Faroe Islands Grind Tradition or Adrenaline Rush?

By Kirsten Massebeau

A modern society, and one of the most beautiful destinations in the world the Faroe Islands are given a score of 87 by National Geographic in their ratings of “North and West Europe Destinations”. “Superb glaciated landscape with improbably steep slopes. Little flat land. Local society unified and resolutely Faroese, not Danish, with their own language. Built heritage, down to the grass roofs, reasonably protected, certainly cherished. Most tourists adventurous and well-informed.”(Source).

A modern society, combined with the beauty and culture of a Viking heritage is touted as an attractor for people from all over the world who are encouraged by The Faroe Islands Ministry of Trade and Industry to visit and invest in the islands many industries:

Invest In The Faroes” states:

The community of the Faroe Islands is modern and highly developed with a standard of living that is comparable to other Scandinavian countries.

In 2007, the National Geographic Traveler and the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations named the Faroe Islands the world’s most unspoiled island community and appealing destination to visit.

The Faroe Islands are not merely a delight to the traveller, but also offer a good quality of life to the people who inhabit the archipelago (source)

Invest in the Faroes lists: Fish FarmingMarine BiotechSuppliers to the Maritime Industries, and Marine Research & Development encouraging investors in all areas. In addition oil exploration began and was licensed in 2000. “Drilling the eight exploration well started in 2012 and continues in 2013 with Statoil as the operator in partnership with ExxonMobil and Atlantic Petroleum“.(source).

Sadly the beauty and sophistication of the islands is marred by a tradition that the some of the Faroe Islanders flatly refuse to give up called the grind (grindadráp). The meat has been deemed unfit for human consumption yet huge grinds continue. In 2013, 1534 pilot whales and of that number 430 Atlantic White Sided Dolphins were slaughtered (source and break down). Despite the toxicity of the meat, Faroe Island Whalers contend the grind is necessary: “For the Faroe Islands – an island nation overwhelmingly dependent on what the sea can provide –  the conservation and sustainable management of all living marine resources, including marine mammals is of vital importance”(source).

Graphic Footage!

The Faroese are well aware the pilot whale meat is now toxic yet as the news of small whales being driven into the shores reach the inhabitants of the islands supporters of the grind drop everything to run to the shorelines killing defenseless families of whales, taking far more meat and blubber than could ever be eaten in the off season. So why does the grind continue? Tradition or adrenaline rush?

 “There is nothing exciting about my job, and joining in the pilot whale kill is a way for me to make up for that. The atmosphere at the kill is incredibly intense and electrifying, and I enjoy being a part of it. For a brief moment I feel vibrant and alive”(source). 

It is a sad day when huge pods of small whales, their numbers data deficient, their flesh toxic, and the killing method so terribly inhumane continues to occur routinely each year for what seems an “adrenaline rush” that may someday cause extinction of the whales, and poisons the people who consume it.

  • JOIN our TWEETSTORM on November 19th to voice an end to the Faroe grind. The grind is the hunt of pilot whales and other dolphins in the Faroe Islands.TWEETSTORM TIME ANNOUNCER: ► http://bit.ly/18CAt1E
    COUNTDOWN TO TWEETSTORM: ► http://bit.ly/19s4zo1LIST OF PRE-MADE TWEETS WILL BE AVAILABLE SHORTLY BEFORE THE SCHEDULED TWEETSTORM.ATTENTION: We know the slaughters are horrible but please refrain from calling the Faroese names such as “murderers” or “psychopaths”. Not all Faroese participate in the slaughters and/or eat dolphin meat and name calling is both unfair and hinders progress to stop the slaughters. So please keep this in mind because we will delete EVERY instance of such comments immediately we see them and repeat offenders will be asked to leave this event.

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