Polar Bears Now Given an Icy Reception by Greenies By James Reed

     Would polar bears be tasty? Would polar bear steaks be tender and juicy, roasting away while one sat in an igloo, the icy winds raging outside? No doubt there are a few remaining indigenous people, inuits, who would know the answer to that question, but we shall never know. I mean polar bears are heading to extinction because of global warming, getting caught on the last remaining crusts of ice, and thus drowning trying to find something solid. Didn’t big Al Gore tell us that “inconvenient truth”? Think again fellow meat eaters:

“You probably won’t be seeing too many polar bears in the mainstream media anymore now that the climate brigade has decided to drop the furry arctic animal from its propaganda lineup. The reason, as we recently reported, has to do with the fact that, contrary to the prevailing climate narrative, polar bear numbers are increasing, not decreasing. In other words, despite the alleged pandemic of “global warming” and melting polar ice caps, polar bears are doing just fine – so well, in fact, that in some areas hunters are being encouraged to kill more of them in order to thin out their population numbers. Hilariously, The Guardian (U.K.) actually made a formal announcement about the removal of polar bears from its climate change propaganda, insisting that it’s more effective to use people rather than animals in conveying the “climate emergency.” After seeking advice from an organization called “Climate Visuals,” The Guardian‘s editors decided that continuing to feature polar bears, and apparently pandas, as “emblems” of climate change is imprudent, if not entirely inaccurate. “Often, when signalling environmental stories to our readers, selecting an image of a polar bear on melting ice has been the obvious – though not necessarily appropriate choice,” The Guardian reporter Fiona Shields writes. “These images tell a certain story about the climate crisis but can seem remote and abstract – a problem that is not a human one, nor one that is particularly urgent,” she goes on to explain.”


     No, even so, I have gone cold on my original idea of wanting to eat polar bear meat. It could be the last thing one ever ate:

“More serious is hypervitaminosis A, an excess of the vitamin that can be contracted from eating the liver of polar bears, seals and walrus. Affecting the central nervous system, it can cause hair loss, extreme peeling of the skin, birth defects, liver problems, vomiting, blurred vision and even death. One officer swore never again to eat bear liver, no matter how much it might tempt him, after his crew showed symptoms akin to carbon monoxide poisoning. Native peoples have long been aware of this danger, as have explorers, though some felt no worse after eating the liver. Research has shown that a healthy adult person can tolerate 10,000 units of vitamin A. Trouble, if it comes, comes between 25,000 and 33,000 units. One pound of polar bear liver — a fist-sized chunk and barely a meal — can contain 9 million units of vitamin A. The occasional lack of liver toxicity that some explorers reported can be explained by differences in the age, hibernation and feeding habits of the bear. Equally bad is trichinosis, a parasitic disease contracted by eating the raw or undercooked flesh of pigs or wild game, including bear. Symptoms can include fever, muscle pain and fatigue, as well as inflammation of the heart muscle, lungs or brain, which have led to a few deaths.

Native peoples avoided polar bear liver because of its vitamin A concentration, and, like explorers and whalers, fed it only to their dogs. Modern Inuit and Inupiat value the flavor nuances of different bears or parts of a bear. Some prefer den polar bears, instead of bears caught in the open, because they taste better. The Cree consider the front and back paws (tukiq) the best eating. For many Inupiat, polar bear meat remains a favorite meal and a prestigious gift. Nowadays, when a polar bear has been killed, a call goes out on a village radio channel, asking people to get some. The hunter normally keeps the skin, a trophy and commodity. The rest of a bear still is widely shared, a token of group identity and solidarity, a kind of Arctic communion. Unlike the whalers and explorers, who saw it as staple or last resort, indigenous peoples have always considered eating polar bear a reaffirmation of community as much as an act of physical nourishment.

Like the widespread idea that animal parts such as the blood, heart or testicles give power to those who ingest them, the human craving for novelty and the desire to understand the unknown by tasting it have shaped human culinary exploration from the beginning. It is not surprising that, in a world of potentially lethal pufferfish entrées and coffee ennobled in civet intestines, polar bear meat has found a place in fine dining. The Norwegian restaurateur André Grytbakk, manager of the upscale Huset in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, occasionally dishes out polar bear steaks with potatoes or a slice of roast in red wine sauce. He also offers a bear meat snack with lingonberry pickle. As it's "a rough kind of meat," the chef recommends a heavy wine with it, such as full-bodied Bordeaux, from the Huset's 1,200-bottle cave. The Radisson in Longyearbyen, which bills itself as the northernmost hotel in the world, even issues certificates to diners who have "eaten a (sic) polar bear entirely at their own risk." These certificates also serve as liability releases for the hotel. According to one guest, the bear meat there is boiled for six hours and fried another two, to kill parasites. Arctic gourmet cooking remains an exception, but holidays matter up north. On Alaska's Little Diomede Island, a stormy Bering Strait outcrop near the international date line, turkeys are hard to find. Undaunted by this, the islanders celebrate Thanksgiving by serving common local fare in the village school. Like many in Alaska, these Inupiat still largely depend on the sea's bounty — blue crab and bowhead whale, seal, walrus and polar bear, which they can legally hunt. Butchered properly, a polar bear yields up to 500 pounds of meat, enough food for dozens of guests.”

     Ok, drop that idea. I will just join Uncle Len in eating tinned dog meat; that will be safe won’t it?



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Monday, 19 April 2021
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