- Close to 1,500 dolphins were killed on a Faroe Islands beach as part of a traditional hunt.
- The Sea Shepherd, an animal activist group, said it counted 1,428 white-sided dolphins killed in the hunt.
- The group accused hunters of prolonging the dolphins’ suffering by leaving them bleeding on the beach.
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An animal activist group has shared shocking footage of a beach full of bloody dolphins that it says were killed as part of a traditional hunting event called the “Grind” in the Faroe Islands.
The Sea Shepherd, a British-based animal welfare group, posted graphic photos of the hunt on September 12. The group documented scores of dolphins being driven into the shallows and killed by hunters who stabbed the dolphins while they writhed on the beach.
The “Grind” (or Grindadráp in Faroese) is a hunting tradition that dates back hundreds of years. It is held on the remote Faroe Islands, a Danish territory located halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The legal mass hunting event takes place every summer and involves sea mammals like pilot whales and dolphins being killed by hand, usually by knife or spinal lance. Their meat is harvested for human consumption.
Footage shared by other animal activist groups on Twitter showed the waters around the beach stained red from the hunt.
-Blue Planet Society (@Seasaver) September 13, 2021
-Desdemona Despair (@DesdemonaDes) September 15, 2021
In a Facebook post on September 13, the Sea Shepherd accused an unnamed local “grindforemann” (or hunting leader) of driving the pod of 1,428 dolphins to shore despite knowing there wouldn’t be enough hunters to handle the volume of dolphins, resulting in needless loss of life beyond the hunt’s usual haul.
“A man like that can not have the responsibility to decide the fate of migrating whales and dolphins again. The only right thing to do is to strip him of his authority and to ban all future hunts on white-sided dolphins,” wrote the group.
Faroese leaders admit there was a ‘big mistake’
The scale of Sunday’s hunt prompted an outcry from activists and marine biologists, per the BBC.
The BBC spoke to Bjarni Mikkelsen, a marine biologist from the Faroe Islands, who said this was the highest kill count of dolphins ever recorded in the Faroe Islands. Mikkelsen told the BBC the previous record was 1,200 dolphins killed, a tally reported in 1940.
According to statistics from Sea Shepherd, 463 long-finned pilot whales and 35 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were killed in 2020.
The chairman of the Faroese Whalers Association, Olavur Sjurdarberg, acknowledged to the BBC this year’s hunt was “excessive.”
Sjurdarberg, who told the BBC that he did not participate in the hunt himself, said there was a “big mistake” when hunters underestimated the size of the dolphin pod to be 200 at most. He explained that they only realized how many dolphins there were when the killing started.
“Somebody should have known better. Most people are in shock about what happened,” Sjurdarberg told the BBC. Sjurdarberg did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Heri Petersen, the chairman of the local Grind hunting association, told local news outlet In.fo too many dolphins were herded into the bay, with not enough hunters on hand to dispatch them.
“I’m appalled at what happened,” Petersen told In.fo. “The dolphins lay on the beach writhing for far too long before they were killed.”
The Faroe Islands Ministry of Fisheries did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.