Monday, August 2, 2010

Videos Show Communal Whale Hunt on Danish Island

Residents of the Faroe Islands, an autonomous part of Denmark, took part in a communal hunt for pilot whales on July 23. The New York Times' Dot Earth blog uncovered this explanation from Faroes' Ministry of Fisheries:

"The pilot whale hunt in the Faroes is, by its very nature, a dramatic and bloody sight. Entire schools of whales are killed on the shore and in the shallows of bays with knives which are used to sever the major blood supply to the brain. This is the most efficient and humane means of killing these animals under the circumstances, but it naturally results in a lot of blood in the water. It is also understandable that there have been many strong reactions to media reports and pictures of the hunt in other countries, especially in urban communities, where most people have never actually been witness to the slaughtering processes from which their own meat derives."

User name: mincewhale
Location: Torshavn, Faroe Islands, Denmark
Date uploaded: July 27
Event date: July 23
Views: 11,387
User notes: I posted the video clip for mainly two reasons.

Whale slaughter is a spectacular event with much blood. Many of the pictures shown in the media are vivid, graphic and provoking, giving much to an imagination to work with. Not always intended to inform people, but to impress. And sometimes even used to play on emotions to provoke and gain support for a cause. Killing animals is and should be horrible, or at least unpleasant.
I wanted the full story to be told and watched, by giving a real time overview of the event, so that the graphic images can be understood in the context of the event.

I wanted the performance of the people making the whale drive to be seen, and also how the killing was done. Knowing it was exemplary compared to some botched slaughter in Klaksvik that was portrayed as such in the media, and evoked outrage internationally and also amongst the Faroese.

The number of pilot whales killed in this video was said to be 108, and they were a splinter group of a larger drove passing by the Faroe Islands. The whale killing itself was said to last somewhere between 5-7 minutes. That means that a whale died every third second after the stranding.
Soon after the stranding of the pilot whales, report of another whale drove was reported. When that drove was discovered to consist of white beaked dolphins, that whale drive was aborted.

Much has been done to improve on the whale killing procedures and in the use of tools. To lessen the pain and stress inflicted on the animals, and to hasten the process. This video demonstrates that improvements are successful. One example is the hook used to draw the whales to the shore. It used to be line with a sharp edged hook that was stabbed into the flesh of the whale, so that the men on the beach holding the line, could pull it in. This hook has now been replaced with a blunt hook designed to be pushed into the blowhole of the whale, and it is being used successfully.

Each year has on average 10 whale drives with a mean total of 800 whales. A number that accounts for about 0.1% of the estimated population of pilot whales.

I have eaten some of the whale, and am thankful for it, I have seen the cost.

The video is unedited, except that it only contains the first 5 eventful minutes.
Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

User name: koyrilararin
Location: Torshavn, Faroe Islands, Denmark
Date uploaded: July 27
Event date: July 23
Views: 46
Click here to watch this video on YouTube.


Anonymous said...

Well documented. If city dwellers ever watched the killing of cattle, all so they can enjoy that nice prime rib in the fancy resturant in Manhatten, they'd take a different view of this practice, which is no less humane. All food is given away, none sold, and every part of the whale is utilized and eaten.

They activists should take up a better cause... like the outlawing the sport of bull fighting - torture the bull, all for sport.

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