Vanessa Williams-Grey, anti-whaling campaigner at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, has criticized Icelandic brewery Steðji for producing a beer made with fin whale testicles smoked with dried sheep dung.
“This is a calculated move, not only to dishonour a beautiful and endangered creature by using its most intimate of body parts as a marketing tool, but also sends a clear ‘two fingers’ to the conservation community and those who love and respect whales,“ Williams-Grey said.
Fin whales are listed as endangered on the Red List but Steðji owner Dagbjartur Árilíusson told the Guardian that research shows that the species is not at risk in the North Atlantic. “We live in a country that allows whaling and the whaling is very well controlled by the Icelandic authorities, but fisheries here are self sustainable and very responsible.”
Williams-Grey, however, has urged visitors to Iceland to boycott the product. “Right-minded people would no sooner drink beer brewed with whale testicles than they would order similar drinks made with tiger, elephant or rhino testicles and our hope, of course, is that visitors to Iceland will treat this latest offering with the disdain it deserves.”
The seasonal beer is being launched for the traditional Þorrablót mid-winter festival at the beginning of the old Icelandic month of Þorri. Last year, the company launched a beer containing whale meat.
Dagbjartur points out that in the past Icelanders made use of all possible ingredients. Þorri food includes rams’ testicles and rotten shark and the beer uses ingredients “in the style of Þorri,” he explained.