“The grind,” or “grindadráp,” the annual slaughter of hundreds of dolphins and whales that takes place in the autonomous Danish province of the Faroe Islands, has begun. Sea Shepherd has sent two ships, the Sam Simon and the Bob Barker, to the region in an attempt to stop the hunt. Faroe islanders maintain that the slaughter is an ancient tradition that should be allowed to continue.
Small boats herd the cetaceans into bays so that the locals can hack them to death using hooks and knives, with entire villages—children included—taking part. The islanders consume the meat and the blubber, which are considered delicacies. However, in recent years, fears over heavy metals in the flesh have curbed the practice, even if the slaughter continues.
“There are no starving Faroe islanders who need whale meat,” says head of Sea Shepherd UK’s operations, Robert Read. “The actual grind is almost like a national honour sport, yet is very different from so many other hunts around the world, in the sense that nothing escapes. If there is a pod of dolphins they will kill every single one, wiping out entire genetic pools.” Over 1,500 pilot whales and dolphins were killed in 2013, according to Read.
Sea Shepherd has regularly tried to stop the slaughter. This year, the group intends to try and steer the migrating animals away from the islands well before they approach.
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