Massacring Species

Last week it was reported that the largest massacre of bottlenose dolphins in Faroe Islands’ history took place. After being driven 45km for over five hours by speed boats and jet-skis, 100 dolphins were brutally slaughtered as part of the Islands’ traditional whale hunt called “Grindadráp“.

This violent massacre that is executed several times a year and can reach about 1,000 whales and dolphins annually, is practiced since the 10th century, passing from generation to generation from the medieval whalers, and is considered an important tradition, a rite of passage that turns boys into men.

It starts when a pod of whales (mostly pilot whale) is spotted near the islands or near channels between them. The message is passed to the elected whaling officials and to the district sheriff, and the word is spread as widely and as quickly as possible to the community, so the men can drop whatever they are doing and ardently rush to their boats.

The islanders surround the pod with their boats in a wide semicircle, separating the whales from the open sea, and slowly drive them towards the bay. On the foreman’s signal, stones attached to nets are thrown behind the whales along with a lot of noise making to frighten the whales, driving them towards the beach where they become stranded in the shallow water. Here they are totally helpless against the human brutal attack coming from the shore.

The whales are stoned, speared, stabbed, slashed, and clubbed. The killing is done using traditional knives with blades of 16 to 19 centimeter long, making a cut across the back and down to the spinal cord. The severing of the spinal cord causes a very powerful muscular spasm throughout the body of the whales, after which they are paralyzed, dying of blood lose. It takes several minutes of indescribable pain until the whales die.

Whales who are not stranded far enough up on shore are hauled by striking a steel pointed hook, or a gaff into their back. Since whales have smooth skin and since they panicky try to escape, it often takes several times to get it deep enough. Then they are dragged to shore with a rope attached to the hook to be slaughtered.

The pilot whales form some of the most cohesive social groups in nature and won’t abandon each other even in situations of mortal danger. This of course enhances the terror as they are swimming in the blood of their family members watching them severely beaten and slaughtered.

After the killing is over the carcasses are divided between the people of the community.

This slaughter is done in a festive atmosphere in which everybody participates. People tend to drink a lot, and children even get a day off of school so they can join the fun, watch the terrified whales being murdered and climb over whale carcasses.

Obviously there is something outrageous about the hypocrite outrage of so many people at this particular brutal slaughter of this particular beloved nonhuman animal while actively supporting the immensely greater brutal slaughter of other kinds of nonhuman animals.
But much more outrageous is the fact that even the outrage of so many people at this brutal slaughter doesn’t manage to stop even a ritual slaughter of one of humans’ most beloved animal. So when will the common systematical brutal slaughter of nonhuman animals that humans consider merely as a course on their plate, would ever end?

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