On August 5, 2010, a pod of 80 pilot whales was cruelly slaughtered on the beach of Leynar in the Danish Faeroe Islands. Once again, the grind was merciless, as even pregnant females fell victim to the knives of the Faeroe Islanders. Every summer, hundreds--sometimes thousands--of pilot whales are deliberately stranded before their spinal cords are severed with knives in a centuries-old bloody ritual.
Now that Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Undercover Operative, Sofia Jonsson, has safely left the Faeroes, Sea Shepherd is able to release shocking images that show that little has changed in the Faeroe Islands since the grind in Klaksvik that Sea Shepherd documented two weeks earlier.
Sea Shepherd activist and marine biologist Sofia Jonsson switched out with veteran Peter Hammarstedt after his cover was compromised in Klaksvik. When Jonsson heard news of the bloodshed in Leynar, she immediately headed to the town of Kivik, where the cetaceans had been transported.
According to Jonsson, "When I arrived, I noticed that several pregnant females had been killed, but their babies were nowhere to be seen. The fetuses had all been moved into either big plastic containers or black garbage bags. I realized that they were hiding them from any prying eyes. I was still able to count at least four dead babies."
In Klaksvik, Sea Shepherd was able to document several cases where fetuses had been cut directly out of their mothers' wombs, left to rot on the docks while still attached to the umbilical cord. The images received worldwide attention.
"There was a forklift on the docks that arranged the pilot whales in neat rows," said Jonsson. "As the whalers were cutting up one of the female pilot whales, they realized that she was pregnant. The whalers asked the forklift driver to turn the cetacean around so that they could cut the fetus out without being seen by the public."
In addition to images that show the indiscriminate nature of the grind, Jonsson was also able to document that several whales had multiple wounds to the head, showing that their deaths were far from painless; and she was able to photograph disturbing images of children partaking in the grind.
Jonsson stated, "I saw children helping their parents cut the whales up. I saw children sitting on whales; their idea of play was to make carvings in the blubber of the dead pilot whales. In the Faeroes, slaughtering cetaceans is definitely a family affair."
The grind in Leynar took place before the discovery of the Sea Shepherd vessel Golfo Azzuro by Faeroese authorities. Since then, no pilot whales have been killed in the Faeroe Islands. Sea Shepherd is using noise deterrents to keep the pilot whales away from the Ferocious Islands.
Visit our special Operation Grind Stop website and help us stop the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faeroes