On Faroe Island, though the total whales killed this time was 23, it's been reported this is their 10th hunt this year alone, and that they have slaughtered 536 pilot whales in total.
TW: Animal Abuse, Graphic Images
As part of a centuries-old tradition, a group of hunters from Faroe Island have butchered 23 pilot whales off their coast. The hunt, which is locally known as the 'grind' is done to feed the inhabitants of the remote Atlantic archipelago during winter, reports Daily Mail. The entire gruesome process of killing the whales was documented by environmental charity Sea Shepherd. The 'grind' took place in the bay of Hvalvik, a village on the island of Streymoy. Despite pleas for the killings to end, the people of Faroe Island argued that it is a sustainable method and that it's also regulated by law.
It was reported that in 2018 Sea Shepherd offered the islanders one million Euros to go 10 consecutive years with no whale hunts. Though the total whales killed this time was 23, the charity says this is their 10th hunt this year alone, and that they have slaughtered 536 pilot whales in total. "More and more members of the public and tourists could be seen stopping along the coastline to watch the family of pilot whales struggle and resist," said a spokesperson, criticizing the hunt.
"As is often the case, the grind was swiftly becoming a social event with parents laughing and chatting as children played on the killing beach. The level of excitement was clearly growing as anticipation of the brutality came closer, epitomizing the social aspect of the grind was the sight of a youth group - possibly a guide or scout group - sat eagerly watching and waiting," the spokesperson added.
Another spokesperson from the charity said that while the event was happening, tourists were busy taking pictures and watching on from just meters away. "Grind participants ran cheering into the pod to start attaching ropes and pulling individuals out to begin slaughtering. As the family was laid out on the docks the all too familiar and disturbing images of children jumping on and playing with the dead could be seen," the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the islanders claim that they strive to show respect to the dead whales, but the charity challenges the claim. "Video and photographs from the 10th grind of 2019 clearly show this not to be the case, with images of people and tourists taking selfies with the murdered pod," the spokesperson added. "Children were playing with fins, kicking and punching the bodies, walking on them and worryingly seen running around the dock carrying the traditional knives that are used as part of the grindadrap."
One of the most disturbing sights from the hunt was one of an unborn calf, days or weeks from being ready for birth, being cut from its mother's womb. A small fetus was also said to have been removed during the grind. One of the participants said that the unborn are not harmed or eaten, they are usually returned to the sea. But, the charity said that this meant the bodies would be "unceremoniously dumped".
There were a lot of mixed reactions to the post on social media. Craig Anderson commented: Been doing it for 1000+ years, used it all, feed and clothes for their families and renewable, free-range whale farms, Americans been killing people (humans) for 80 years in mass shootings, and you are upset about what? Masatoshi John Shoji added: Why people are so emotional about this? What are the essential differences between fishing and hunting whales? People think this is more horrible because whales are more intelligent than fishes? Can we decide which life is more worthy? No, we cannot. Life is life. Either we kill a fish or a whale, there is no difference to take a life of it. We need to take the life of animals, fishes, even vegetables to survive.
Peter Lockley commented: This is human civilization! We are still the worst mammals on the planet. Sarah Warne added: These are beautiful animals...why would they do this like it's some sort of sport..its wrong. Barbara Jones wrote: How sick, how could they do that to a beautiful creature what is the world coming to? Olive Mcneill agreed and wrote: This should not be allowed to happen to them whales it's so cruel it should be stopped.