More than 500 dolphins have been slaughtered in the Faroe Islands since the traditional “grindadrap” hunt began in May. The practice sees fishing boats herding white-sided dolphins and pilot whales, another type of dolphin, into shallow waters where they are beached. Fishermen then wade through the water and slaughter the animals with knives.
Pictures from the Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory part of the Danish kingdom, show a large number of dolphins lying dead by the shore, with the waters turned red by their spilt blood.
Since the beginning of the hunting season, there have already been five grindadraps.
A Faroese government spokesman told AFP: “Yesterday there were two grinds, one with 266 catches and the other one with 180.”
The practice regularly raises outrage among animal welfare campaigners and pictures taken during the hunting days go around the world every summer.
In 2014, environmental NGO Sea Shepherd managed to disrupt the hunt with its boats.
But the widespread condemnation doesn’t appear to sway locals, with the hunt being broadly supported in the Faroes.
Rather, supporters argue the animals have fed the local population for centuries and accuse foreign media and activists of disrespecting the native culture.
The whaling kills on average some 800 long-finned pilot whales and several hundreds white-sided dolphins.
The government capped the number of white-sided dolphins that can be killed per year to 500 in 2022, after the slaughter of 1,400 examples caused an outcry even among locals.
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The chairman of the Faroese Whalers Association, Olavur Sjurdarberg, said at the time the large killing was “a big mistake”.
The man, who didn’t participate in the hunt, told the BBC: “When the pod was found, they estimated it to be only 200 dolphins.”
After explaining the real number of dolphins became apparent when they started the slaughter, he said: “Somebody should have known better. Most people are in shock about what happened.”
The hunting practice goes back to the ninth century, and since 1948 it has been regulated by the Faroese authorities who require participants to be trained and use modern boats and means of communication – all while being supervised by police.
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