WDCS is saddened to hear that the first drive hunt, or ‘grind’ of the summer hunting season has taken place in Trongisvágur, Faroe Islands, where 63 pilot whales were killed on Wednesday, May 16th.
The drive hunts are an extremely inhumane practice where entire family groups of whales are rounded up out at sea by small motor boats and driven to the shore where they are killed in shallow bays. Once they beach, blunt-ended metal hooks inserted into their blowholes are used to drag the whales up the beach or in the shallows, where they are killed with a knife cut to their major blood vessels.
The hunts can be carried out in any of 24 sanctioned bays around the Faroe Islands, where sandy beaches provide ideal places to conduct the slaughter.
The last grind at Trongisvagur took place on November 20, 2011 when 21 pilot whales were killed. Although there is no formal scheduled drive hunt season, the grinds often occur in the summer months, as early as May and can extend through August as the peak season for mating and giving birth for pilot whales occurs during this time, bringing the pods closer to the coast. However, hunts can take place at anytime during the year. 1,107 pilot whales were killed in 2010, and 726 in 2011.
WDCS believes that the driving, dragging and killing, all of which takes place within view of their pod members, is intensely stressful and cruel. Pilot whales and other species, including bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic white-sided dolphins and bottlenose whales, are still hunted for their meat in the Faroe Islands.