In the wake of the latest Faroe Islands hunt on Friday that killed 42 more pilot whales, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and six other leading animal welfare and marine conservation organizations released a new report presenting evidence to challenge claims that the annual hunts are humane, sustainable and integral to local culture.
The latest hunt brings the total number of whales and dolphins killed in the islands to more than 900 this year — far higher than the typical annual average of 685 whales.
The report, “Unraveling the truth: Whale killing in the Faroe Islands,” looks at the main justifications for the ongoing hunting of long-finned pilot whales and other small cetaceans in the Faroe Islands (a small self-governing Danish territory located between Scotland and Iceland in the North Atlantic). The centuries-old hunt, known as the grindadrap, is widely publicized and largely condemned by the international community.
Fabienne McLellan, managing director of OceanCare, said:
“It is very difficult for us to understand why the cruel and unnecessary drive hunts of whales and dolphins in the Faroe Islands still persist. In all other places with a history of such activity, apart from Japan, this inherently inhumane practice has ended. We are deeply concerned about it and hope that this new report will help dispel some of the misunderstanding that exists in the islands and elsewhere.”
Sue Fisher, senior policy advisor of marine life and terrestrial wildlife programs at the Animal Welfare Institute, said:
“Pilot whales and other small cetaceans are protected in the European Union but massacred on its doorstep in the Faroe Islands. This dissonance makes no sense, especially given the well-known adverse effects on human health associated with the consumption of pilot whale meat and blubber containing high levels of mercury and other contaminants.”
Louie Psihoyos, executive director of the Oceanic Preservation Society and director of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” said:
“We hope this report helps to dispel misconceptions about the hunts so the public has a comprehensive understanding of the issue to aid in finally bringing this cruel practice to an end.”
Check out the full report here.