Since the dolphin and whale hunting season started in the Faroe Islands in May, more than 500 dolphins have already been killed. This autonomous region of Denmark has been traditionally hunting cetaceans for decades to the dismay of animal protection campaigners all over the world. They call the event grindadráp (grind for short), and hunters surround pilot whales and dolphins with a wide semi-circle of fishing boats and drive them into a shallow bay where they are beached. Fishers on the shore kill them with knives, filling the water with blood (the stuff of horror movies). The hunters typically kill about 800 pilot whales a year.

On 14th June 2023, a Faroese government spokesperson told The Guardian, “Yesterday there were two grinds, one with 266 catches and the other with 180, according to the first reports.” The marine wildlife protection NGO Sea Shepherd managed to disrupt the 2014 hunt with its boats, but it has now criticised Denmark for having sent navy vessels to block any protesting ship. 

Pilot whales are one of the largest members of the dolphin family, but they are treated as whales by the Marine Mammals Protection Regulations 1992. They were named pilot whales because each pod was thought to follow a ‘pilot’ in the group.

In 2022, after a campaign that gathered more than 1.3 million signatures, the Faroese government restricted the catching to no more than 500 white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus) alongside the traditional long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) killed at an average of 700 annually. This is because, in 2021, 1,500 dolphins were massacred together with the pilot whales, which exceeded the total for the past 14 years combined. The limit was intended to last only two years, while the Scientific Committee of NAMMCO, the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission, looks into the sustainable catches of white-sided dolphins.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.