Slaughter season in Faroes set to break records as over 900 whales and dolphins killed so far

Conservation news


In the wake of the latest Faroe Islands grind last Friday that saw the killing of 42 more pilot whales, a new report challenges claims that annual Faroese drive hunts are humane, sustainable and an integral part of local culture.

The latest hunt brings the total of whales and dolphins killed in the islands during 2023 to more than 900 – far higher than the usual average of some 685 whales. The hunting season is largely dictated by weather and so may not conclude for another month.

The report, Unravelling the Truth: Whale killing in the Faroe Islands, presents evidence-based arguments to take a critical look at the main justifications for the on-going hunting of long-finned pilot whales and other small cetaceans in the Faroe Islands

The report contains the insightful results of an opinion poll undertaken in the Faroes last October on attitudes to the hunt. Support for the pilot whale grind and for continuing to kill pilot whales in the Faroes is high at 84%. But respondents were far less supportive of the dolphin hunt with the majority (53%) opposed. There was just 33% support for killing dolphins and 15% of respondents were undecided.

Support for the grind seems to be based more on its principle and the Islanders belief that it is their right that should be maintained, since only 38% of respondents had taken part in it several times or more. 39% of islanders (2 in 5) had never taken part in the grind and 22% either once or occasionally. 66% of Faroese people didn’t agree with pilot whale meat being sold commercially. 70% of islanders ate whale meat at most once every other month or not at all.

Sally Hamilton, CEO of ORCA said “This report is a timely reminder of the cruel and unsustainable whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroes. It’s both an insightful glimpse into the strength of national feeling about the grind, and an eye-opener about the supposed subsistence need the whale meat fulfills, given the number of islanders who even eat it.”

“It also demonstrates the lack of support for the dolphin hunt with just 1 in 3 islanders agreeing with it.”

The report was supported by Animal Welfare Institute, Environmental Investigation Agency, Oceanic Preservation Society, Humane Society International, OceanCare and Pro-Wildlife.