Around 1,500 dolphins are hunted in the Faroe Islands; NGO denounces massacre with strong images | Nature

The massacre of 1,428 white-tailed dolphins during a traditional hunt rekindled a debate in the Faroe Islands, an archipelago of Denmark located in the North Atlantic. Every year, locals drag the animals to the beach, where they are stabbed to death so that their meat and fat is distributed to the population.

ATTENTION: Below, this article reproduces other strong images of the killing. They were released as a warning by the NGO Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Hunting on the North Atlantic islands is authorized and non-commercial, yet environmental activists claim it is cruel. Dolphin and whale hunting is part of a tradition created in the 16th century.

According to tradition, the animals – mainly pilot whales – are dragged ashore to be stabbed to death. A hook is used to secure the stranded whales while they have their spine and main artery cut with knives.

Environmentalists say 1,428 animals were killed at the site, which is a traditional hunting spot as the cove’s shallow waters are used to trap the animals. — Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society/via AP

Despite tradition, white side dolphins and pilot whales are not endangered species.

After the last event, even people who advocate dolphin hunting fear that the amount of dead animals, far superior to the previous year, bring unwanted attention to local tradition.

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Last year, 35 dolphins were killed compared to nearly 1,500 animals this year.

Images released by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society show the killing of dolphins in the Faroe Islands. — Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society/via AP

Heri Petersen, head of a group that hunts pilot whales in central Faroe Islands, where the deaths took place over the weekend, said he was not informed of the incident. Peterson told the in.fo news site. that at the time there were too many dolphins and too few people on the beach to kill them.

Every year, Faroese residents kill about 1,000 marine mammals, including pilot whales and white-tailed dolphins.

Images released by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society show the killing of dolphins in the Faroe Islands. — Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society/via AP

Olavur Sjurdarberg, president of the Pilot Whale Hunting Association, fears the discussion will rekindle and cast a negative light on the tradition held by the 18 rocky islands between Iceland and Scotland.

“We need to keep in mind that we are not alone on earth. On the contrary, the world has become much smaller today, with everyone walking around with a camera in their pocket,” Sjurdarberg told local broadcaster KVF. “This is a perfect situation for those who want us to (look bad) when it comes to catching pilot whales.”

Faroese Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard told local radio station Kringvarp Foeroya that everything was done according to dolphin hunting rules.

For years, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, based in Seattle, has opposed the hunting of aquatic mammals. In a Facebook post, the organization described the weekend’s events as “poaching”.

The Convention on Wildlife and Natural Habitats of Europe, in force since 1982, classifies pilot whales and all cetaceans, including dolphins, as “strictly protected” without permission for slaughter.

Despite this and the protests of environmentalists, the slaughter of animals is not illegal in the Faroe Islands. This is because the archipelago is not a member of the European Union, it only politically refers to Denmark, which controls defense, foreign policy and currency. According to the Sea Shepherd organization, the main reason for the Islands not to join the EU is to maintain fishing activity.

Killing of dolphins in the Faroe Islands, North Atlantic, Denmark. — Photo: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society/via AP

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