Dead Pilot Whales


Faroe Islands whale killings: now dolphins join slaughter

Following our news alerts last week concerning the brutal killing of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands, we are shocked to learn through Faroese media today (August 13, 2013) that a further 136 pilot whales have been killed in Husavik, Sandoy Island.

And we understand that another group of pilot whales being targeted by people in Hvalba, on the neighbouring island of Suðyroy, was discovered to be accompanied by about 450 white-sided dolphins. So the dolphins have been killed too.

At the time of posting, it is unclear how many pilot whales have been killed in Hvalba.

Pilot whales are the most common targets of kills in the Faroe Islands but it is not unusual for islanders to kill dolphins too. The dolphins often travel in large groups and Faroese people will take the lot.

Also, it appears from one of the photographs in the Faroese media that the traditional hook was being used – something the Faroese Government says is being phased out.

EIA has been critical of this implement since it first documented a pilot whale hunt in 1985. Like the ‘cold’ non-exploding harpoon that was banned by the International Whaling Commission in 1981, this hook is designed to wound and not to kill, and its purpose is to secure the whales or dolphins. Its use is random and the animals can be struck anywhere in their bodies, often several times. We even documented a whale that had been struck in the eye by the hook. With the hook embedded in their bodies, the animals are dragged to the shore for slaughter.

The past two weeks have seen more than 600 pilot whales killed in the Faroes and, now, about 450 dolphins. We question just how much of the meat and blubber will actually be consumed since the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientist have issued warnings that Faroese people should not eat these products at all due to the high levels of pollutants found in them. Far more blubber and meat has been produced from these slaughters than could be ‘safely’ consumed if people are complying with their Government’s health warnings to significantly limit consumption.

We urge people to write to the Faroese Prime Minister and respectfully express their concerns about these cruel, unnecessary hunts that have never been scientifically proven not to harm the status of pilot whale populations whcih visit the Faroe Islands and live in an ocean that is suffering the detrimental effects of human-induced environmental changes including pollution.

You can find a sample letter to send and address details for the Faroe Islands Government here.