Slaughter of more than 1,400 dolphins in the Faroe Islands sparks condemnation worldwide
Hunters in the Faroe Islands riding speed boats and jet skis ambushed and slaughtered a super-pod of more than 1,400 white-sided dolphins on Sunday (Sept. 12), leading to outcry from conservationists and even some supporters of the archipelago’s centuries-old tradition of killing the marine animals for food. The dolphins’ bloody, lacerated corpses have been left lined up on the beach following the killings.
The scale of the slaughter drew outrage from conservationists, Faroese natives and pro-hunting parties alike. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society described the killings as a “massacre.”
Dolphin hunting is an ancient tradition in the Faroe Islands — an autonomous territory of Denmark located between Norway, Scotland and Iceland — that dates back to Viking times. Known as a Grindadráp, or just “the grind,” the controversial custom involves driving pilot whales or other large dolphin species into the islands’ fjords in order to kill them with a specialized lance. It is the only Indigenous whaling practice still undertaken in Western Europe.
In a parked car overlooking the ocean sit two of the biggest whale killers in the Faroe Islands. They look exhausted, but not from hunting. Ólavur Sjúrðaberg, 75, and Hans J Hermansen, 73, have been on the phone constantly since a mass killing of 1,428 white-sided dolphins in the Faroe Islands on Sunday sparked international outrage and led the Faroes prime minister to announce on Thursday that the government would review the dolphin hunt.
Neither Sjúrðaberg nor Hermansen participated in the killing, but they are the current and former chairman of the Faroese Whalers Association, founded in 1992 to explain and defend the traditional killing of whales in the islands, known as the “grind”, and ensure it is as efficient and respectful as possible.