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Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Bay of Blood (Stop this Merciless Killing)

The Faroes are a group of about 30 islands located in the North Atlantic Ocean, situated halfway between Iceland and Scotland. They fall under the crown of Denmark, but are semi-independent. The population is about 46,000, and they inhabit about half of the islands. They depend soley on commercial fishing for their livelihood.

For hundreds of years, the people of the Faroes have hunted the pods of pilot whales which swim near their shores. The hunt, known as the Grindadrap is usually in the summer months, and hasn't changed since the first hunt, hundreds of years ago, although, with modern technology, it has gotten much easier. Power boats, radios, and echo-sounders make life great for these "hunters".

As soon as the first pod of pilot whales is sighted near the coast, the hunt begins. The boat which spots the whales radios the other boats in the area, and they join to form a half circle around the whales, and begin driving them towards shore.

Notified of the whales' arrival by public radio, the islanders wade out into the water, hoping to drive a hook into a whale's head. The whale is then dragged to shore, where they are murdered with a knife used just for this gruesome purpose - a grindkniver. This weapon is 18cm long, (7 inches) and is used to sever the animal's carotid artery and jugular vein.

The whales are then butchered, the meat and blubber is handed out, free of charge to the local inhabitants. Priority goes to the ones who actually did the slaughtering. The lucky fellow who first spotted the whales gets his "pick of the litter" - the biggest, or its equal in smaller ones. The whale foremen, or grindaforemenn who oversee the massacre are guaranteed one per cent, each, of the meat.

International attention has been focused on the Faroes for several years. We argue that the killing is cruel and inhumane, there is no need for it, now that they are a modern society, and most of the meat goes to waste. Faroese scientists claim that there is no decline in the population of the pilot whales in the area, and that what they kill has no effect on the world population of pilot whales.

Between 1970 and 1979, an average of 960 whales were destroyed each year. In 1981, 2,973 were murdered....and the number grows yearly. In 1988, 544 Atlantic white sided dolphins were added to the Faroes' hit a SINGLE DAY.

Pilot whales in the North Atlantic are known to contain high levels of mercury, due either to pollution or to the naturally occurring mercury which seeps from the numerous volcanic vents along the North Atlantic Ridge. In 1981, the Faroe's own Department of Hygiene recommended that the whale meat should not be eaten more than once a week, and the liver not eaten at all. At the time of this recommendation, the Department had only tested the amount of mercury in the whales' tissues. It has since been proven that the meat and blubber of the whales also contain very high levels of PCBs, DDT, and dieldrin.

To the people of the Faroe Islands...I say, "STOP THIS SENSELESS MASSACRE!!!" Anyone who could bury a hook into the back of a whale, drag it to shore, slit its throat, and butcher it, deserves to die of mercury poisoning...or worse.


Ner said...

this is so sad indeed :'(
this should be stopped!

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