Danish Faeroe Islands

The Faeroe Islanders slaughter long- and short-finned pilot whales in the Faeroe Islands in the country's annual, brutal whale "drives."


Between 2,000 and 3,500 pilot whales are corralled by men in boats and forced into bays in this North Sea Danish Protectorate. The animals are trapped in the shallow waters. The islanders gaff the marine mammals with spears and slaughter them by severing the whales' spines with long knives. The whales are stoned, speared, stabbed, slashed, and clubbed by people in a festive atmosphere. This slaughter is particularly gruesome since the killing is conducted as a community sporting event with young children often participating in the killing of the visibly and audibly terrified whales.

The hunt is done because of tradition and the absurd belief by the Faeroese that God gave the whales to the people to be slaughtered.




Danish Faeroe Islands
This group of 18 islands, of which 17 are inhabited, is located in the North Atlantic about 200 miles (322 km) northwest of the Shetland Islands. They were settled by the Vikings, the ancestors of the modern-day Faeroese, in the 8th century. The Faeroese language is derived from Old Norse. The islands joined Denmark in 1386 and have been part of the Danish kingdom ever since. The Danish Home Rule Act of 1948 recognizes the Faeroe Islands as a self-governing community within the United Kingdom of Denmark with its own flag and Faeroese as its main language. The 2005 population estimate is 46,962.



Sea Shepherd - Actions Defending the Whales of the Faeroe Islands

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been the leading opposition against the slaughter of pilot whales in the Danish Faeroe Islands. Captain Paul Watson has led campaigns to oppose the hunt in 1985 and 1986 and again in 2000. No whales were killed while Sea Shepherd patrolled the Islands. Sea Shepherd was also successful in convincing 20,000 stores in two grocery chains in Germany to boycott Faeroese fish products. Sea Shepherd's efforts against the Faeroese whalers is documented in the BBC documentary “Black Harvest.