For hundreds of years the people of the Faroe Islands have been herding migrating pilot whales from the sea into shallow water and slaughtering them. The slaughter, known by the Faroese term ‘grindadráp‘ or ‘grind’, is a brutal and bloody tradition that wipes-out entire family groups of whales and dolphins at one time. After being driven into fjords, distressed whales beach themselves or are dragged to shore by their blowholes with gaff hooks. A spinal lance is then used to cut the whale’s spine as they lie dying next to family members. Some suffer for as much as 30 seconds while others can take up to four minutes to die. For these animals, whose intimate family relationships and capacity to suffer is well documented, the grind delivers a lengthy, harrowing and traumatic death.
The practices undertaken during the grind, in which pilot whales and dolphins have to endure hours of cruel and stressful driving towards shore before being slaughtered in the presence of family members, would not be tolerated in any slaughterhouse in the developed world. With the introduction of modern conveniences and trade, and the safety warnings against pilot whale meat consumption, the people of the Faroe Islands no longer require whale meat for sustenance. It is time that we progress beyond this unnecessary, excessive and redundant cruelty and set the whales free, for good.
Read More: Sea Shepherd’s Pilot Whale Defence Campaign