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The Faroe Islands’ biggest ever dolphin massacre as fishermen kill 1,428 animals in traditional hunt

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Hunters in the Faroe Islands slaughtered 1,428 dolphins in one of the largest massacres on record, with the sea turning red with blood as the beaches were lined with their corpses.

Boats drove the Atlantic white-sided dolphins to the coast of Skálafjørður, where men waited in the shallows with hooks, knives and spears as part of the local tradition.

The latest massacre is the largest ever documented in the Faroe Islands, where locals participate in the massacre known as the Grindadrap or Grind in the Faroe Islands.

Hunters in the Faroe Islands have slaughtered 1,428 dolphins in one of the largest carnage on record, leaving the sea red with blood as the beaches were covered with their corpses

Boats drove the animals to the coast of Skálafjørður, where men waited in the shallows with hooks, knives and spears as part of the local tradition

Boats drove the animals to the coast of Skálafjørður, where men waited in the shallows with hooks, knives and spears as part of the local tradition

The latest massacre is the largest ever documented in the Faroe Islands, where locals participate in the massacre known as the Grindadrap or Grind in the Faroe Islands

The latest massacre is the largest ever documented in the Faroe Islands, where locals participate in the massacre known as the Grindadrap or Grind in the Faroe Islands

Faroese are divided on the Grind, but many are urging foreign media and NGOs to respect their traditional island culture, where fishing remains central and the meat is preserved as food

Faroese are divided on the Grind, but many are urging foreign media and NGOs to respect their traditional island culture, where fishing remains central and the meat is preserved as food

The Faroese are divided on the Grind, but many are urging foreign media and NGOs to respect their traditional island culture, where fishing takes center stage and the meat is preserved as food.

Animal rights activists have condemned the “barbaric” practice, but others say it is an important part of their local tradition.

The Grindadrap dates back to the 9th century when Normans first settled the North Atlantic Islands.

It is still the only form of native whaling in Western Europe.

Environmental organization Sea Shepherd regularly documents the killings that have resulted in the deaths of more than 8,000 whales and dolphins over the past decade.

The animal rights activists have been active in the Faroe Islands since the early 1980s, taking direct action against the Grind with their own boats.

Animal rights activists have condemned the 'barbaric' practice, but others say it is an important part of their local tradition

Animal rights activists have condemned the ‘barbaric’ practice, but others say it is an important part of their local tradition

The Grindadrap dates back to the 9th century when Normans first settled the North Atlantic Islands

The Grindadrap dates back to the 9th century when Normans first settled the North Atlantic Islands

The organization’s chief operating officer, Rob Read, 47, said: “This murder is of a very different magnitude – it is astonishingly unprecedented.

“The meat is no longer needed in the Faroe Islands these days and it shouldn’t be, let alone in these numbers.

“There were too many to kill humanely, if at all possible. Today it’s nothing more than sport, with tradition as its justification, and that’s why we campaign against it.’

Part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands is an archipelago located 230 miles northwest of mainland Scotland.

Similar hunts are known to take place in Peru, Japan and the Soloman Islands.

Rob said: ‘A lot of people aren’t even aware of this practice – it’s such a cruel thing to do. No animal is spared in these killings – adults, calves and even pregnant mothers.

“But this particular hunt is completely unprecedented on a scale never seen before in recent hunting history around the world.”

“It might be the biggest yacht ever, and that’s terrible.

“This is why we will never give up on resisting it and we are committed to raising awareness to make change.”

Environmental organization Sea Shepherd regularly documents the killings that have resulted in the deaths of more than 8,000 whales and dolphins over the past decade

Environmental organization Sea Shepherd regularly documents the killings that have resulted in the deaths of more than 8,000 whales and dolphins over the past decade

The animal rights activists have been active in the Faroe Islands since the early 1980s, taking direct action against the Grind with their own boats

The animal rights activists have been active in the Faroe Islands since the early 1980s, taking direct action against the Grind with their own boats

In 2015, changes in legislation prevented Sea Shepherd boats from interrupting the hunt, so it launched a crew on land to tackle the Grind by documenting it with photographers stationed on shore and drones in the air. .

Robert Read, chief operating officer at Sea Shepherd, said: “The grindadrap is a barbaric relic of a bygone era. An unnecessary hunt for hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins that should have ended a century ago and is not needed to feed anyone on the islands.’

After a pod has been located, the Faroese often herd the animals for many hours on pleasure boats, fishing boats and sometimes even jet skis, creating a ‘wall of noise’ from their boat engines to force the pod to the nearest designated killing bay.

Men waiting in shallow water storm into the sea, dragging the whales alive with ropes on clevis hooks that they ram through the whale’s blowhole.

In 2015, changes in legislation prevented Sea Shepherd boats from interrupting the hunt, so it launched a crew on land to tackle the Grind

In 2015, changes in legislation prevented Sea Shepherd boats from interrupting the hunt, so it launched a crew on land to tackle the Grind

After a pod has been located, the Faroese often herd the animals for many hours on pleasure boats, fishing boats and sometimes even jet skis

After a pod has been located, the Faroese often herd the animals for many hours on pleasure boats, fishing boats and sometimes even jet skis

Men waiting in shallow water run into the sea and drag the whales alive with ropes on clevis hooks that they ram through the whale's blowhole

Men waiting in shallow water run into the sea and drag the whales alive with ropes on clevis hooks that they ram through the whale’s blowhole

Killers closer to shore then attempt to sever the whale's spinal cord with a lance and then use a knife to cut through the animal's neck

Killers closer to shore then attempt to sever the whale’s spinal cord with a lance and then use a knife to cut through the animal’s neck

It could be a long time before the last whales and dolphins are killed, tossed about in blood-filled waters as boats block any escape

It could be a long time before the last whales and dolphins are killed, tossed about in blood-filled waters as boats block any escape

The Faroe Islands Veterinary Service calculated the average kill time during grindadrap hunts to be 12.7 minutes, although Sea Shepherd crews often record kills taking more than 20 minutes

The Faroe Islands Veterinary Service calculated the average kill time during grindadrap hunts to be 12.7 minutes, although Sea Shepherd crews often record kills taking more than 20 minutes

Killers closer to shore then attempt to sever the whale’s spinal cord with a lance and then use a knife to cut through the animal’s neck.

It can be a long time before the last whales and dolphins are killed, tossed about in blood-filled waters as boats block any escape.

The Faroe Islands Veterinary Service calculated the average kill time during grindadrap hunts to be 12.7 minutes, although the Sea Shepherd crew often records kills exceeding 20 minutes.

Despite calls to end the hunt, Faroese insist that it is sustainable and regulated by law.

In September 2018, Sea Shepherd even offered the islanders $1 million for 10 consecutive years without whaling.

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