Last Friday, August 29, between 20 y 30 pilot whales were killed in the village of Hvalvík in the Faroe Islands.
The hunters first surrounded the whole pod with a wide semicircle of boats and then drove the panicked pilot whales into the bay of Hvalvík – not all bays are certified, and the slaughter will only take place on a certified beach.
Once pilot whales got close enough, the whole town sprinted in and started hacking at them. The Faroese also use metal hooks to ram into their blowholes and sever their spinal cords using a lance. Even the children were getting involved, pulling on the ropes and jumping on the carcasses. Some pilot whales can take nearly 10 minutes to die.
The hunt, known locally as the grindadráp or grind, draws large crowds.
An average of 800 long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melaena) and some Atlantic white-sided dolphins are killed every year during the Grindadrap, which draws large crowds. Many people enter the water to help bring the whales to the sand.
The consumption of their meat decreased in the Faroe Islands in the 2000s, as several studies have revealed the high mercury levels present in pilot whale meat. The meat is divided up among the locals, although many times the meat is simply left to rot on the beach.
Though most of the killings happen throughout the summer months, a grindadráp can be called at any time of year.
EU law bans “deliberate capture or killing” of any dolphins or whales, but since the Faroe Islands are not part of the union they do not have to abide by the rules.