The sea that surrounds the Faroe Islands just north of Europe turns red with the blood of hundreds of whales killed by the inhabitants every year. This is done as part of their annual whale hunt. Every year, the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands will corner the pilot whales into their local bays, so they can be slaughtered. This annual tradition is known as Grindadrap. While the whale hunt is done every year, it’s not for commercial purposes. The meat cannot necessarily be sold in stores, so once the whales have been killed, the meat is split among the members of the community of the Faroe Islands.
Being an autonomous province of Denmark, where whaling is banned, the Faroe Islands’ laws allow the mass slaughter of pilot whales, beaked whales, and dolphins to observe the annual tradition.
“It is unacceptable for the Faroe Islands to preserve separate laws that allow inhabitants to continue the whale slaughter,” PETA mentions in its action alert which is titled, “Stop the Bloody Whale Slaughter.” It’s focus is to urge the local government to stop the massacre.
The Faroese are descendents of Vikings, and pilot whales have been a central part of their diet for more than 1,000 years. The mass hunting is non-commercial, meaning the whale meat cannot be sold but is divided evenly between members of the local community.
Despite criticism from multiple animal rights groups which include PETA, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and the International Whaling Commission, the whale hunting custom continues to kill thousands of whales year after year.
The pilot whales are usually coerced to travel into a specific bay, and the call by the Faroese people is put out. They then gather around the bays waiting for the pilot whales to arrive.
Once the whales have arrived in the bay, the Faroese men cut the spines of the whales, leaving the animals to bleed to death slowly. According to PETA, some whales swim around in their family member’s blood for hours.
“Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent creatures and feel pain and fear every bit as much as we do. They are forced to watch their families die while swimming around in the bloody water, waiting to be slaughtered themselves.”
The American Cetacean Society says that pilot whales are not considered to be endangered, but that there has been a noticeable decrease in their numbers around the Faroe Islands.
As you can see in the above picture, there are a lot of whales that are losing their lives during this tradition.
Above is a picture of some of the hunters swarming the whales to make them go even further into the bay. In the distance, you can see the large boat that is part of the Sea Shepherd fleet. The Sea Shepherds are known to protest the whale hunt not only in the Faroe Islands, but also in areas near Africa, Antarctica, etc. They were one of the main crusaders to put a stop to the Japanese whale hunt.
This is absolutely horrible that this has to happen. This has to be stopped.
While I definitely understand that this has the potential to be a huge issue for the population of the pilot whales, if the hunt is made illegal, it will take away some of the food source that the Faroese people rely on every year. Perhaps there could be a some sort of compromise where they are allowed to kill a certain amount of whales each year, but no more to ensure that the population doesn’t become endangered. What do you think the answer is?