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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whales are targeted by Icelandic whalers

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) Gulf of California. The tail of a sperm whale.

To protect whales, we must stop ignoring the high seas

Almost two-thirds of the ocean, or 95% of the habitable space on Earth, are sloshing...
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...

‘Whale beer’ brewery boss gets the point

I was interviewed yesterday by international radio station, Monocle, [51.00-56.00] on the subject of ‘whale beer’, a topic which has triggered considerable media and public debate over the past 48 hours!  Interviewed alongside me was Dabjartur Arilíusson, owner of the Steðjar micro-brewery, which is collaborating with fin whalers, Hvalur, to produce a limited edition beer available only during the Icelandic mid-winter festival of Þorrablót (Thorrablot).

Dabjartur seemed taken aback by the huge international media and public interest in his product which he regarded simply  as a novelty drink to wash down the hearty foods traditionally consumed at Thorrablot. I commented that, given that there is only the equivalent of a pinch of whale meal per pint, it is more the principle of the matter – and the appalling arrogance of the whalers – to seek to reduce a beautiful, sentient and endangered whale to a mere ingredient on the side of a beer bottle.  

I had been expecting a robust defence of his position, but to his credit, Dabjartur readily agreed, saying that he both understood and accepted the concerns of both WDC and the wider public and realised that using even a small amount of whale by-products in his beer still constituted using whale. He admitted that the beer had been a ‘bold experiment’ but conceded that it was one that was unlikely to be repeated.

Time now surely to ‘call time’ on whale beer.