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Faroe Islands “License to Kill” Dolphins and Whales Exposed as a Sham

Wednesday, 27 Jul, 2022

One of the arguments that has been used for decades to justify the killing of pilot shales and other dolphins in the Faroe Islands drive hunts – known as the ‘grindadrap’, or ‘grind’ for short – is that the animals don’t suffer because they are killed quickly by locals who have been trained and certified to use special tools. Sea Shepherd has proven both claims to be false.

Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins killed September 12, 2021. Photo by Sea Shepherd.

In September 2021, a super-pod of 1428 Atlantic white sided dolphins were driven by speed boats and jetskis for 45km for over five hours into the bay at Skálabotnur where every single one of them, including juveniles and pregnant females, were killed, making it the single largest cetacean hunt in documented human history. That alone would be shocking, but what our local Sea Shepherd volunteer captured on video was shocking even to those who were used to seeing the grinds: it showed the long, drawn-out suffering of these dolphins as they were clumsily hacked at by the supposedly “trained” locals, many left for dead while still moving, and other bodies on the shore clearly maimed by speedboat propellers. The footage went viral, bringing condemnation from around the world, as well from within the Faroe Islands.

Less than a year later, Sea Shepherd has just exposed the second false-hood: that those participating in the grinds are carefully trained and certified to kill the dolphins and pilot whales quickly with specialized tools.

One of our Danish Sea Shepherd crew members attended the official Faroese Ministry of Fisheries / Pilot Whaling Association’s ‘grindadrap’ course  – a one-hour presentation open to anyone 16 years and up. And even though he couldn’t speak or understand a word of Faroese and never had the opportunity to touch a single killing tool (spinal lance or knife), he received the formal certification to kill pilot whales and dolphins. He didn’t have to show any identification, take any test, or otherwise show that he was even awake during the presentation.    

Watch the video below of our Danish Sea Shepherd crew member Frederik, explaining how easily he managed to get his certification: 

These courses have been required by Faroese authorities since May 2015 in response to years of international criticism about the inhumane and slow deaths of pilot whales and dolphins at the hands of untrained Faroese citizens.  They claim that the training ensures the cetaceans are killed “professionally” using special spinal lances (which, even if used correctly, severs the spine of the animals, paralyzing them while they slowly bleed to death).

“This course, introduced in 2015, has been and continues to be nothing more than a deliberately deceptive attempt by the Faroese Ministry of Fisheries to silence critics both around the world and within their own country.”

Sea Shepherd UK Director Robert Read
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