The traditional annual killing of whales and dolphins sparked controversy on Tuesday when it emerged that more than 1,400 marine animals were killed in this year’s event, according to Danish media reports.
The so-called “grindadrap” hunting has been going on for over four hundred years on the small North Atlantic islands belonging to Denmark. But a large number of animals killed on Sunday raised fears that the islands’ reputation could be tarnished.
Environmental organization Sea Shepherd posted a longer video Facebook Showcasing the slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins, it is said to be the largest group of animals killed at once on the islands.
Switzerland-based maritime organization OceanCare also criticized the practice, saying “a line has been crossed here and a new dimension of hunting has reached.”
Islanders typically kill 1,000 marine mammals each year. Last year, they killed only 35 white-sided dolphins.
Many involved in the hunting tradition have distanced themselves from this year’s killing, with the former president of the Faroese Association for Pilot Whaling telling a local broadcaster that it was excessive.
Foremen from a separate group who drive pilot whales to shore on another island said they were not aware of the large dolphin drive and had “strongly isolated” themselves from it.
The islands’ fisheries minister, Jakob Vestergaard, told radio broadcaster Kringwerp Foroya that the dolphins were hunted by the book.
Neither pilot whales nor white-sided dolphins are at risk. Hunting is usually focused on whales rather than dolphins.
The animals are taken to shallow water where they are cut with knives. Murder is governed by local laws. Animal meat and blubber are shared among the community.