Cruelty issues set aside, dolphin meat from drive hunts in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, prove to be highly contaminated with toxic chemicals such as mercury, methyl mercury and PCBs. Repeated chemical analyses have shown that the level of mercury in dolphin meat is much higher than the maximum allowable level set by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan and the World Health Organization. However, Japanese law exempts seafood, including dolphin meat, from the mercury levels limited for health reasons in other foods. The contamination of dolphin meat by mercury in Japan has been documented time and time again, by Earth Island, other nongovernmental organizations, and by Japanese scientists. There is worldwide concern that mercury accumulated in the human body poses a serious health risk, especially to pregnant women and children, leading to brain and nerve damage. The contaminated dolphin meat in Japanese markets does not have a warning label. Check out this Mercury page for more information.
*Photo from theguardian.com by Everett Kennedy Brown/epa/Corb