The story, which was first reported on April 2, 2023 by The Mainichi – a major Japanese paper – was quickly picked up and covered by mainstream western media such as the BBC, The Guardian Sky News, Insider, etc.
The machine, installed in Tazawako Station by the local restaurant Soba Goro on November 20, 2022 in an effort to make bear-meat a souvenir, reportedly sells between 10 and 15 packs per week.
The comes just months after animal rights campaigners expressed outrage at Japanese whaling company Kyodo Senpaku for selling whale meat in vending machines to “boost consumption”.
BBC reported the Japanese government limits bear hunting to 15% of its population. But it’s estimated that more bears die each year, as parts of bears and bile are sold on the black-market for high prices.
Around 10,000 to 15,000 bears still live in Japan. Because of habitat destruction, overhunting and poaching, the subspecies are at a high risk of extinction, with experts predicting that they “will likely be gone within the next 100 years”.
The Vegan Review published the article Bear Meat Vending Machine Celebrated, Despite High Extinction Risk.