals. It is deceptive and harmful to the consumer of the meat derived from these kills.

Mercury levels in dolphin meat sold in Japan are far higher than would occur in nature and certainly higher than is allowed under the health standards of any developed nation. There are also high levels of cadmium and PCBs as well as chemicals of the dioxin group.

Tests reveal dolphin meat contains high levels of mercury and other heavy metals

Tests conducted by BlueVoice during the spring of 2008 on residents of the village of Taiji, Japan revealed that people who eat dolphin meat exhibit extremely high levels of mercury and other heavy metals. The Japanese Health Ministry¹s advised level of mercury in humans is 0.4ppm. The highest level in our tests revealed a mercury level of 18.9 ppm in a man who eats dolphin to this day. A doctor who specializes in mercury toxicity advised this individual be immediately hospitalized. A second dolphin-eating individual showed a mercury level of 13.74 ppm. In our sample three Taiji citizens indicated they had given up eating dolphin meat a year or more ago. They still had mercury levels in the range of 7.2 to 7.9 ppm.

In some cases the levels of mercury are 1,600 times the allowed quantities in meat for human consumption. The consumption of mercury in the quantities that exist in whale and dolphin meat can impair immune response and cause neurological damage leading to loss of coordination, vision, hearing and can produce mental retardation, especially in the young.

The fatty tissues of dolphins and whales contain extremely high levels of PCBs, chemicals associated with the "estrogen effect". In effect these chemicals mimic the female hormone estrogen and may cause a feminizing effect in those who consume this meat. In women this may lead to increases in breast cancer. In men it may lead to enlargement of breasts.

Studies leading to these conclusions have been conducted both by international teams of scientists and by Japanese scientists. A leading scientist at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido believes the concentrations of pollutants delivered in dolphin meat may "be enough to cause acute mercury poisoning" and that the products should be taken off the shelves immediately". Video of Dr. Endo, of the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido discussing mercury contamination in dolphins.

Discussing mercury contamination in dolphins

One tragic side effect of the ban on commercial whaling is that Japanese fishermen have increased their slaughter of dolphins many fold. A product labelled and sold as whale meat is often found to be dolphin meat if subject to molecular genetic analysis.

These findings were reported to the most recent meeting of the International Whaling Commission . The report stated "(Japanese) consumers are unwittingly consuming highly contaminated and potentially dangerous cetacean (whale and dolphin) products."

The concentrations of pollutants in whales and dolphins is not only sufficient to demand an immediate end to their consumption by humans - and thus their killing in the first place. It is also an indication of the ever increasing pollution of the oceans. It is a tragic irony that the argument that we not kill dolphins and whales includes the fact that we have contaminated the seas to such an extent that these creatures are dangerous to eat.