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Traditional dolphin slaughter in the Faroe Islands reignites debate

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The traditional slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins over the weekend has reignited debate over the practice in the Faroe Islands.

The four-century-old tradition is to lead marine mammals into shallow waters where they are killed for their meat and fat.

Hunting in the North Atlantic islands is not commercial and is permitted, but environmental activists say it is cruel. Some people in the Faroe Islands who defend this practice fear that this hunt will attract unwanted attention as it was much larger than the previous ones and apparently took place without the usual organization.

Heri Petersen, leader of a group that drives pilot whales to shore on the central Faroe Island of Eysturoy, where the killings took place on Sunday, said he was unaware of the conduct and was was “strongly dissociated” from it.

He told internet media in.fo that there were too many dolphins and too few people on the beach to shoot them down.

Islanders typically kill up to 1,000 marine mammals per year, according to data maintained by the Faroe Islands. Last year that only included 35 white-sided dolphins.

Olavur Sjurdarberg, president of the Faroe Islands Pilot Whale Hunting Association, feared this would rekindle the discussion about training and cast a negative spin on the ancient tradition of the 18 rocky islands located halfway between l ‘Scotland and Iceland. They are semi-independent and are part of the Danish kingdom.

“We have to keep in mind that we are not alone on earth. On the contrary, the world has become much smaller today, everyone walking around with a camera in their pocket, ”Sjurdarberg told local broadcaster KVF. “It’s a treat for those who want to hurt us when it comes to capturing pilot whales. “

Faroese Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard told local radio Kringvarp Foeroya everything was in accordance with the book.

For years, the Seattle-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has opposed impulses that date back to the late 16th century. On Facebook, the organization called the weekend’s events “illegal hunting.”

White-sided dolphins and pilot whales are not endangered species.

Each year, the islanders lead herds of mammals – mostly pilot whales – into the shallows, where they are stabbed to death. A blower hook – said to be harmless – is used to secure stranded whales, and the spine and main artery to the brain are severed with knives. Workouts are regulated by law, and meat and fat are shared on a community basis.

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