Outrage over the deaths of nearly 1,500 dolphins on the Faroe Islands

Outrage over the deaths of nearly 1,500 dolphins on the Faroe Islands

Even the most ardent defenders of traditional whaling in the Faroe Islands on Sunday condemned the “cruel and unnecessary” slaughter of a superpode of nearly 1,500 dolphins, which was pushed into the shallow waters of the beach of Skálabotnur on the island of Eysturoy and left to twist for hours. before being killed.

The Sea Shepherd group, which has campaigned to stop the traditional Faroese “Grind” hunt since the 1980s, claimed Sunday’s hunt was “the biggest kill of dolphins or pilot whales in the history of the islands”, with more animals that perish only in an entire season in the notorious “Cove” of Taiji, Japan.

This time, however, the scale of the killings was such that even many Faroese, who often regard the hunt as part of their cultural heritage, expressed disgust.

“I get nauseous to see this sort of thing,” one commentator said on the Facebook page of local broadcaster Kringvarp Føroya, while another called the massacre “absolutely terrible”, saying: “I am embarrassed. to be Faroese.

Carcasses of white-sided dolphins dead on a beach after being removed from the bloody water of Eysturoy Island. Photography: AP

Heri Petersen, who chairs the local hunting association Grind in the bay where the massacre took place, said far too many dolphins had been herded into the bay for too long a distance, with too few people waiting on the beach to kill them, prolonging their agony.

“I am appalled by what happened,” he told local news site In.fo. “The dolphins lay on the beach twisting for too long before they were killed. “

Hans Jacob Hermansen, the former presidents of the Faroese Grind Association, which campaigns for the survival of traditional hunting, told local broadcaster Kringvarp Føroya he was shocked by the event, which he said “destroyed all the work that we did to preserve the grind ”.

“The world has become much smaller today, everyone walks around with a camera in their pocket,” said his successor, Ólavur Sjúrðarberg. “It is a gift for those who wish us evil with regard to the Grind.” “

The Grind is important to many Faroese, with spectators coming out to watch from the shore, and the meat of the take is traditionally shared among the families who participated, with any excess then distributed among the local villagers.

But a resident told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet that there was no way locals would want to consume so much dolphin meat.

“I guess most dolphins will be thrown in the trash or in a hole in the ground,” they said. “We should have district quotas and we shouldn’t kill dolphins. “

Captain Alex Cornelissen, global managing director of Sea Shepherd, which campaigns against whaling, said that in the midst of a global pandemic it was “absolutely appalling to see an attack on nature of this magnitude in the Faroe Islands ”.


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