Faroe Islanders say Pilot Whales a Gift from God

Pilot Whales. Mother and her calf.

Mother and Calf Pilot Whale

Pilot Whales give birth throught the summer months.Gestation about 15 months and nurse for at least two years. The last calf born to a mother may be nursed for as long as 15 years.Calving interval is 5-8 years. Older pilot whales do not give birth as often as younger females, and will eventually reach menopause. Maturity occurs around 10 years of age and maximum longevity is 45 years for males and 60 years for females.

April and springtime means celebrating new life as our planet renews itself. Unfortunately, for sixty pilot whales and their calves the month of April meant on the shores of the Faroe Islands.
When I first saw pictures and video,  of  the grind I was confused as to why the Faroe Islanders killed  entire pods of pilot whales. How can this be considered humane or sustainable. The pilot whale mothers and newborns are so vulnerable. Is it right to take their lives for food when we know they are so very intelligent and did God put these sensitive beings on planet earth for man to eat?”

Pilot Whales are in fact not whales at all, they are part of the dolphin family. They have extremely large brains, and are highly social and intelligent, and live in complex societies. Mothers and their offspring stay together for a lifetime. They speak several dialects, and in captivity have been able to achieve complex tasks. Shouldn’t this be considered at a time when science has proven dolphins are higher beings.

                      Pilot whale mother and baby

Religion and tradition are both used as excuses worldwide for hunting dolphins and whales. Sadly thanks to man’s polluting the ocean pilot whale meat tainted with Mercury and PCB’s causing Parkinson’s and defects in unborn babies. It seems if ever now is the time to end the hunt for the dolphins and for the children.



13 thoughts on “Faroe Islanders say Pilot Whales a Gift from God

  1. Excellent piece Kirsten. The mind just boggles over the ignorance evidenced around the world. To think that people believe that this is okay in modern society, and continue it despite the advancement of our knowledge, astounds me.

  2. This is kind of retarded. The Danish government cant do anything about the whaling in the Faroe Islands, cause the Faroe Islands has their own government, own laws and also own language. Danish people love whales. So why not boycott Faroese products instead? The Faroe Islands wont care if you boycott Danish products, they dont even like Denmark and Danish people so they would just be happy to see someone boycott Danish products.

    • PhilBee I have learned a great deal about the Faeore Islands and Islanders since I wrote this post. A friend at the Examiner.com published a more recent post. http://www.examiner.com/philanthropic-travel-in-national/enchanted-isles-with-a-dark-twist. Although I have a different perspective of the Faeroe Islanders I am still dead against what they have done to the pilot whales for whatever reason. As Louis Psihoyos the director of “The Cove” says there are activists and inactivists who do you want to be? Right now the SSCS is patrolling the Faeroe Islands. This summer not one pilot whale has been killed and that was without coddling.

      • Hi, Kirsten:
        Sadly, no sooner had SS departed the Faroes, then the killings started again.
        Now it transpires that those authorising the grindadrap (ie: the local police chief) imposed a ban on any slaughter UNTIL SS LEFT!!! It was just a ploy to avoid adverse publicity and the ‘Whale Wars’ cameras!

        • Hi Philbee,
          Yes I am aware of what transpired there. Since I became involved in the Faeroe Islands I have made several contacts with Faeroe Islanders and activists that work on the ground directly with the people. 400 pilot whales have died for year 2011. The minute the SSCS left the killing began. So I guess both groups win in a way. The SSCS get to say not one whale was killed while they patrolled the Faeroe Islands, and the Faeroe Islanders get to kill whale still just not on TV. The only loser is the pilot whales. The issue we must look at according to my sources is the amount of pilot whale meat being consumed. If people are following the recommended standards they are only eating a small portion monthly. If you look at the amount of whales killed it is way beyond what the people should or even could eat. So the question where is all the meat going? Into dumpsters? It is a sad day when we as humans just kill for the pleasure of killing another sentient, self aware, highly evolved species.

  3. 1. I am completely against this senseless massacre.
    2. I am also against knee-jerk reactions that spread like wildfire through the Internet, without due care.
    3. I received an email last year (it keeps doing the rounds regularly), that was so riddled with grammatical and factual errors that I did some research to clarify things. Check out my blog, and you’ll see what I mean.


