The government of the Faroe Islands, an autonomous Danish territory, faced an outcry on Tuesday over the culling of more than 1,400 white-sided dolphins in one day in what would be the largest hunt in the northern archipelago.
“There is no doubt that the whaling of the Faroe Islands is a dramatic sight for people who do not know the hunting and killing of mammals,” a government spokesperson told AFP.
“The hunts are nevertheless well organized and fully regulated,” he said.
Traditionally, the North Atlantic islands – which have a population of around 50,000 – hunt pilot whales, not dolphins, the spokesperson said.
“There are usually a few in the ‘mill’, but normally we don’t kill that many,” said local television reporter Hallur av Rana.
The “grindadrap” is a practice whereby hunters first surround the whales with a large semicircle of fishing boats, then lead them into a bay to be beached and shot.
“It seems pretty extreme and it took a while to kill them all, which is usually pretty quick,” Av Rana said.
Photos showing the bloody corpses of more than 1,000 Atlantic white-sided dolphins on the beach have sparked outrage on social media.
According to av Rana, although about 53 percent of the population of the islands are opposed to “grind”, there are no plans to abolish this practice. The authorities insist that this is a sustainable mode of hunting.
Sea Shepherd, a charity campaigning against whale and dolphin hunting, described it as a “barbaric practice”.
According to local estimates, there are around 100,000 pilot whales in the waters around the Faroe Islands and around 600 were killed last year.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)