A report by the Environmental Investigation Agency and Humane Society International has exposed Japanese retail giant Rakuten as the world’s biggest online marketplace for elephant ivory and whale meat products.
The report “Blood e-Commerce: Rakuten’s profits from the slaughter of elephants and whales” –reveals that the company’s Japanese website carries more than 28,000 ads for elephant ivory products and some 1,200 whale meat products ads.
EIA President Allan Thornton said: “Rakuten’s ads are effectively as deadly as giving bullets to elephant poachers and harpoons to whalers. Rakuten must act immediately to ban all ads selling elephant and whale products or its global brand will be irrevocably tainted with the ongoing mass slaughter of these species.”
The report stated “Many of the whale products originated from species that have been protected since 1986 under the moratorium on commercial whaling established by the International Whaling Commission, The species receive the highest level of protection by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which prohibits international trade.”
“We call on Rakuten subsidiaries in the U.S., UK, Canada, France, Germany, Austria and elsewhere to urgently press Rakuten headquarters in Japan to ban all ads offering ivory and whale products,” said Kitty Block, vice-president of HSI.
Ratuken has major stakes in the websites Buy.com, Play.com, the e-book reader Kobo and is a major shareholder in Pinterest.