Faroe Island 2009 Drive Hunt Stats Published Show Over 300 Pilot Whale Killed
The Faroe Island Statistical office
has published the official numbers for the 2009 drive hunt. The statistics show that a total of 310 pilot whales
, 174 whitebeaked dolphins
, 2 bottlenose whales
and 1 bottlenose dolphin
were killed in three separate grinds, or drive hunts. 2008 had been the first year in decades (centuries?) without a pilot whale hunt, and WDCS laments the fact that the hunt for pilot whales resumed in 2009.
The animals are killed using techniques that are intensely stressful and cruel. Entire family groups are rounded up out at sea by small motor boats and driven to the shore. Once stranded in shallow water, the whales and dolphins are dragged up the beach, where they are killed with a knife cut to their major blood vessels.
The hunt is not only inhumane, it is harmful to the Faroese people who eat the pilot whale meat, due to high levels of contamination. A long-term study of one thousand children in the Faroe Islands has shown serious developmental problems that are directly attributable to the contaminated whales, and recent concerns have been raised about the incidence of Parkinsons disease linked to whale meat consumption.
While most public attention has been focused on the takes of the larger pilot whales, the data provided by the Faroes government show that dolphins are also being targeted; More than 3200 of these smaller cetaceans have been killed since 1999.
For more information on the Faroe hunts and what you can do to help, please click here