The dog died too
Fish farming foe Kurt Willy Oddekalv, 63, on January 11, 2020 died from drowning and hypothermia suffered in attempting to rescue his daughter’s dog Kompis, who had fallen through ice on a lake near their home in Kalandseidet, Bergen, Norway.
The dog Kompis was found dead nearby.
As a sergeant in the Norwegian Army, Oddekalv might have made a politically influential friend, but did not, when future Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg was assigned to his company.
Following his discharge from the military, Oddekalv made few friends anywhere in Norway, hosting the world’s eighth largest aquaculture industry, with his aggressive opposition to fish farming. The annual convention of the Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature ousted Oddekalv from membership in 1993.
Green Warriors of Norway
Oddekalv responded by founding Green Warriors of Norway, a much smaller and more militant environmental organization that he headed until his death.
Recalled Nina Berglund for the Norwegian news website News in English, “Oddekalv advocated radical means of getting his environmental message across. In 2006, for example, he led a group of activists in boarding a barge that intended to take toxic material on the floor of the Oslo Fjord to a controversial depot at Malmøy. He fought against the huge turbines that he believed scarred natural landscapes and threatened birds in an effort to generate wind power. He held so-called ‘summer camps’ for political leaders whom he would lecture on environmental issues, and was not known for being willing to compromise.”
Hunter & survivalist
The Green Warriors of Norway, despite Oddekalv’s militancy against fish farming, could scarcely have been confused with an animal rights organization. Oddekalv himself was an enthusiastic hunter, bowhunter, and fisher, whose log house was stuffed with taxidermic mounts of elk, bears, and other species.
A “back-to-the-earther” and survivalist in the “Teutonic Naturist” tradition, who for the most part rejected technological civilization, Oddekalv often posted Facebook photos of animals he had killed and of meat he was drying on his porch.
At least one Facebook photo showed Oddekalv driving a horse-drawn cart; the hooves of the horse pulling the cart were cracked. An older photo showed Oddekalv in a fur hood he may have made himself.
Opposed WWF Aquaculture Stewardship Council
The Green Warriors of Norway did, however, make common cause occasionally with animal rights organizations. The Green Warriors of Norway were in May 2009 among 70 animal advocacy, human rights and environmental organizations worldwide that protested against the formation of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council by the World Wildlife Fund.
In the dozen years since then, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council has—as Oddekalv anticipated––amounted to little more than greenwashing for the fish farming industry, eventually dismissed as useless by John F. Robins of Animal Concern Scotland after it failed to effectively oppose shooting seals to protect salmon pens at Norwegian-owned salmon farms along the Scottish coast.
Recalled Vince McDonagh for Fish Farmer Magazine, “Sometimes using TV interviews abroad, Oddekalv fiercely criticized the use of certain chemicals to tackle salmon lice and demanded that all fish farms should be enclosed and built on land. Just a week or two before his death he went on Russian TV to take a swipe at the industry, describing it as ‘toxic.’
“In 2011,” McDonagh wrote, “he deposited a foul-smelling sludge around the conference centre in Trondheim during the big industry trade fair Aqua Nor. The stench spread throughout the entire building. Oddekalv later threatened to adopt the same tactics against the Storting, Norway’s parliament, if it did not take action.”
Oddekalv in April 2018 alleged that that salmon farming had spread sea lice and infectious salmon anemia virus all across Norway, while consumers remained unaware of the problems and diseased fish continued to be sold.
His allegation was controversially amplified by osteopath and anti-vaxxer Joseph Mercola, 67, of Schaumburg, Illinois. Mercola’s claims made in support of his dietary supplement business have been extensively criticized for decades by the medical, scientific, regulatory, and consumer advocacy communities.
“A number of dangerous pesticides are used [in aquaculture] in an effort to stave off disease-causing pests, one of which is known to have neurotoxic effects,” summarized Mercola.
“Fish has always been considered a health food,” Mercola continued, “but according to Oddekalv, today’s farmed salmon is one of the most toxic foods in the world!”
“Toxicology researcher Jerome Ruzzin has confirmed Oddekalv’s claims,” Mercola added. “He tested a number of different food groups sold in Norway for toxins, and indeed, farmed salmon contains the greatest amount of toxins of them all, and by an incredibly large margin.
“Overall,” Mercola asserted, “farmed salmon is five times more toxic than any other food product tested.”
The Mercola endorsement tended to undercut Oddekalv’s scientific credibility just as recognition of the ecological hazards of fish farming gained global momentum.
But Oddekalv had already significantly damaged his own credibility with a 2015 endorsement of the “chemtrails” conspiracy theory, which is based on widespread misunderstanding of the normal behavior of the vapor trails left behind by high-flying jet aircraft.
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