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article imageMove Over Ektorp; IKEA Has A New Design and it is Causing Quite a Rooftop Clatter

By Nikki Weingartner     Dec 4, 2008 in Food
Sweden has a host of holiday food traditions, including reindeer meat. IKEA, the Swedish based furniture icon, is now under fire by a group of British vegans for taking those traditions to market.
It is Christmas in Sweden and that means a long line of celebratory traditions such as the upcoming Saint Lucia ceremony involving the daughters in the family and a crown of candles all in remembrance of Lucia who was a Christian virgin martyred for her beliefs. Along with the spiritual aspects of the holiday season, food in Sweden takes its roots from the local terrain and items like pigs feet and dried codfish are among the buffet items found. IKEA, Sweden's famed furniture store turned worldly has been a huge part in taking those traditions to other countries as well. But recently, one country, or at least its activists aren't so happy with the spreading of the holiday cheer Swede style.
A group called Viva! is taking to arms against a Scandinavian tradition of reindeer meat by protesting IKEA's sale of reindeer salami. According to The Independent:
Ikea has been accused of condoning cruelty to animals by selling salami made from Santa's four-legged sleigh-pullers, reindeer.
The vegan group has numerous campaigns against the products sitting on typical grocery shelves such as chicken, dairy, pork like bacon, chops and sausage, as well as more holiday traditional fare such as duck. Their mission?
Stop eating meat and fish today - and, give up dairy products. Any step you take is important, and you can immediately begin to remove yourself from the cycle of exploitation and destruction.
The cud chewing group will not be celebrating IKEA's reindeer sausage because the group claims that the Swedish reindeer are killed before they ever get to see snow and that that the modern methods of herding them are mentally distressing based upon a Swedish university paper:
Claes Rehbinder and Jann Hau, of the Department of Neuroscience, wrote: "The increasing stress associated with herding, corralling, and physical restraint of less and less tame animals results in lesions and elevated blood cortisol concentrations."
The Bristol, UK based organization is "calling on the company to withdraw sales of the meat, due to the cruel exploitation these wild animals suffer at the hands of hunters," calling such an action an "example of goodwill" towards an industry that supports animal cruelty. Their endeavors have been successful with "exotic meats" such as kangaroo.
IKEA, who has 17 stores in the UK, has denied the allegations and states that works at meeting "animal welfare standards" and that suppliers are held to the same standards of transport under Swedish law as with domestic animals. They also explained in a statement that modern equipment was necessary due to the large area for herding the animals and to keep them safe from predators.
As for the inflammatory per cent that Viva! made regarding the herding of calves, the IKEA statement explained that it was a "national average" that was not specific to the furniture store.
In the UK, a lamb remains a very popular source of meat used for Sunday dinners and in dishes like Hot Pot. Pork, beef and mutton (goat) continue to provide a source of protein for Britons during the holidays season with treats such as Bubble and Squeak, Sheppard's Pie and Steak and Kidney Pie.
In the United States, Deer Season attracts hunters from every state, and the winning buck often serves a processor's dream with venison sausage being a mainstay. A stick of reindeer salami sells for £1.75 and is also served in the IKEA Swedish food hall alongside meatballs, almond cake and rye bread. For those opting for the pre-sliced version, it runs about £2.25 for 100g.
IKEA was founded on the innovative business ideas of a five-year-old named Ingvar Kamprad back in 1920 and originally included selling Christmas cards.
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