(ANTIMEDIA) Denmark — Each year in the summer months on a group of islands between Norway and Iceland, nearly 1,000 whales and dolphins are slaughtered in a tradition that turns the sea blood red. Now, images of the locals doing the deed are making their way onto social media, and outrage over the practice is gaining steam.
Earlier this week, The Independent detailed how the ritual, dating back to 1584 and known to local Faroe Islanders as the grindadrap, is carried out:
“As long-finned and short-finned pilot whales swim close to the shore during migration, fishermen surround the mammals in boats and dinghies, herding them towards the beach.
“The entire pods of whales become stranded, are dragged up the beach and slaughtered on the sand or in the shallow water.”
As grisly as that sounds, it’s not nearly as graphic as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is in its description. In launching a petition to stop the practice, the organization detailed the actual killing itself:
“Metal hooks are driven into the stranded mammals’ blowholes before their spines are cut. The animals slowly bleed to death. Whole families are slaughtered, and some whales swim around in their family members’ blood for hours.”
Continuing, PETA writes that these mammals are “highly intelligent creatures” that “feel pain and fear every bit as much as we do.”
Commercial whaling is banned in most parts of the world, but regional laws allow the practice because the meat is distributed in the community. In a statement defending his people’s tradition, Faroe Island spokesperson Pall Nolsoe said last year that the grindadrap is really no big deal:
“Whaling is a natural part of Faroese life and pilot whale meat and blubber are a cherished supplement to households across the islands. Whaling in the Faroe Islands is conducted in accordance with international law and globally recognised principles of sustainable development.”