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

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Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

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Did Politics trump human safety in Iceland?

WhalbeerOur colleague Vanessa wrote some months ago that it was highly suspicious that the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries has overidden health officials to allow the sale of whale beer in Iceland.

It now appears that after some eight months after the supplies of the beer ran out, the Ministry of Industries and Innovation has ruled that the sale of whale beer should be banned.

The Reykjavík Grapevive is reporting that the whale beer should have been stopped’. 

RÚV reports that the Ministry has ruled that it was right for the West Iceland Health Supervisory Authority to place a ban on the beer, which counted amongst its ingredients traces of “whale meal” – powdered whale parts made mostly from bone. In the Ministry’s opinion, whale hunting company Hvalur hf. did not have the legal authority to sell whale meal to brewery Steðji.’

So, WDC is asking, why did Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson override the West Iceland Supervisory Authority? Why did the Ministry put the interests of a small goup of people who benefit from whaling over the interests of all Icelanders and visitors?

The Fisheries Ministry maintains that it was safe to sell the beer, but one is left asking the question of whether the loyalty of the Fisheries Ministry to a minority with commercial interests is more important  than the views of the Icelandic health authorities?