Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter

On July 19, 2010, a pod of 236 pilot whales was ruthlessly slaughtered in the town of Klaksvik in the Danish Faroe Islands

Sea Shepherd Undercover Operative Peter Hammarstedt, also First Mate of Sea Shepherd’s vessel, the Bob Barker, had been living undercover with the ferocious islanders for a week when he heard news of a grind happening in Klaksvik over the radio. He immediately drove to the scene. Grossly outnumbered and unable to physically stop the grind, Hammarstedt documented the bloodshed upon arrival.

“Pilot whales are known to travel in pods of 200-300 members. Two hundred and thirty-six pilot whales were slaughtered last night in Klaksvik: bulls, pregnant and lactating females, juveniles, and unborn babies still attached to their mothers by the umbilical chord. An entire pod that once swam freely through the North Atlantic has been exterminated in a single blood bath,” said Hammarstedt.

“One whale had five to six brutal chops to her head,” reported Hammarstedt. “The islanders basically used her as a chopping board. Her death would have been slow and extremely painful. Some whales are hacked repeatedly for up to four minutes before they finally die.”

“Babies had been cut out of their mother’s dead bodies and left to rot on the docks,” said Hammarstedt, who photographed a number of dead infants and fetuses. “Pilot whale groups are strongly matriarchal; I can’t imagine the fear and panic that these mothers must have felt as their families were wiped out in front of them.”

Pilot whales are classified as “strictly protected” under the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. By allowing the slaughter to continue in the Faeroes, Denmark fails to abide by its obligations as a signatory of the Convention.

Several years ago the health authority of the Faroe Islands warned from human consumption. The meat of pilot whales, which belong to the group of dolphins is contaminated with toxic substances.

What can we do?
Peter Hammarstedt:

“Forty thousand people visit the Faroes as tourists every year. There is huge potential for the tourism industry to grow. Iceland gets over half a million tourists a year. It’s a shame for Faroese business that when you do a Google search for the Faroe Islands, images of dolphin slaughter are the first to come up. I would contact the Faroes Tourism Board and state that you won’t travel there until the grind is stopped.”

Samvit – Faroe Islands Enterprise
Bryggjubakki 12, P.O.Box 118
FO-110 Tórshavn, Tel. 306900, Fax 306901
tourist@tourist.fo, http://www.tourist.fo
www.visit-faroeislands.com, www.samvit.fo

Government & legislation
Ministry of Fisheries: www.fisk.fo
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: www.mfa.fo
Prime Minister’s Office: www.tinganes.fo
Faroese Parliament: www.logting.fo

If you want to support people who do care, read more on www.seashepherd.org
Photos/text credit: Peter Hammarstedt / Sea Shepherd

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