Faroes hunters slaughter dozens of whales just days after largest dolphin massacre

Blue Planet Society calls for urgent action, saying ‘the hideous cruelty and unsustainable slaughter must stop’

Jane Dalton
Thursday 23 September 2021 21:45 BST
(Sea Shepherd / SWNS)
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Hunters in the Faroe Islands have slaughtered dozens of pilot whales – just days after the brutal massacre of 1,428 dolphins in a bloodbath that caused widespread global anger.

It’s believed 53 pilot whales were driven onshore and slain in the latest mass killing, which went ahead despite a promise by the islands’ government to review dolphin hunting rules.

The hunters lined up the pilot whales’ mutilated bodies beside a drain onshore for their blood to flow into.

The killings prompted renewed calls for tourists to boycott the islands.

Marine conservation group Sea Shepherd was furious, asking: “When will enough be enough?”

The whale hunt took place at in a village called Kollafjordur, just a few miles from where the 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were slaughtered last Sunday.

Sea Shepherd said it believed the dolphin slaughter had been the largest single hunt of dolphins or pilot whales in Faroese history, and was possibly the largest single hunt of cetaceans ever recorded worldwide.

The Blue Planet Society called for urgent action, saying the EU Commission could not “sit back and let the Faroe Islands devastate Europe’s protected dolphin and small whale populations”.

“This hideous cruelty and unsustainable slaughter must stop now,” it added.

Known as the grindadrap (murder of whales), the annual hunt involves herding whales and dolphins into a bay, then forcing them onto a beach, where their spinal cords are severed, often while they struggle, their blood turning the seas red.

Adults, including pregnant females, and calves are included in the kill, and young children are taught how to carve up the animals’ bodies.

Health chiefs advise limiting the quantities of whale or dolphin flesh people eat because it is highly contaminated by mercury. Experts calculate the Faroes hunt more marine mammals than they can eat.

Sea Shepherd’s Rob Read told Yahoo News Australia: “The Faroese have no quota for the grindadrap hunts, no season, no need for the meat and, it seems, no compassion.”

In response to the outrage at the dolphin slaughter, Faroese premier Bardur a Steig Nielsen said: “We take this matter very seriously. Although these hunts are considered sustainable, we will be looking closely at the dolphin hunts, and what part they should play in Faroese society.”

He was quoted by Sea Shepherd as also saying: “It was expected that the protest would calm down as days passed, but there is no indication of this actually happening,” but the group said it was not “calming down”.

The Faroe Islands are part of the kingdom of Denmark, but responding to anger at the hunts, the Danish government points out the islands are a self-governing entity responsible for their own “natural resource management”, including whaling.

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