Stockholm : An Austrian-born hotel operator based in northern Sweden is cashing in on the efforts of some Asian men to remain virile by selling antlers from moose, reindeer and other deer species.
“I sell the antlers whole, I just saw them up,” Helmut Haidic said.
Haidic’s hotel offers hunting and fishing tours in Fredrika, 100 km west of the coastal city Umea that is located some 660 km north of Stockholm.
But to make ends meet, he has for the past 10 years also bought antlers wholesale that are used as an aphrodisiac in Asia.
The 55-year-old, who hails from Graz, said he then saws up the antlers and packages them in a container. Moose antlers fetch about 40 to 45 kronor per kg (about $6) while reindeer antlers go for roughly half that amount.
Antlers from roe deer and fallow deer are also used. Now and again Haidic travels around the country to collect antlers from breeders and hunters. He advertises in various journals and has a regular group of suppliers.
A retailer based in Germany, whom he did not want to identify, buys the antlers that are later sold to the Asian market. In Asia, the antlers are ground into powder that is used to make pills, sometimes marketed as “Swedish viagra”.
Haidic said the buyers of the antlers wanted to see the antlers.
“They want to know what the powder consists of,” he said, noting that the final product sells for hundreds of dollars per kg, but many hands are involved in the process.
Some years ago, a Swedish man who tried his luck in the business made the mistake of grinding the antlers he bought into powder in Sweden – and is still stuck with it, Haidic said.
Haidic said he had not visited any of the places in Asia including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore where the pills are sold, nor felt the need to see for himself whether the pills were as potent as buyers believe.