Whales murdered in Faroe Islands: these massacres were carried out in the Faroe Islands, a small presentation of the region. This archipelago consists of 18 main islands between Iceland, Scotland, and Norway.
The first description of this hunt dates back to the 16th century, although it is more than likely that this hunt has been practiced since the colonization of this archipelago in order to feed the population of Vikings.
In 1928, the Ministry of Public Health announced that the consumption of dolphins and pilot whales was the only source of animal protein for this archipelago. But for many years now, the Faroe Islands no longer depend on these dolphins and pilot whales to eat their needs of protein. Nevertheless, for 2 decades, this hunting persists and nearly 1000 dolphins and pilot whales are slaughtered each year.
Traditionally, this hunting involved 5 stages: tracking, hunting, slaughtering, dancing, and distribution. But today, dance is no longer realized, and this practice thus loses part of its authentic side of its traditional side.
You will understand, the word “Grind” is a diminutive of the word Grindadráp meaning the slaughter of cetaceans. At that time, spotting required making a fire to prevent a group of cetaceans, also known as a pod, has been spotted.
In the same way, the conduct, or the hunt, was driven by wooden boats and oars. This allowed the younger Vikings to show their strength and power by successfully driving a pod to the beaches where the slaughter will take place.
But today, with our technical and technological means, much has changed.
Nowadays, the Faroe Islands obviously benefit from technological advances, in order to make a Grind happen. Sonar, Radar, satellite imagery, helicopters, planes, and ferries are used to locate a pod in a much easier way.
Also, in order to drive the animals to the beach, where they will be slaughtered, they no longer use wooden boats and oars, but dual-engine boats, rapid intervention boats, and Jet-ski.
Finally, in order to contact the coasts and say where the pod in question is, they no longer use fires as before but they use VHF radios, radios and satellite phones.
Even today, hunting can take a few minutes to several hours, causing stress and panic for the cetaceans. Once the pod is spotted, the Faroese boats are placed behind him, in a semi-circle and then fold the animals to one of the beaches or preselected bays. Indeed, in the Faroe Islands, only 23 beaches are currently allowed for the slaughter of animals.
When pilot whales or dolphins really feel stuck in this little bay, some of them are trying to escape by the riverbank, where they will eventually end ups’ beach themselves. The others, further back, will be towed and hoisted on the beach with hooks placed in the vent.
Until 2015, the slaughter could be carried out using traditional Faroese knives, used only for Grinds. For many years, the Faeroes have been promising fast and painless slaughter. In this sense, they created in 2011 a specific tool designed to limit the suffering of the animal during the massacre.
Unfortunately, they sometimes have to take it over several times to cut the spinal cord of the pilot whale. Especially at the end of a grind that lasted several hours.
Despite the fact that only this tool is allowed for the killing of animals since 2015, the participants in this massacre do not hesitate to use their traditional knife as soon as the pod is more important than the number of these tools available.
Successfully cutting the spinal cord of a cetacean that can measure more than 6 meters long and weigh up to 4 tons all thanks to a knife, can sometimes last several tens of seconds or even several minutes, and thus cause excruciating suffering for the animal These Grinds cause the death of all captured animals. In those, including pregnant females and juveniles.
Once the pod has been decimated, the pilot whale flesh is cut and shared between the villagers of where the Grind took place and the Grind’s participants.
The Faroese continue to eat privately this pilot whale and dolphin meat. But many restaurants also offer dishes for tourists with this same animal pulpit.
Unfortunately, today, a large quantity of this animal flesh is turned into flour for fish farms, which are present in large numbers in the Faroes Islands. These fish farms, therefore, eat their natural predator, which is completely aberrant. As a result, they ingest the harmful elements present in this meat. These are the same fish that will eventually end up in the stalls of your supermarkets or fishmongers.
In 2010, the organization Sea Shepherd was present in the Faroe Islands to document the progress of a Grind. The members of this organization then discovered real submarine mass graves, where pilot whales uncut were in full decomposition. This is indisputable evidence that some Grinds only occur for fun, and so that all pilot whale meat is not always used or consumed.
The Grind: What is the impact on the ecosystem?
The main victim of these Grinds is the black pilot whale of the North Atlantic. It is part of CMS Appendix 2which means that the IUCN has determined that, although it is not threatened with extinction, this species could become very quickly if its hunting is not strictly controlled.
There is currently no validated scientific data on the estimated population of pilot whales in the North Atlantic. But with all the current threats, such as these famous Grinds, such as military sonars gill nets or trawling, biologists believe that the population of pilot whales could decrease by 30% over the next 3 generations.
These are all the reasons that led Europe to add the pilot whale to the list of strictly protected species in Appendix 2.
Because of their position as top predators in the North Atlantic food chain, pilot whales, therefore, ingest large amounts of environmental pollutants.
Meat resulting from the killings contains high levels of heavy metals, such as copper and lead, and very high levels of mercury.
One study has shown mercury poisoning in several local residents. Mercury poisoning causes damage to the neurological development of fetuses, it also implies higher blood pressure and impaired immune system in children.
It also leads to increased cases of Parkinson’s disease, circulatory problems, and increased risk of infertility in adults.