Sea turns red with blood as 1,428 dolphins killed in ‘largest ever’ Faroe Islands hunt
1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were slaughtered in the bay of Skálabotnur on Sunday. Shocking pictures have emerged of scores of hookfin porpoises washed up on the shores of the self-governing Danish archipelago, many of which have been bludgeoned to death with knives and harpoons.
The shocking find on Sunday has led experts to believe it is the largest death toll of cetaceans, whales and dolphins ever recorded. Mr Read told The i newspaper: “We’ve been looking at records from all over the world, and its quite possibly the largest hunt of cetaceans, whales and dolphins combined, possibly ever recorded.
“It’s unprecedented in Faroese history, and possibly in recorded history at all. “The largest hunt even close to this – and the Faroese records go back over 500 years – was of 1,200 pilot whales in 1940.”
Mr Read explained hunters traditionally drive jet skis and speed boats into the pod, which then drives the dolphins into shallow water. He added many are killed by motorboat propellers and suffer “a slow and painful death”.
He added: “You had large areas of the bay where dolphins were just thrashing about, and you had dolphins that were still alive being thrown on top of piles of dead dolphins on the beach because there were so many they were being piled up.
“It was a completely unprecedented situation for the Faroe Islands, and that is why it is being criticised even within the Faroese press, even by some staunch pro-whalers.”
“…the Faroe Islands these days is an incredibly modern community, with a similar per capita income as Scandanavian countries like Norway, near-zero poverty, they have imports from all over the world, their shops and supermarkets are very well stocked. So there’s no sort of need for this to continue on a subsistence basis.”
The expert added it is not healthy for humans to consume dolphin meat as it is often “heavily contaminated with industrial pollutants”.
WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: Hunters who killed close to 1500 dolphins may have taken part in the largest ever “dolphin massacre” in the Faroe Islands according to Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia from New York, Captain Watson described Sunday’s incident as “incredibly brutal”, adding that there was no possible way to slaughter such a large number of dolphins humanely.
The killing of an estimated 1428 white-sided dolphins in one day by the Faroese is close to what Japanese fishermen in Taiji take during an entire season.
“They drove these dolphins into the beach or ran over them over, cut them up with the propellers on the boats, and then systematically began to slaughter them,” he said.
Captain Watson fears hunters will become “more violent”.
Known across the islands as the “grindadrap”, which translates as “murder of whales”, some Faroe Islands locals have publicly criticised the “massacre”. “That’s that’s a significant change that there are Faroese people who are opposing it.”
‘Stuff of nightmares’: Children watch on as 1500 dolphins slaughtered
An entire “super pod”, estimated to consist of 1428 white-sided dolphins was herded 40km into waters off the self-governing Danish archipelago. Moments later, dolphins can be seen thrashing as they are slaughtered in shallow waters turned red with blood. Boats bob up in the water surrounding the surviving animals, preventing them from escaping.
Men, women and young children walk among the carcasses piled up along the beach as far as the eye can see. Dolphin bodies are three-deep along the sand and one can be seen writhing on the ground long after having its neck cut with a knife.
Sea Shepherd Australia’s managing director Jeff Hansen told Yahoo News Australia the footage is the “most shocking and disturbing” he has seen since joining the group in 2007.
Describing the scenes as “the stuff of nightmares”, he has urged the global community to call for an end to the annual hunt. “I feel sick to my core seeing such cruel, heartless, barbaric and prolonged suffering of such highly intelligent socially complex beings,” he said.
Mr Hansen added he was particularly concerned about children witnessing the bloodshed, adding the violence is worse than films they would be restricted from viewing.
“There is no classification on earth for this sort of disgusting monstrous behaviour that we see the Faeroese children encouraged to watch,” he said. “The impacts on these young innocent minds can lead to all sorts of catastrophic events later on in life. “There is zero duty of care here, to the dolphins or the young Faeroese children.”
The Faroe Islands along with the Taiji prefecture in Japan, are the last two major strongholds of mass dolphin slaughter.
Outrage on social media has been swift, with many taking to Facebook and Twitter to share their disgust. “I have no words just tears,” wrote one person. “I’m absolutely outraged by this. What on earth are they thinking?” added someone else.
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Image courtesy Sea Shepherd