Each summer, over 1,000 long-finned pilot whales are corralled by men in boats and forced into shallow bays in the Faroe Islands and then ruthlessly slaughtered.
During these “drive hunts” or "grinds," boats chase these animals (which are on par with great apes and humans in their mental and emotional capacities for pain and suffering) to shore, where the disoriented creatures are easily gored with metal spears and hooks. Interpersonal bonds are so strong that pilot whales won’t abandon each other even in situations of mortal danger.
The bloodbath begins as soon as the animals reach the shallows. Wielding spears and hooks, islanders wade toward the thrashing, terrified animals en masse. Young and old alike slam heavy metal crowbar-like hooks, called gaffs, into the helpless whales’ bodies - often into the ultra-sensitive blow-hole, waters turn a brilliant red by the time killers sink a 6-inch blade past their blubber and flesh to sever the animal’s spinal cord.
Unbelievably, these drives are festive community events and are conducted under the guise of “Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling.” Even children are encouraged to take part in this gruesome spectacle and are given a day off school, so they don’t have to miss out on the ‘fun.’
While commercial whaling is banned and the whale meat is not sold commercially in the Faroe Islands, you can find it in their restaurants. With over 50,000 people inhabiting 18 islands, each person receives approximately 22 pounds of whale meat each year, whether they need it or not.
The islands have their own government and regulations governing the pilot whale hunt. Similar hunts used to exist in the Hebrides, Shetland and Orkney. However, they were rightfully abandoned decades ago and are now illegal in other European countries.
It is time for this to stop, for us to take a stand and show the Parliament of Denmark, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and the people of Faroe Islands that this is inhumane, unsafe and unacceptable!
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