The ocean conservation group Sea Shepherd Global gave photos to Fox News depicting a bloody whale hunt in the Faroe Islands.
The Faroese tradition of hunting pilot whales dates back more than four centuries. Groups of hunters use boats to herd a group of the whales into shallow water, where the animals are then killed and dragged onto the beach, Fox News reports.
The beach and water are drenched in blood during the ordeal. Whale hunters use a device called a spinal lance to kill the animals. Hunters thrust the lance into the whale’s spine, severing the spinal cord and cutting off blood flow to the brain. The animal is unconscious within seconds, but it continues to lose most of its blood.
Sea Shepherd took the images to expose and stop “the continued barbaric killing of dolphins and pilot whales by the Faroese,” the group’s U.K. Director Rob Read wrote in an email to Fox News.
The conservation organization has targeted the Faroese tradition before. The Faroese say their whale harvesting methods are no crueler than what happens in slaughterhouses.
“Naturally, there is a lot of blood running into the ocean. It may look gory, but it’s no worse than what you would see in any slaughterhouse,” native Faroese and founder of the band Týr Heri Joensen wrote in The Spectator. “Like any modern country, the Faroe Islands have strict welfare regulations: vets say [the spinal lance] is the most humane method to kill a whale.”
Joensen then adds that those trying to cut off Faroe Island communities from one of their main food sources are of the “same mindset as flat-earthers or the conspiracy theorists who argue that the vapour trails left by jet engines are full of mind-controlling chemicals.”
Whale hunting has survived in the Faroe Islands because of its status as a self-governing province of Denmark, able to make and enforce its own laws. Most of Europe abides by the European Union’s ban on whale hunting, but the Faroe Islands remain separate from the association even though Denmark is not.
See some photos of the Faroese practice below:
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