You would think that the first world countries in Europe such as Faroe Islands near Denmark would never succumbed itself in killing
dolphins and whales just because it’s a tradition. Lets just say that upon my research of this infamous tradition, I found out through some environmental and animal rights website that this horrible massacre of Pilot Whales and dolphins is indeed a tradition. A friend sent me via email forwarded message the pictures of this tradition, to my disgust. It’s my first time to see such horrendous images of so many whales being slaughtered on site in front of hundreds of spectators, even children. It brings me to mind the ancient christian persecution where thousands of early Christians were fed to the lions while pagan mobs cheer, jeer and taunt.
When I first saw the pictures I thought it was a hoax but upon reading articles about it on credible websites, I was convinced that this barbarism is actually happening in another country.
and Dolphin hunting has been the tradition of the inhabitants of Faroe Islands (near Denmark) since the 10th century. And most of the descendants of the medieval whalers have passed this tradition from generations to generations. For the record, there are 17 villages in the island that have these kind of scenario every year which are authorized to conduct such massacre.
After killing the whales in methods so gruesome, the villages part take the meat of their hunt and distribute them among the inhabitants. Some carcasses or what has been left from meat scraping and fat extractions of the killed whales
and dolphins are laid right on the pier where most birds and flies scavenge on what is left of the poor creature, skin and bones.
The locals use the whale meat for food because it is one of their staple diet. But recently, a law was passed in the area stating that whale meat consumption must only be once every two weeks because of high levels of mercury, insecticides and other poisons contained in it.
This Tradition has met worldwide outrage and criticism that even Greenpeace Activists tried to stop this from ever occurring again. But the islanders insist that the outsiders doesn’t know the implication of this tradition to their identity and culture as Faroe islanders. Activists however argued that during the medieval times, Faroe islanders have shortage of food compare to this time of ours that food is already abundant and that using tradition as an excuse for the slaughter of these gentle animals is truly unacceptable. If they were sharks, I don’t think they stand a chance in staging such massacre.
I am reminded by this of pre-colonial Mexico prior to the apparition of the Virgin in Guadalupe, wherein people are sacrificed on the altar and their hearts taken from their bodies as a “traditional” sacrifice to the serpent god.
Being a Franciscan at heart, we were taught that all animals are our brothers and sisters and that men should show love for all things and creatures created by God. If St. Francis were alive today, he would probably preach on the shores on Faroe island while whales
and dolphins listen.
BTW, I forgot to mention, newly born baby whales
and dolphins are not also spared from this massacre.
Ever since I published this article in 2008, dozens of Faroe islanders contacted me personally to lambaste me for this expose. Most of them accuse me of stupidity and ignorance. Okay so let’s say I am really ignorant in their tradition, and I’m really stupid, but does that lessen the fact that they kill hundreds or perhaps thousands of whales just for their diet and amusement?
Faroe Islander’s use the analogy of killing poultry, cattle and livestock for meat and food to compare it to their tradition. But there is a big difference.
Poultry, livestock and cattle are domesticated, they are NOT in the wild, they are easy to breed and multiply and can be bred in captivity without endangering their population or species.
The Pilot whales in Faroe Islands however are not domesticated and are in the wild. Their population are not controlled, nor do we have an exact headcount of the number that is left on the wild. Aside from the killing of this whales, there are other factors that can contribute to their diminishing number such as change in sea currents, rise in salt water temperature, water pollution and other environmental causes.
In Poultry, livestock and cattle, these risks and factors can be controlled. Feeds for these domesticated animals are manufactured and their number can be controlled or multiply. So their role in the ecosystem and food chain is actually controlled. Pilot whales doesnt have this luxury. They are sandwiched between the degrading environment and man’s constant need for food. So any attempt to kill them for food in massive number is an attempt to exterminate them without any specific data of their population. Remember that in wildlife, scientists only use estimates in demographics and data and not specific headcounts.
With this scenario, how on earth is killing of pilot whales the same as killing chicken, cows or pigs?
The excuse of Faroe Islanders to compare their tradition to daily slaughter of domesticated animals for meat is ridiculously remote and off tangent.
If Faroe Islanders can domesticate Pilot whales in their own bath tubs or swimming pools and breed them in their own backyards in captivity, why not? If that is even possible.
Until then, this Tradition has to be stopped and is unacceptable in any angle of civility and humane treatment of animals. These wild animals have the right to live, multiply and roam freely the earth without any threat or danger to their safety and existence.
OTWOMD “still” condemns these foolish tradition and act of atrocities toward Pilot Whales.
Romuald Matthieson: a.k.a. "bluepanjeet" has been writing in cyber space since 2005. In 2006, he jump-started his Catholic blogging a few years before the Catholic Church utilized social networks and blogs in spreading the Gospel. In 2007, in response to a realization of the growing need for Catholic Bloggers online, he officially launched his own self-hosted Catholic blog and called it "On The Wings Of My Dream" or simply OTWOMD which is a metaphor of his favorite psalm in the Bible, Psalm 63. Since then he has been blogging, (and sometimes podcasting) for the Catholic Church using his enthusiasm in the New Media, his inclination on visual and digital arts, his passion for the written word and his love for the Catholic Church. You can follow Rom's tweets on Twitter @rommatthieson