In the past week, Barcelona football club signed a new $235.4 million deal with Rakuten, the largest online retailer of whale meat, dolphin meat and ivory. It meant Barecelona gave up their long-standing deal with Qatar Airways to instead switch to Rakuten.
They will now be their shirt sponsor for the next four years, with this being one of the biggest sponsorship deals in the sport.
They’ve now come under a large amount of criticism after penning the deal with the Asian-founded business.
Rakuten is Japans take on an alternative to Amazon, offering a wide variety of products and being available in an increasing number of countries. However, over recent years they have been inundated with criticism over the ivory and endangered species’ meat that can be found in their marketplace.
Back in 2014, Rakuten vowed to remove whale meat from their website however, the meat is still readily available to purchase.
During 2014, conservation groups found that Rakuten’s website carried 28,000 adverts for elephant ivory and 1,200 for whale products. Little has changed over the past 2 years with some figures suggesting these numbers have actually increased.
Not only are they supporting the murder of an endangered species, Rakuten are also selling meat contaminated to a dangerously high level.
“Campaigners said tests had revealed that some cetacean products advertised by Rakuten contained high levels of mercury.
Eight out of nine whale products the groups ordered through the site last year exceeded the Japanese national limit for total mercury concentration of 0.4 parts per million (ppm). One sample of pilot whale had a mercury concentration of 9.5ppm, more than 20 times higher than the Japanese regulatory limit. The average mercury level of the nine products was 4.2ppm, more than 10 times higher than the regulatory limit.”
Around 80% of tusks sold in Japan are used to make seals that are commonly used to sign documents. Worth a beautiful animals life? I think not.
Conservationists, vegans, campaigners, animal rights activists and anyone with a heart are now urging Barcelona to push Rakuten to remove these products from their site once and for all.
The real problem is that Barcelona are going to be representing and heavily promoting a brand which contributes to so much environmental damage.
Through selling highly endangered species, they’re simply increasing demand for poachers to hunt and kill more of these animals. Not needed when their numbers are decreasing at a faster rate every year. Not needed, ever.
But hey, fuck the environment, money talks right?