The Daily Telegraph

Slaughter of dolphins racks up 1,400 in a day

- By Our Foreign Staff

THE government of the Faroe Islands, an autonomous Danish territory, is facing an outcry over the culling of more than 1,400 white-sided dolphins in a day in what was said to be the single biggest hunt in the northern archipelag­o.

“There is no doubt the Faroese whale hunts are a dramatic sight to people unfamiliar to the hunts and slaughter of mammals,” a government spokesman said. “The hunts are, neverthele­ss, well organised and fully regulated.”

Traditiona­lly, the North Atlantic islands, with a population of about 50,000 people, hunt pilot whales and not dolphins, the spokesman said.

“There are usually a few of them in the ‘grind’, but we normally don’t kill such a large number,” said Hallur av Rana, a local television journalist.

The “grindadrap” is a practice in which hunters surround the whales with a wide semi-circle of fishing boats then drive them into a bay to be beached and slaughtere­d. “It looks quite extreme and it took some time to kill them all, while it’s usually pretty quick,” av Rana said.

Photos showing the bloodied bodies of more than 1,000 Atlantic white-sided dolphins on the beach sparked outrage on social media.

Although some 53 per cent of the islands’ population are opposed to the “grind”, there are no plans to abolish it, said av Rana. The authoritie­s insist it is a sustainabl­e way of hunting.

Sea Shepherd, a charity that campaigns against hunting whales and dolphins, described it as “barbaric”.

According to local estimates, there are around 100,000 pilot whales in the waters around the Faroe Islands and around 600 were killed last year.

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