Faroe Islands investigate dolphin killings after record slaughter


The Copenhagen-Faroe Islands said Thursday that they would review regulations governing the centuries-old tradition of dolphin drive hunting after graphic footage of the record-breaking slaughter of hundreds of people prompted protests.

According to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society campaign group, more than 1,400 Atlantic white-sided dolphins flocked to shallow waters by boat or jet ski and were killed on the beach on Sunday.

A US-based organization has released a video showing how people turn red when cutting parts of a dolphin with a knife. It described hunting as “brutal.”

The Faroe Islands have defended a tradition known as grind (or Faroese in Faroese) of supporting dolphin and whale herds and slaughtering them on the beach for decades.

However, the North Atlantic government said in a statement Thursday that the latest catch was “abnormal” due to the size of the pods and would investigate regulations on practices.

“We take this issue very seriously. These hunts are considered sustainable, but we hunt dolphins and what role they play in the Faroe Islands society. We will scrutinize what should be done, “said Prime Minister Bárdorá Steig Nielsen.

Hunted meat is traditionally divided among the islanders.

Former Fisheries Minister Høgni Hoydal, leader of the opposition Republican Party and co-creator of the current whaling law, told Reuters that he received about 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of delicate lean dolphin meat on Monday.

“My claim is that the killing of fellow whales and dolphins is probably the most sustainable use of natural resources found in the modern world, unless the population is threatened,” Huidal said.

“But I understand that some people react (to the number of dolphins slaughtered), and that it’s clearly a bloody case,” he added.

About 4 to 5,000 inhabitants have collected some of their catch, all of which was distributed free of charge, Hoidal said.

According to the government, Sunday catch was record. He added that on average, about 250 dolphins and 600 pilot whales are captured in the fellow’s waters each year.