Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Anger at whale in 'Viking' beer

Conservationists have criticised the sale in Iceland of a beer which its makers claim contains dead whale.

Conservationists have criticised the sale in Iceland of a beer which its makers claim contains dead whale.

Icelandic brewery Steojar has teamed up with whaling company Hvalur to launch the beer, which is said to contain whale meal.

The 5.2% beer, produced in time for the Icelandic mid-winter festival, is described by the brewery as healthy because whale meal is full of protein and is very low fat, while the drink has no added sugar.

The brewery's website claims people who drink it become "true Vikings".

But environmental group Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) criticised the latest use of whale meat in products, following earlier concerns that endangered fin whales were ending up in dog food.

The conservation group's Icelandic whaling campaign leader Vanessa Williams-Grey said: " Demand for this meat is in decline, with fewer and fewer people eating it.

"Even so, reducing a beautiful, sentient whale to an ingredient on the side of a beer bottle is about as immoral and outrageous as it is possible to get.

"The brewery may claim that this is just a novelty product with a short shelf life, but what price the life of an endangered whale which might have lived to be 90 years?"

Dagbjartur Ariliusson, the brewery's owner, confirmed it was making the beer, which will only be sold in Iceland during the midwinter month from January 24 to February 22, and is not being made for export.

He said the beer was being made for a traditional festival in which people gathered and celebrated " as we've done for many centuries and eat cured food, including whale fat, and now we have the beer to drink with this food".

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