A massacre. A total of 1,428 dolphins have been killed over the weekend in the Faroe Islands, between Scotland and Ireland. The hecatomb is part of a four-century tradition of hunting marine mammals in shallow waters, where they are taken and slaughtered for their meat and fat. And this year, due to the large number of copies, it has rekindled a debate on the islands.
Hunting is non-commercial and licensed, but environmentalists say it is cruel. Even people in the Faroe Islands who defend the traditional practice are concerned that this year’s hunt will attract unwanted attention, because it was much larger than previous ones and has apparently been carried out without the usual organization.
Heri Petersen, the foreman of a group that drives pilot whales to shore on the island of Eysturoy in the central Faroe Islands, said he was not informed about the dolphin trip and that he “strongly dissociated” from it.
He told the news outlet in.fo. that there were too many dolphins and too few people on the beach to kill them.
The foreman of a group that leads whales said he was not informed about the trip with dolphins
Islanders typically kill up to 1,000 marine mammals a year, according to data from the Faroe Islands. Last year there were 35 dolphins.
Olavur Sjurdarberg, president of the Faroe Islands Pilot Whaling Association, feared that Sunday’s slaughter would revive the discussion about mammal campaigns and give a negative view of the age-old tradition of the 18 islands located midway between Scotland. and Iceland. They are semi-independent and are part of the Danish kingdom.
“We must bear in mind that we are not alone on earth. On the contrary, the world has become much smaller today, with everyone walking around with a camera in their pocket, “Sjurdarberg told local broadcaster KVF. “This is a fabulous gift for those who want us to (look bad) when it comes to catching pilot whales.”
The president of the Pilot Whale Hunting Association feared that the slaughter of the pilot would revive the discussion about the traditions
Faroese Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard told local radio station Kringvarp Foeroya that everything was done according to the book on dolphin hunting.
For years, the Seattle-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has opposed marine mammal campaigns dating back to the late 16th century. On Facebook, the organization described the weekend’s events as “an illegal hunt.”
White-faced dolphins and pilot whales are not endangered species.
Each year, the islanders drive herds of mammals, mainly pilot whales, into shallow waters, where they are stabbed to death. A hook is used to secure beached whales and their spine and main artery leading to the brain are cut with knives. The number of mammals is regulated by law and meat and fat are shared at the community level.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.