Faroe Islands: Dolphins Massacred In Their Hundreds All In The Name Of An Ancient Tradition

Andrea A.
27/5/2018

At the Faroe Islands, in Denmark, the annual hunting season is just about to begin. For this occasion, the residents of the archipelago take part in a barbaric practice known as the "grindadrap', in other words, the slaughtering of dolphins in the coastal area. The charity Sea Shepherd hopes to put an end to this ancestral traditions once and for all.

grindadrap danemark

Source: Sea Shepherd/Facebook

It's an extreme form of hunting rooted in the country's culture, being born nearly 1500 years ago.Also called "grind", it is responsible for the death of hundreds of pilot whales (dolphin species) in the North Atlantic.According to tradition, assoon as dolphins are seen near the shore, a boat contacts the authorities, who, in turn, send a signal to the "grindmaster", the chief of the hunting bay, so that he gives the green light. Once this is done, the "grind" is triggered and the boats go out to sea to bring the cetaceans back to the beach, where people are waiting for them, hooks and knives in hand.

grindadrap danemark

Source: Sea Shepherd

For many years, NGO Sea Shepherd has been fighting against this barbaric practice. Lamya Essenlali, president of the group, said to Inrocks (article in French):

When the boats have dragged them down into shallow enough water, the dolphins run aground, and the people on foot push the hooks into the dolphins' vents [nostrils, N.D.L.R.], pull them onto the beach and cut off their spinal cord. There are never any survivors. No distinction is made. The whole group is massacred.

The NGO formally opposes "grindadráp" and calls on Denmark to end it. Indeed, if the archipelago is not part of the European Union, and is therefore not subject to the regulations in force concerning hunting, for Lamya Essenlali, they "violate European laws under cover of a kind of cultural exemption granted by Denmark".

grindadrap danemark

Source : Sea Shepherd

However, according to local authorities, hunting cetaceans only kills a hundred dolphins "out of an estimated population of 750,000".But if this tradition seemed justified at the beginning, because it made it possible to feed the people of the village and to preserve them from famine, it is today only used as "entertainment", as the Demotivator site indicates it, insofar as the meat of the killed animals is not even consumed.According to Sea Shepherd, its consumption would even have a very negative impact on health, because of the high "levels of mercury, pesticides and lead contained in the flesh of these marine mammals".

grindadrap danemark

Source : Sea Shepherd

Last year, the NGO had already initiated proceedings before the European Commission against Denmark which, according to it, "contravenes its commitments to protect marine mammals". It had also launched a petition "to put an end to the massacres of dolphins in Europe".Animal activists had also vandalized the Little Mermaid, an emblematic monument in Copenhagen, by spraying it with blood red and writing the following sentence: "Denmark, defend the Faroese whales".If you too wish to oppose the dolphin slaughter in the Faroe Islands, sign the Sea Shepherd petition by clicking here.