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Faroe Islands: 1428 dolphins killed as ‘largest hunt ever recorded’ sparks outcry
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A superpod of 1428 dolphins have been killed in the Faroe Islands, in what is thought to be the largest ever single hunt of dolphins or pilot whales in recorded history.

The Atlantic white-sided dolphins were killed en masse on Sunday in the bay of Skálabotnur in the self-governing Danish archipelago, 200 miles from UK shores.

The Faroese tradition of dolphin and whale hunting, known by locals as the Grindadráp, sees hunters use speedboats and jet-skis to drive pods of the marine mammals into shallow water, where they are killed and dragged ashore. It has long provoked an outcry from marine conservationists over the brutality inflicted on the highly intelligent animals.

Quote:Robert Read of conservationist group Sea Shepherd UK told i: “We’ve been looking at records from all over the world, and its quite possibly the largest hunt of cetaceans, whales and dolphins combined, possibly ever recorded.

“It’s unprecedented in Faroese history, and possibly in recorded history at all. The largest hunt even close to this – and the Faroese records go back over 500 years – was of 1,200 pilot whales in 1940.”



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Quote:He explained of the practice: “Boats drive the pod into a designated killing bay, using a wall of sound created by powerboats and jet skis.

“The pod is scared into the shallows, right up onto the beach, where they’re then killed by hand, using knives on a beach.”

While the dolphins are meant to be slain humanely, graphic video footage released by conservationists shows beached dolphins, still alive, with blood gushing from wounds inflicted on them by boats and hunters.

Sea Shepherd suspects that many participants did not have a license that is legally required to take part, which involves specific training in how to quickly kill the pilot whales and dolphins.

It also says footage shows many of the dolphins had injuries that appear to have been inflicted by motorboat propellers, which would have resulted in “a slow and painful death”.



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Quote:Mr Read told i: “You had large areas of the bay where dolphins were just thrashing about, and you had dolphins that were still alive being thrown on top of piles of dead dolphins on the beach because there were so many they were being piled up.

“It was a completely unprecedented situation for the Faroe Islands, and that is why it is being criticised even within the Faroese press, even by some staunch pro-whalers.”

Olavur Sjurdarberg, chairman of the Faeroese Pilot Whale Hunt Association, was among pro-whalers to criticise the optics, telling local broadcaster KVF: “The world has become much smaller today, with everyone walking around with a camera in their pocket. This is a fabulous treat for those who want us (to look bad) when it comes to pilot whale catching.”

Quote:Mr Read said: “This is chasing and stressing animals for hours on end, only to kill them in an inhumane way that would never be tolerated even in a slaughterhouse in Denmark. Tradition is used as a mask for this activity, but it’s a little more than a sport wrapped up in cultural identity.”

While the meat from Grindadráp hunts has traditionally been used to sustain the Faroese population over the winter, campaigners say there is no need for the meat in modern times – let alone from more than 1,400 dolphins.

Quote:Mr Read said: “We’re trying to monitor what is going on, because what appears to be happening is they’re trying to ship it out to every corner of the Faroe Islands, just to avoid having to dump some back into the sea.

“If you go back in time, this was a subsistence hunt, which you have a justifiable case for, and similar hunts were happening in the Shetlands Islands up until about 1920.

“But the Faroe Islands these days is an incredibly modern community, with a similar per capita income as Scandanavian countries like Norway, near-zero poverty, they have imports from all over the world, their shops and supermarkets are very well stocked, so there’s no sort of need for this to continue on a subsistence basis.

“The other problem is that pilot whale and dolphin meats are heavily contaminated with industrial pollutants, that have been reported on for decades, so even if you did have a need for it, this is not healthy to eat.”

In EU nations, as well as in the UK and many other countries around the world, it is illegal to harass and chase a dolphin or whale using a boat – but the self-governing Faroe Islands is able to set its own laws on the issue.



https://inews.co.uk/news/world/faroe-isl...er-1198789
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