Cruel hunts condemned

29 May 2009

Project Jonah fiercely condemns the Faroese government for allowing more pilot whales to be killed in the Faroese ‘drive hunts’.

The latest slaughter of pilot whales took place in Hvalvik on 23rd May.  It involved a large family group of whales – including calves and pregnant females, who were driven by boats into a cove and then crudely killed.

The opportunistic hunts take around 1,000 pilot whales each year. Whilst hunts traditionally met subsistence need in the islands, this has not been the case for some time. Many fear these hunts are conducted partly as a sporting ‘rite of passage’ for young men.

The terrified whales, which are herded into the shore by boats, are then dragged by hunters into the shallows for slaughter. A sharp knife is driven into the neck of the whale in an attempt to sever major blood vessels and the spinal cord. The last whales to be dragged to the shore to be killed are hauled through bloody waters in amongst dead and dying members of their pod.

Kimberly Muncaster, Project Jonah CEO said “These hunts are barbaric and sickeningly cruel. Tradition or not, they need to stop.  It's shameful how often 'culture' is used as an excuse for cruelty.  Cruely is cruely. It's as simple as that".

Recent research has also confirmed that the meat and blubber from these whales is highly contaminated with organic pollutants including PCBs and heavy metals, such as mercury.

Research undertaken in 2008 by Syddansk University in Denmark revealed that consumption of pilot whale meat and blubber is clearly linked with Parkinson’s disease - the Faroese are twice as likely to develop the disease than Danish people. The meat has also been linked to other defects such as foetal abnormalities, heart defects and developmental problems in children.

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