12th September, Sunday is now going to be known as one of the cruelest and bloodiest days regarding dolphins. Jet-skis and boats chased ashore an Atlantic White-Sided Dolphin super-pod. The 1428 dolphins were chased for about 45 km and over several hours until they were forced to swim into shallower waters. After that, all of them were slaughtered.
The horrific incident took place in the Faroe Islands of Denmark, at a beach known as Skálabotnur.
The Dolphin Massacre Was The Biggest Ever
Sea Shepherd, an organization fighting to protect the creatures from this event known as the “Grind”, was the first ones to report on the incident. They believe that it is the biggest single pilot whale or dolphin hunt in the history of the Faroes Islands. It is also possibly the biggest cetacean massacre in the world’s recorded history.
Sea Shepherd has continued to fight this practice since the 1980s. However, the immense brutality and mishandling of the latest massacre are being heavily criticized by the media of the Faroe Islands as well. So much so, that politicians and pro-whalers who were previously outspoken have protested the act as well.
Locals claimed that the latest hunt was a violation of multiple Faroese laws that seek to regulate the Grind. Firstly, the district foreman for the Grind was never notified and consequently, there was no authorization for the hunt. Instead, a foreman from a different district had authorized the Grind even though he had no authority to do so.
Secondly, several participants in the event were not licensed. This is a compulsory requirement set by Faroe Island laws. This is also essential because receiving a license means learning the method of quickly killing pilot whales and dolphins. But, disturbing footage shows that several dolphins were alive and helplessly writhing in pain after they were thrown onto the shore, surrounded by the corpses of their fellow pod dolphins.
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Thirdly, photos indicate that several dolphins were intentionally run over. This means that the motorboats’ propellers had basically hacked the dolphins. In all probability, the death would be painful and slow if there is such an injury. Locals say that the police of the Faroe Islands have been notified of the hunt due to the violations.
The Cruelty Behind The Tradition
The event known as grindadrap is usually used for collecting meat. The participants share the meat before the locals are given what remains. But, this time there is too much dolphin meat for distribution. As a result, other districts have been offered the meat as a means of not having to throw it away.
Ekstra Bladet, a Danish Newspaper, reported interviews given by the locals. They chose to remain anonymous fearing for the safety of their families. Several of them think that the majority of the dolphin meat will be thrown away or buried. Faroese were generally furious with the incident, with one saying that every district should have quotas, and dolphin hunting should be illegal.
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Some have called upon the Danish PM to criticize the matter, while others worry that their fish exports will be risked by this international media exposure. During the summer, the 615 long-finned pilot whales have already been killed by the Faroese. This means a total of 2043 cetaceans have been killed in 2021 in this area.
Most conservation groups are appalled at how this happened given the recent pandemic and everything that has been happening around the world. However, organizations like the Sea Shepherd strive to end this mindless slaughter in the name of tradition.