Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Iceland: Whale Meal Beer Ban Lifted

(Jan. 29, 2014) Iceland had temporarily banned the production and sale of beer made with whale bone meal. The West Iceland Public Health Authority had halted production, citing food production regulations; a complete, national prohibition was imposed on January 20, 2014. The companies that planned to make the beer, the brewery Steðji and the whaling company Hvalur, were found not to have the needed permits to produce whale meal for consumption in food. However, once the companies appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the decision was reversed. (Whale Beer Ban Pleases Environmentalists, ICE NEWS (Jan. 25, 2014); Whale Beer Production Halted, ICELAND REVIEW ONLINE (Jan. 14, 2014).)

The news of the ban had been welcomed by environmental groups, which had considered the planned beer a first step in opening new markets for whale-based products. According to Danny Groves of Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), whalers have been looking for new outlets because demand for whale products has declined in Iceland and Japan. WDC is an independent organization devoted to the protection of whales and dolphins. (Whale Beer Ban Pleases Environmentalists, supra; About Us, WDC website (last visited Jan. 27, 2014).)

Another WDC spokesperson, Vanessa Williams-Grey, expressed the organization’s disapproval of the beer plan, saying that “[r]educing 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.” (Whale Beer Production Halted, supra.)