With over 2,000 delegates attending the 12-day CITES Conference (Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in Bangkok, Thailand this week, worldwide attention is centered on violations surrounding the sale of products made from threatened species.
The latest big company to come under pressure in none other than Google – accused by a conservation group of allowing ads that promote products made from elephants and whales.
On February 22nd, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) wrote to Google CEO Larry Page requesting the removal of over 1,400 ads that promote whale products and as many as 10,000 ads that promote elephant ivory products on Google Japan’s Shopping site.
“Google has laudable policies that prohibit the promotion of endangered wildlife products including whale, dolphin and elephant ivory, but sadly these are not being enforced and that’s devastating for whales and elephants,” said EIA President Allan Thornton. “While elephants are being mass slaughtered across Africa to produce ivory trinkets, it is shocking to discover that Google, with the massive resources it has at its disposal, is failing to enforce its own policies designed to help protect endangered elephants and whales.”
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According to the group, Japan is one of the largest consumers of elephant ivory – a black market that kills an estimated 35,000 African elephants every year.
Clare Perry, head of EIA’s Cetaceans Campaign, said: “Google Japan Shopping is promoting the sale of a huge variety of products from threatened and endangered whale species. These range from endangered fin whales killed in Iceland to products taken from animals killed off Taiji, where the infamous dolphin kills featured in the Oscar-winning film The Covetake place. Google must immediately eliminate all such trade.”
To date, Google has yet to respond to the letter sent by EIA or remove any of the offending ads. The company’s ad policies state that Google “doesn’t allow the promotion of products obtained from endangered or threatened species,” including elephant tusks, rhino horns and products made from whales, sharks and dolphins.
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