SANDAVÁGUR, FAROE ISLANDS — This time of year along the bays of the Faroe Islands, the water runs red as the annual whale and dolphin hunt, called a “grindadráp” takes place between June and September,
In a tradition that’s been carried out since as late as the 16th century, Faroese fishermen spot the pods of cetaceans and form a semicircle around them with their boats. They then drive the animals to shore by banging against their boats, trapping them with an assaulting wall of sound. Once the animals begin to beach themselves, the fishermen come out with hooks and ropes to drag their live bodies to shore. They then use their spinal lances to sever the spinal cords of the creatures, watching as they bleed to death.
Conservation group Sea Shepherd reports more than 160 pilot whales and white-sided dolphins slaughtered at this year’s hunt already. The carcasses will be cut up and distributed amongst villagers for meat.
Faroese officials insist the hunt is conducted in accordance with international law and is sustainable and fully regulated by national laws. The Faroe Islands being an independent nation within the Kingdom of Denmark, animal activists are calling on Danish officials to help end this barbaric practice. Under the European Union’s Habitats Directive, members of the EU are prohibited from participating in all forms of deliberate disturbance, capture, and killing of cetaceans.