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WHALE

Pippa Middleton slammed for whale meal

The socialite sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, the likely future Queen of England, has been criticised by animal rights groups after dining on “smoked whale carpaccio” while on a freebie press trip to Norway.

Pippa Middleton slammed for whale meal
Pippa Middleton at the wedding of Lady Melissa Percy in 2013. Photo: MatthewSlack/Wikimedia Commons
Pippa Middleton, 31, consumed the controversial starter while staying in a “designer pod” at the 1,950 kroner a night Juvet Landscape Hotel on Norway’s River Valdolla. 
 
“We dined on smoked whale carpaccio (which tastes similar to smoked salmon but looks more like venison carpaccio),” she wrote in a feature article published in the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.  
 
The dish was cooked for her personally by hotel owner Knut Slinning, in what she described as “a wonderfully convivial atmosphere”. 
 
Siri Martinsen, the head of Norwegian animal rights group NOAH, accused Middleton of failing to live up to her responsibilities as a public figure.  
 
“Being a well-known celebrity, she has  special responsibility to make sure she doesn’t support animal cruelty, so it’s a bit sad that she hasn’t taken the animal welfare consequences into consideration.”
 
 
She pointed out that the declining appetite for whale meat among Norwegians meant that the whaling industry was increasingly marketing its product to tourists. 
 
“It would be a pity if this was seen as a sort of 'exotic meat'. About 20 percent of the whales die quite a slow death, so there's a good chance that the whale you are eating has suffered substantially. I would encourage any tourist going to Norway to avoid supporting activities which are cruel for animals.” 
 
Middleton first came to the British media's attention at the wedding of her sister Kate to Prince William, the second in line to the British throne. She has since worked as a public relations consultant, columnist and journalist. 
 
Norway broke the international moratorium on commercial whaling in 1993, and last year caught 729 whales, the highest number since it began the slaughter.
 
 
In her trip Pippa Middleton began in the port of Ålesund, taking a boat to the Sunnmore Alps, where she spent several days Nordic skiing.
 
“Nothing beats a Scandi breakfast,” she exclaims in the article, praising the “healthy mixture of rollmop herrings, delicious smoked salmon, rye bread, cucumber with eggs, and a fresh coffee .” 
 
During her ski tour, she knocks back Aquavit and when she gets back to Alesund, she dons a fisherman’s onesie and catches a large flabby cod. 
 
Prince William visited Norway in 2004 while on a geography field trip from St Andrew's, the Scottish university where he met Kate. 

POLLUTION

Plastic-free effort at royal residence failed: Crown Princess

Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit has said that she failed in an experiment to cut out the use of plastic at the royal residence at Skaugum near Oslo.

Plastic-free effort at royal residence failed: Crown Princess
Crown Princess Mette-Marit. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

The Crown Princess says that she and other members of the royal family remain concerned over plastics pollution, reports broadcaster NRK.

“I made an effort to make Skaugum plastic free last year, and it didn’t go so well. I think it was incredibly difficult. It was an experiment to see how normal consumers can avoid using plastics,” Crown Princess Mette-Marit told NRK.

Known for her interest in the environment, the Crown Princess and other royals have previously been involved in initiatives to removed litter from beaches in Norway.

“The experiment inspired me to think about when plastic is a necessary product, and when it actually is not. We are in no way perfect, but I think that it is important to try and reduce the use of plastic in any case,” she said.

Plastic packaging with food and electronics products was the most difficult to avoid, according to the princess.

In interviews recorded by NRK with senior members of Norway’s royal family, King Harald described as a “wake-up call” the sight near Bergen earlier this year of a whale that had become ill after ingesting plastic.

After being forced to put down the whale, researchers found 30 plastic bags and large amounts of microplastics in the animal’s stomach.

Environmental organisation Grid has estimated that around 350 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually worldwide, with drastic increases forecast in the coming years.

15 tonnes are estimated to be dumped into the sea every minute, writes NRK.

Marine biologist Per-Erik Schulze of the Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature (Naturvernforbundet) told the broadcaster that the issue was critical.

“Every single minute an amount equivalent to several waste disposal trucks full of plastic goes into the sea. We can observe that it is building up and is not broken down. That cannot continue,” Schulze said.

“Several researchers say that plastic is a type of environmental pollutant. An environmental pollutant is defined as something that is persistent and difficult to break down. It is then ingested by organisms and causes harm in various ways,” he continued. 

READ ALSO: Four out of five Norwegian mussels contain plastic: report