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More than 1,400 dolphins slaughtered in one day in Faroe Islands


The government of the Faroe Islands, an autonomous Danish territory, faces an outcry over the culling of more than 1,400 white-sided dolphins in a day in what was said to be the single biggest hunt in the northern archipelago.

“There is no doubt that the Faroese whale hunts are a dramatic sight to people unfamiliar to the hunts and slaughter of mammals,” a government spokesman said.

“The hunts are, nevertheless, well organised and fully regulated,” he said.

Traditionally, the North Atlantic islands – which have a population of around 50,000 people – hunt pilot whales and not dolphins, the spokesman said.

“There are usually a few of them in the ‘grind’, but we normally don’t kill such a large number,” said a local television journalist, Hallur av Rana.

The “grindadrap” is a practice whereby the hunters first surround the whales with a wide semi-circle of fishing boats and then drive them into a bay to be beached and slaughtered.

“It looks quite extreme and it took some time to kill them all, while it’s usually pretty quick,” av Rana said.

Each year, islanders drive herds of mammals – chiefly pilot whales – into shallow waters, where they are stabbed to death. A blow-hole hook is used to secure the beached whales and their spine and main artery leading to the brain are severed with knives. The drives are regulated by laws and the meat and blubber are shared on a community basis.

Footage showing the bloodied corpses of more than 1,000 Atlantic white-sided dolphins on the beach sparked outrage on social media.


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