Yesterday afternoon another ruthless grind claimed the lives from 40 to 50 pilot whales in Viðareiði to the north of the Faroe Islands. Weather conditions made it possible for the islanders of Funningsfjordur to run aground about 100 white-sided dolphins at night.
In total, the numbers of pilot whales and other dolphins massacred in the Faroe Islands, in what is known as grindadráp, rises to 828 from May 21, 2017.
Although grindadráp usually occurs in summer – when pilot whales and other cetaceans pass before the archipelago as part of their migratory patterns – a hunting season is not really defined, and can occur at any time of the year if a pod is sighted from one of the 23 beaches on the archipelago that are approved as landing sites.
In a grindadráp or grind, hundreds of pilot whales, and often thousands, are forced to run aground deliberately in different bays of the Faroe Islands. When the pod is sighted, dozens of motorized boats hastily left the port to form a semicircle to corner and frighten the mammals, forcing them to approach dangerously to the beach. Once trapped in shallow bays, the islanders on the ground jump into the water in a sort of gruesome celebration to cut their spinal cords, a process that can take up to four minutes in some cases. Several cuts must be made in a row while the helpless animals are retained by several groups of men armed with knives. No cetacean escapes this ritual torture once it is forced to run aground.
The grindadráp has no quotas and there are no data on the number of animals that are slaughtered in these hunts.
The Faroe Islands are not a member of the European Union, however, they are a protectorate of Denmark, a member of the European Union. The Berne Convention prohibits all its members from any form of deliberate capture or killing of cetaceans in European waters. Even so, Denmark has repeatedly assisted the Faroese Islanders with military assets to protect these hunts from the interference of activists over time.