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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Unacceptable and savage slaughter must be outlawed

At a time when we are in the middle of a climate and ecological crisis the last thing that anybody wants to read about is the senseless slaughter of 1,500 dolphins in a cruel and barbaric hunt just 224 miles off the UK's coast.

But, as the Times reports, that is what has happened as a “superpod” of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were killed at Skalabotnur in the North Atlantic archipelago. According to Sea Shepherd people in speed boats and on jetskis drove the superpod of dolphins for many hours over a distance of 45 km into shallow water where they were all killed:

Rob Read, chief operations officer at Sea Shepherd, said: “This is, we believe, the largest ever single hunt of dolphins or pilot whales in Faroese history — the next largest being 1,200 pilot whales back in 1940 — and is possibly the largest single hunt of cetaceans ever recorded worldwide

“For such a hunt to take place in 2021 in a very wealthy island community just 230 miles from the UK, with no need or use for such a vast quantity of undoubtedly contaminated meat, is outrageous.

“This happened also towards the end of this summer when the Faroese have already killed 615 long-finned pilot whales and their freezers are already full.

“It is no surprise therefore that this latest unprecedented hunt is being criticised in the Faroese media and even by many outspoken pro-whalers and politicians in the Faroe Islands.”

He said the death toll in Skalabotnur exceeded the total killed in any recent year by Japanese fishermen during their six-month dolphin and whale-killing season.

Sea Shepherd believe many of the participants in the slaughter did not have the licence required in the Faroes to conduct the killing. The licence involves specific training in how to kill pilot whales and dolphins quickly:

“Footage shows many of the dolphins were still alive and moving even after being thrown onshore with the rest of their dead pod,” the charity said.

It added that photos showed many of the dolphins had been run over by motorboats, suffering wounds from their propellers which would have resulted in a slow and painful death.

The hunting of whales and dolphins is an annual ritual in the Faroes that dates back a thousand years. An average of 1,500 dolphins are killed annually during their hunting season. Supporters argue that it reduces the amount of food that the islanders must import.

In July last year, the sea near the village of Hvalba in the Faroes turned red when 252 pilot whales and 35 white-sided dolphins were killed.

As the wildlife broadcaster, Chris Packham says, this is a grotesque act of unforgivable savagery wrought upon a highly intelligent, sentient, social animals. It is the twenty-first century, surely there should be an international agreement to outlaw this barbarism.
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