Hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins have been slaughtered as part of an annual ritual on the shores of the Faroe Islands, an archipelago between Iceland and Norway.
Locally known as Grindadrap, whale harvesting is a centuries-old practice dating back to 1584. Due to the remote location of the island, the locals have historically relied on the meat and blubber of pilot whales as their major source of food.
Graphic images from this year’s hunt have made its way to the internet, provoking strong reactions from social media users.
The killing of the mammals on such a large scale has turned the sea red, prompting criticism from animal rights organisations as well.
“Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent creatures and feel pain and fear every bit as much as we do,” PETA UK wrote on its official website.
Although commercial whaling is banned in most parts of the world, Faroe islanders are allowed by law to harvest whale meat to be distributed to the community.
“Whaling is a natural part of Faroese life and pilot whale meat and blubber are a cherished supplement to households across the islands. Whaling in the Faroe Islands is conducted in accordance with international law and globally recognised principles of sustainable development,” Faroe Islands’ spokesperson Pall Nolsoe said in a statement last year defending the practice.
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