While not much speaks of the tradition itself, the atrocious slaughter nonetheless does occur in the Faroes, and has been practiced since at least the 10th century. Nearly 1,000 are killed annually in the Cgrindadr whale hunt typically occurring during summer months.
These highly social animals travel in pods of up to 200, following their favorite meals preys of squid and mackerel.
As schools of whales are spotted in the narrow channels and fjords, messengers spread the news among the islanders, and a bonfire is lit at a specific location to inform those on the neighboring island where the same pattern then is followed. Others use cell phones and various further methods of communication to ready the islanders for the hunt.
They rush to their boats to surround the creatures in a wide semi-circle. On the whaling-foremans signal, stones attached to lines are thrown into the water, and the whales are driven to land where they then beach themselves in shallow water. Islanders are not allowed by law to take the whales on the ocean-side of the rope.
Once ashore, men slaughter the pilot whales from babies to mature adults in a flurry of blood and spray by severing their spinal cords, cutting through the dorsal area with sharp knives called a grindaknvur. The sea and shoreline become saturated with the spills of their blood in a gruesome display.
During the cut of a pilot whales spine, their main arteries are also cut. Since the whales are killed manually, death cannot by definition be instantaneous, taking anywhere from about 30 seconds to several minutes to die.
THIS IS AN ACT OF BARBARISM! STOP THIS RITUAL!
Faroese government contact information:
Prime Minister's Office
FO- 110 Trshavn
Tel: 298 351010
Fax: 298 351015
Faroe Islands Tourist Board contact information:
Faroe Islands Tourist Board
Samvit Faroe Islands Enterprise
P.O. Box 118