    Don’t misunderstand me – I am very much against this outdated custom. But I warn those who attempt to change the Faroese mindset: it’s a total waste of time swearing and cursing etc. You need a considered approach, perhaps offering solutions, showing a mature understanding of their situation (not AGREEING with them – just being aware of their traditions and thinking). Generate a global groundswell with reason, clarity, purpose, calmness.
    Write to the Faroes Government, NOT the Danish one (it’s not the Danes’ issue, it’s the Faroes’ killings). Aggression will only run off their backs and entrench their behaviour (they are after all descended from Vikings!!).
    Good luck…read my blog and you’ll see what I mean.

    PhilBee, NZ

    • Thank-you for visiting our blog Philbee. I checked out your blog and saw the blog post on your page. I did not write that blog post but obviously the author feels very strongly about the issue. In respect to my posts, I carefully edit prior to publishing. Instead of being critical of other bloggers expend your energy fighting the bad guys. The beauty of the internet and blogging is we have freedom of speech. The author you used as an example has a right to publish whatever he or she wants whether grammatically correct or not. I refuse to treat the Pilot Whaler murders as any more than just that, murders. I have have no understanding of humans capable of such horror and don’t want too.
      P.S. If you are on Facebook their is a huge movement to call the Japanese embassies worldwide and urge them to stop the dolphin drives. The Cove Guardians made sure the world witnessed the dishonorable fisherman of Taiji murder 60 pilot whales on May 4,5, and 6th. We have been networking and calling ever since. Hope to see you there!

      • I appreciate you checking my blog.
        While that post began was a critique of the initial ill-founded email, it morphed into a collection of errors and misconceptions on both sides of the grindadrap battleline.
        You’ll see from the readers’ messages that it garnered input from all sides of the spectrum – including some fairly rational posts from the Faroes and some quite rabid ones from the opposition! As I pointed out, abusing the whalers will achieve nothing but entrenchment and a continuance of the very practice we’d all like to have stopped.
        My research gave me more understanding of why the killings were done in the past…but I’m still no nearer understanding why, in the face of global condemnation, it continues!

  4. The inhabitants of the Faroe Islands are obviously using their strict Evangelical Lutheran religion as a way to rationalize slaughtering the pilot whales. I have had several conversations with Faroe Islanders and they simply refuse to accept that cetaceans, especially pilot whales are anything more than sea cows! The fact of the matter is the Faroe Islands are going against the law! The IWC condemns their massacring of the whales. Their mentality has been compared with that of the Nazis, and the practices of Auschwitz. How sad they can’t make their beautiful country more desirable for travel. Unfortunately, all most of us can think of when the Faroe Islands are mentioned is a sea of blood, filled with hundreds of moaning pilot whales as the Faroes drive a hook into their blow holes. It makes my head hurt to think of the pain those poor creatures feel before they die. What kind of monsters are the Faroe Islanders anyway?

    • Bill you have thoroughly grasped the sad truth that the Faroe’s Inhabitants evangelical religious views have given them the excuse they need to continue murdering the sentient beings of the sea, really all cetaceans. It has been said before that they are a cold people that see the marine mammals as “God’s Bounty” created for their consumpiton. That’s what the bible tells right? Religion has been at the root of most injustice in the world. The good news we are building a foundation of bioecentric people that are trying to save our oceans and planets. If only the barbaric Faroe butchers could evolve beyond their cold nature that allows them to murder mothers and babies who are already struggling to survive.

  5. I had no idea the people that inhabit the Faroe Islands are strict lutheran evangelicals. It seems religious fanatics like the Faroe’s always use their religion as way to substantiate their actions no matter how wrong. I understand at one time little was known about the intelligence of whales, and all cetaceans. Today however, there is extensive research supporting the advanced intelligence of cetaceans. The Faroe Islander’s are a cold cruel people. That is agreed upon by many you in the cyberworld.

    • I had no idea either that the Faroe Islanders were religious fanatics, but when I found out that they were Lutheran Evangelicals it made sense that they would gladly kill any being. They think murdering a whole community of pilot whales is their, “God Given Right”. A sick bunch for sure. Hopefully we will see the end of the grind and soon!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s