Every Year, This Country Massacres Hundreds Of Whales And Dolphins - This Association Mobilizes

Andrea A.

(Caution: Graphic images)Every year, between June and September, the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands participate in an ancient, but cruel tradition. Hundreds of whales and dolphins are pushed towards the coast before being massacred without pity, during what the locals callgrindadráp, literally "killing of the whales."

Source: Sea Shepherd

Like in the bay of Taiji, Japan, boats push the animals towards the beaches where they are slaughtered. But unlike the Japanese, who prohibit public access to the bay, numerous spectators assemble on the beaches to watch this "spectacle." They then receive some of the whale's meat.

Source: Sea Shepherd

Rosie Kunneke, member of the ocean defense organization,Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, explained:

It’s like a festive feeling amongst the locals. Old ladies are getting their sun chairs ready on the beach to watch this whole thing. People are cheering, children are singing, women are clapping. It’s like the circus has come to town.

Source: Sea Shepherd

The hunt's supporters claim that the animals are killed quickly, but the reality looks to be anything but. Some whales and dolphins take several hours to die in atrocious suffering. Kunneke continued:

These are hours and hours of agonizing cruelty to these animals. Their panic starts the moment the boats start to drive them. Imagine that you and your family are running from something and the panic of the chase.

Source: Sea Shepherd

Once the dolphins and whales are beached on the shore, the slaughter begins. One hook is placed in the animals' blowhole to bring them up higher on the sand. Then the hunters stab them with lances behind the blowhole. They claim that this causes a quick death, but Kunneke says that isn't the case. Sometimes multiple tries are necessary to kill the cetacean.

We’ve seen dolphins struggle for up to 20 minutes to die, because they’re starting to drown in their own blood.

Source: Sea Shepherd

Once the spine is broken, the animals are cut up, and the meat is distributed. According to Kunneke, in certain cases, the animals aren't yet dead when they start cutting them up.

They [the Faroese people] will try and tell you that they don’t suffer, but they suffer.

Source: Sea Shepherd

The inhabitants of the islands claim to eat the whale meat received this way, but it seems that isn't always the case, as much of the meat is high in mercury, a toxic metal. Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd, confirmed:

We found graveyards underwater of hundreds of whales that had been weighted down and sunk, their bodies just disposed of [instead of used]. It just doesn’t make any sense..

Source: Sea Shepherd

According to Russell Fielding, a geographer at the University of the South in Tennessee, it could just be the spines and skulls of the dead animals. He claims that for hygienic reasons, they sink the bodies in the water instead of letting them decompose on the beach.

Source: Sea Shepherd

As for Paul Watson, he's worried for the survival of pilot whales in particular. The exact number of their population is unknown, and at the time it's impossible to estimate the consequences of this hunt on the species. Sea Shepherd attempted on several occasions to intervene to stopgrindadráp, but the Faroe government threatened fines to anyone who attempted to interfere. Many of the associations members are now simply prohibited from stepping foot on the islands.

Source: Sea Shepherd

To Sea Shepherd, the best way to go forward is to pressure the Danish authorities. While the Faroe Islands are their own country, they operate within the Kingdom of Denmark.To move things along, you can signthis petitionor contact the ambassador or Danish consulate of your city. Don't hesitate to make a donation to support Sea Shepherd by clicking here.

H/t: The Dodo

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