Bloody faces of the whalers following the slaughter. Photo: Julian PattersonBloody faces of the whalers
following the slaughter.
Photo: Sea Shepherd/Julian Patterson
Sea Shepherd volunteers on the ground in the Faroe Islands have captured horrific scenes of the slaughter of a pod of pilot whales which took place at Hvannasund in the north of the island archipelago yesterday morning.

Two Sea Shepherd volunteers were able to film the infamous drive hunt from a distance outside of the one-nautical-mile exclusion limit surrounding the slaughter. Later, volunteers captured shockingly graphic photographs of the aftermath of the slaughter.

Video footage of the slaughter, which is known by the Faroese term “grindadráp” or “grind,” shows one of the killers pulling a knife from his pocket and using it to violently cut a number of the pilot whales.

Since May 2015, the primary killing method permitted in a grindadráp has been a spinal lance. The use of a knife is reportedly permitted only under special circumstances, though it is not clear what these circumstances are.

Operation Sleppid Grindini Land Team Leader, Rosie Kunneke has expressed concern over the apparent lax approach to the regulation of the killing methods. “Faroese authorities have made it very clear that they expect Sea Shepherd – and everyone else visiting the Faroe Islands – to follow the very letter of their grind laws. However, it appears that the laws are considerably more relaxed when it comes to the whale hunters themselves. It is obvious that the Faroese authorities are intent on protecting the continuation of this depraved slaughter while paying only lip service to so-called ‘humane’ killing methods,” she said.

Children play on the carcasses of the slaughtered pilot whales. Photo: Nils GreskewitzChildren play on the carcasses
of the slaughtered pilot whales.
Photo: Sea Shepherd/Nils Greskewitz
The pod of 22 pilot whales was spotted at approximately 0830 local time on Monday morning. The animals were then driven to Hvannasund in the north of the island archipelago, where the entire pod was eventually slaughtered.

Campaign Co-Leader for Operation Sleppid Grindini, Ross McCall, who was also on the ground during the slaughter, has praised the efforts of his fellow Sea Shepherd crewmembers. “It has been a sad day in the Faroe Islands. With the new laws that have been put into place as a move to tie Sea Shepherd’s hands, getting teams to the beach where the pilot whales were being herded was a challenge. With quick thinking and communication, part of Sea Shepherd’s land crew managed to capture the hunt on camera. I, myself, witnessed an excruciating sight – the whales being lifted by crane onto the decks of the dock, blood pouring from the wounds that caused their deaths. Such a shameful sight. But documenting these tragic events is now of the utmost importance in order for Sea Shepherd to show the world.”

The slaughter at Hvannasund is the second grindadráp of 2015. On Saturday June 6, 154 pilot whales were slaughtered on Miðvágur beach on the island of Vágar in the northwest of the Faroe Islands. The grind took place prior to the arrival of Sea Shepherd, and was the largest dolphin slaughter in the islands since 2013.

"The Danish Navy and the Faroese police are strict in enforcing the laws that protect the whalers but there seems to be a lack of concern and enforcement in response to violation of the laws by the killers. The Faroese say the whales are killed instantly and do not suffer, yet the intense pain experienced can be seen in the long, bloody thrashing of these dying whales," said Sea Shepherd Founder and senior strategic advisor for Sea Shepherd USA, Captain Paul Watson.

Operation Sleppid Grindini is Sea Shepherd’s sixth Pilot Whale Defense Campaign in the Faroe Islands.

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