Up to 300 pilot whales have been slaughtered in the second whale hunt of the season in the Faroes, which took place on July 30 in Fuglafjørður on the northern Island of Esturoy. The last hunt that took place in this area was at the end of November 2012 when 45 pilot whales were killed.
The staggering number of pilot whales taken in this latest hunt make it one of the largest in the past few years and follows the 125 killed in the opening hunt of the 2013 season earlier in July.
The drive hunts are an extremely inhumane practice where entire family groups of pilot 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.
The hunts, or grinds, can be carried out in any of 22 sanctioned bays around the Faroe Islands, where sandy beaches make it easier to drive the pilot whales close to shore. Although there is no formal scheduled drive hunt season, the grinds often occur as early as May and during the summer months when pods may be closer to shore for mating and breeding, but can extend through November.
A WDC team recently visited the Faroe Islands conducting outreach to local communities, and we are urging the Faroe Islanders to bring a permanent end to the hunting of pilot whales and other species of whales and dolphins.