Grindadráp is the local name for a yearly event that sees the people of the Faroe Islands, an archipelago under Denmark, hunt pilot whales as well as other marine animals such as bottlenose dolphins, white-sided dolphins and Risso’s dolphins. The first of such event was recorded as early as 1584. Grindadráp involves stranding entire pods of small cetaceans on certain designated beaches. They’re then killed.
In recent years, the annual event has come into the international spotlight over its “inhumane” slaughtering methods and the lack of regulation. Despite continued campaigns by activists, locals cling to an ancient tradition. Over the past three centuries, the Faroese have taken an average of 838 pilot whales each year.
The first Grindadrap of this year took place on May 21 when 84 pilot whales were killed. Government statistics show that a total of 295 whales have been killed since then. Grindadrap events will occur throughout summer.
A spokesman for the Faroe Islands government said:
There is no doubt that whale hunts in the Faroe Islands are dramatic and result in a lot of blood in the water. They are, nevertheless, well organised and fully regulated. The way the whales are killed is humane, as many hunters use a special “spinal lance” that kills the whales within seconds. Whaling is a natural part of Faroese life and pilot whale meat and blubber are a cherished supplement to households across the islands.
Animal rights group, Sea Shepherd’s Campaign Leader, Geert Vons said:
You can’t explain to someone what a pod of dolphins looks like when they’re in absolute sheer panic. They’re swimming in each other’s blood. You see babies who don’t want to leave their mothers’ bodies. They are so exhausted after being driven that some of them just drop on their sides. Some of them die of sheer exhaustion.