Several times every summer the people of the Faroe Islands chase down, run aground and slaughter hundreds of migrating pilot whales and dolphins in a gory thrill fest called the Grindadráp or Grind. The whales are gaffed in their blowholes, dragged onto the beach, spines broken, necks slit and bled to death while family members swim in their bloody waters. This graphic film by Albi Deak shows first hand what some still call a humane fishery.
WARNING / DISCLAIMER : Video contains graphic content. The opinions expressed in this video are not those held by the International Marine Mammal Project and we do not endorse them. This video is an outstanding example of the slaugher process which is why we are sharing it.
Locals say pilot whales are an important supplemental food source, yet many whales are left to rot. In 2008, the Islands’ Chief Medical Officers found pilot whale meat unfit for human consumption. As apex predators, pilot whales and dolphins contain toxic levels of mercury and other poisons. Mercury poisoning found among Faroe Islanders increasingly compromises the health of children and adults. Even the Faroe government recommends limiting pilot whale consumption to no more than one meal per month, far less than the up to 1300 pilot whales and dolphins slaughtered each year supply if all of those animals were actually eaten.
The legality of this brutal and unnecessary kill is also questionable. The Faroe Islands avoided joining the European Union to avoid EU bans on the slaughter of whales. As a Danish Protectorate, Denmark controls the Faroes’ police, defense, currency, foreign policy and trade. Denmark is a signatory state to the conventions under which whales are protected and could be considered liable for the slaughter, commercial sale and decimation of entire pods in and around Denmark territorial lands in which the Faroe Islands lie. Local opponents to the slaughter document and discuss Denmark’s role in the killing in this Sea Shepherd film:
Creative Commons photo courtesy of Nordlysid.fo