In Faroese, the event is called the Grindadrap. It translates to “the Grind” in English. In the remote Faroe Islands, sea animals are hunted. The mammals are primarily cetaceans that are whales and dolphins.
The government in the Faroe Islands reports that every year hunters catch approximately 600 pilot whales. White-sided dolphins do not get targeted as much. In 2020, the number was only 35 while in 2019 it was as low as 10.
This yearly hunt has supporters as well in the nation. They argue that whaling is one of “the most sustainable ways of harvesting food from natural sources”. Furthermore, they consider the grind as one of the most significant trademarks of their traditions and culture. Activists fighting for animal rights, however, have been fighting against this slaughter for a long time, calling them unnecessary and cruel.
The Brutal Grindadrap Has Raised Numerous Concerns
The most recent Grindadrap has been particularly criticized for being overwhelmingly brutal. Over 1400 dolphins were driven ashore and killed causing the devastation of a “super-pod”. The event took place on 12th September. The white-sided dolphins were herded into the biggest fjord in the Faroe Islands – Eysturoy’s Skalabotnur Beach.
After being driven into shallower waters, the dolphins were then killed using knives. The hunters then pulled ashore the carcasses to distribute the meat among the locals. However, this time around, there was so much meat that locals feared the majority of the carcasses would go to waste.
Graphic footage of the grind has surfaced as well. It shows the dolphins thrashing around while the waters gradually became red with their blood. It also showed hundreds of spectators watching from a distance. The hunt was the largest ever recorded. The second-largest dates back to 1940 when 1200 were reported to be killed in a single hunt.
The Faroe Islands have regulations for hunts like this. They are usually spontaneously organized by communities when a pod is spotted. Eligible hunters must also have an official certificate that shows they are trained in killing the animals.
What Can be Done to Stop This Massacre?
Sjurdur Skaale, a local politician said that the hunt is not popular even if it is legal. Nevertheless, he defended it claiming it was “humane” if rules were followed. A special lance is used for the purpose which would sever the dolphin or whale’s spinal cord, causing a “swift and painless death”. He said it was more humane than imprisoning pigs and cows. However, there is nothing “humane” in killing any animal for sure, so this is a very questionable account.
Organizations such as Sea Shepherd and PETA have been voicing their concerns over the event for a long time. After the recent events, the calls have gained even more momentum. Here is a video documentary by Sea Shepherd on the Grindadrap:
There are several ways in which we can help out the situation as well. Here is a link for sending a direct message to the Faroe Islands Prime Minister to pressure them into action. The board for tourism can be pressured into taking action as well.
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