A shocking video has emerged of a “mass slaughter” of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.
The graphic scenes, recorded by activists from campaigning charity Sea Sheppard, document a crowd of people running at the whales as they are driven by a flotilla into the waterside bay. Once within reach, the hunters turn on the animals, grabbing at them whilst attacking with metal rods. The process is known as "driving", and dates back to as early at the 16th century.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
The Faroe Islands, an archipelago between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Iceland and Norway, functions as a self-governing country, although military defence, policing, justice and foreign affairs remain the responsibility of Denmark.
The campaigning charity Sea Shepherd, who have published the video online, state that the footage was captured on 23 July 2015. According to their estimations, around 150 pilot whales were killed on the beaches of the Faroe islands, as local residents watched on.
In a statement published online, Sea Shepherd call the events “the bloodiest day in the archipelago this year.”
“The slaughters, known by the traditional Faroese term ‘grindadráp, took place in two separate drive hunts at Bøur and Tórshavn,” they say.
According to their statement, three Sea Shepherd crewmembers from South Africa, Belgium and Luxembourg have been arrested and another two, from Italy and France, have been detained for “standing in defence of the whales that were targeted for slaughter.”
The new Faroese Pilot Whaling Act, passed by the islands’ government, was used to justify the arrests, but many believe the law was passed specifically to prevent Sea Shepherd volunteers trying to stop these mass killings. If found guilt of the charges, those arrested could face two years imprisonment.
The Independent has approached the Danish embassy in London for a comment.