Horror as 1,428 dolphins killed in Faroe Islands in ‘largest ever hunt’
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Deplorable hunters slaughtered 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins in the bay of Skálabotnur on Sunday. Shocking pictures have emerged of scores of hookfin porpoises washed up on the shores of the self-governing Danish archipelago, many of which have been bludgeoned to death with knives and harpoons.
In another image shared by the conservationist Sea Shepherd group, blood from the dolphin carcasses can be seen seeping into the sea.
The annual hunting of sea mammals is a controversial tradition, known by locals on the remote island as the Grindadráp.
Robert Read from Sea Shepherd UK explained islanders were previously reliant on the archaic hunt as a source of food during the baron winter months.
But the barbaric act had been phased and Mr Read described this as an “unprecedented situation”.
The shocking find on Sunday has led experts to believe it is the largest death toll of cetaceans, whales and dolphins ever recorded.
Mr Read told The i newspaper: “We’ve been looking at records from all over the world, and its quite possibly the largest hunt of cetaceans, whales and dolphins combined, possibly ever recorded.
“It’s unprecedented in Faroese history, and possibly in recorded history at all.
“The largest hunt even close to this – and the Faroese records go back over 500 years – was of 1,200 pilot whales in 1940.”
Mr Read explained hunters traditionally drive jet skis and speed boats into the pod, which then drives the dolphins into shallow water.
He added many are killed by motorboat propellers and suffer “a slow and painful death”.
He added: “You had large areas of the bay where dolphins were just thrashing about, and you had dolphins that were still alive being thrown on top of piles of dead dolphins on the beach because there were so many they were being piled up.
“It was a completely unprecedented situation for the Faroe Islands, and that is why it is being criticised even within the Faroese press, even by some staunch pro-whalers.”
The hunting of dolphins and whales is illegal in the UK, the EU and many other countries around the world – but not in the Faroe Islands.
Grindadráp hunts are permitted on the island, however people must undergo training and stick to certified bays.
The slaughter has been a tradition on the archipelago since the 9th century and is considered by locals as an example of aboriginal whaling.
Meat from dolphins had been vital for the population during the winter season – but pastime is no longer required due to availability of food from around the world.
Mr Read added: “If you go back in time, this was a subsistence hunt, which you have a justifiable case for, and similar hunts were happening in the Shetlands Islands up until about 1920.
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“But the Faroe Islands these days is an incredibly modern community, with a similar per capita income as Scandanavian countries like Norway, near-zero poverty, they have imports from all over the world, their shops and supermarkets are very well stocked.
“So there’s no sort of need for this to continue on a subsistence basis.”
The expert added it is not healthy for humans to consume dolphin meat as it is often “heavily contaminated with industrial pollutants”.
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