Jo, Sea Shepherd Volunteer ‘On Campaign In The Faroes’

faroe islands sea shepherd campaign

This moving account of the cruel Faroese custom of killing whales and dolphins comes from Jo; a Sea Shepherd UK volunteer and details her time spent on campaign in the Faroe Islands. 

“In July 2014 I was grateful to be a member of the Grindstop 2014 crew. A Sea Shepherd campaign in the Faroe Islands. We were there to try to stop the annual killings of entire pods of wild pilot whales.

On arrival at Stansted airport in the UK I was aware of the hostilities towards Sea Shepherd by some Faroese. Lining up to check into my flight a woman bashed her trolley into my legs then grabbed her child turning her away from me. I’ve never before experienced such behaviour towards myself and was wondering what was to come! In contrast later a stranger came up and hugged me saying thank you Sea Shepherd!

Having arrived and being met by team leader Guiga Pirá, I was happy to be with like-minded kind passionate and genuine people, all there for the same reason to try to stop the barbaric killing of entire wild pods of pilot whales.

The campaign itself had both land crew and sea crew. The job of the land crew was to keep watch over the surrounding seas for pods of whales and to keep the boat crews updated. Whilst I was there the crews managed to herd some pods back out to sea preventing their certain death.

The method of killing these wonderful sentient beings is barbaric. The Faroese call it a grindadráp. The pods are herded into killing bays by the Faroese on boats, they bang poles and make noises which frighten and confuse the whales. The hunt itself is extremely stressful for these animals. Once at the shore they are jumped on by a rowdy group of men, who use hooks attached to ropes rammed into the whales blow holes. Their spinal cords are then severed and throats cut. Many whales take minutes to die. They scream out loud thrash about in agony, then the surrounding sea turns crimson red filled with their blood.

Whilst I was there no whales were killed so I did not have to witness this dreadful event, but every second it was at the back of everyone’s mind that a grindadráp may occur at any minute. We were primed and ready to do whatever we could to defend the whales. Many other crew members did witness the killings and some like Magdalena Gschnitzer, Sergio Torbio Sánchez, Rosie Kunneke and Rudy de Kieviet were arrested whilst trying to stop a pod being killed, they were treated like criminals and three policemen held Rosie face down in the sand.

The Faroe Islands are exceptionally beautiful; healthy glorious landscapes and blue seas surrounding them. The islanders have a high standard of living and contrary to popular belief their supermarkets are full of all kinds of food, just like most western countries. They have no need whatsoever to eat pilot whales.

Studies have shown that pilot whales, being top of the food chain, have high levels of mercury, PCB’s and DDT derivatives in their blubber and meat. The Faroese chief medical officers Pál Weihe and Høgni Debes Joensen have announced these facts to the Faroese. Some have taken heed, especially pregnant women, but many choose to ignore this and continue to eat toxic whale meat in the belief it’s their right to do so as it’s their tradition.

No-one disputes that in bygone centuries this barbaric practice helped sustain the local human population, but in the 21st century it is not only totally unnecessary, it is a dreadful and horrific event which causes unbelievable suffering and death to entire pods of sentient whales.

One retired whaler I spoke to, whom I initially met whilst on watch with him shouting abuse at us from his car, was clearly very passionate about their right to kill whales, telling me they were sent from God and theirs to kill and eat. The pollution aspect was however one that made him think, when I suggested his grand-children may not fair so well with a diet of proven toxicity.

This practice must end, it’s time to move on.”

Slaughter of Pilot Whales Faroes 6th July 2016

faroe islands

The brutal slaughter of Pilot Whales has taken place in the Faroe Islands today with 30 to 50 slaughtered in the ‘traditional’ Grindadráp (whale hunt).

When a pod of 100 to 150 Pilot Whales were spotted near Svinoy, the Faroese took to their boats and herded them into the killing beach at Hvannasund.

The process of being driven into the shore is extremely stressful as the Pilot Whales try desperately to escape the loud noise of the motorboats. For such a sentient, family orientated species, the killings are particularly heinous as family members witness the slow, torturous deaths of their loved ones.

The marine conservation charity Sea Shepherd have been banned from entering the Faroe Islands; where they had previously led successful campaigns to prevent the slaughter of Pilot Whales and other dolphins. One one occasion alone in 2014 they successfully saved a large pod of hundreds of Atlantic white-sided dolphins, for which the Captain of the ship, Jessie Treverton, and the other two crew members of the vessel ‘The Spitfire’ were arrested.

The Danish government, police and and Navy has continually demonstrated its full support for the killings despite it being illegal to harm cetaceans under European law.

Sea Shepherd believe that Pilot Whale and Dolphin meat is being fed to farm raised salmon and have called for a boycott of fish products from the Faroe Islands.

Image: Sea Shepherd

Why It’s Time To End The Faroese Dolphin Drive Hunts

atlantic white sided dolphins killed in faroes

The Faroe Islands are a habitat of Denmark and they receive subsidies from the EU. Every year on these remote islands, thousands of dolphins are hunted and killed for their meat.

In the 2013 killing season, 1,533 dolphins were murdered, including 1,103 pilot whales and 430 dolphins. The Faroese hunt Pilot Whales and other species of dolphins including Bottlenose, Risso’s, Atlantic White-Sided dolphins and Orcas in drive hunts known as ‘Grinds’ or ‘Grindadráps’. In 2014 the number of dolphins killed was dramatically reduced to 53, due to the presence of Sea Shepherd volunteers patrolling the islands. The Royal Danish Navy arrested 14 volunteers for trying to intervene in a Grind and save the lives of the dolphins.

These sentient, intelligent beings are being stolen from the sea and whole families are being massacred right in front of each other and dying slow, painful and terrifying deaths. The techniques used by the Faroese are incredibly stressful and cruel. Entire close-knit family groups are rounded up out at sea by small motor boats and driven to the shore. Once they are stranded in shallow water, metal hooks are inserted into their blowholes and are used to drag the dolphins up the beach, where they are then killed with a knife cutting their major blood vessels.

Dolphins are highly intelligent and family-orientated, so to see their family members killed in this way and know that they are next is cruel beyond comprehension. Their bodies are heavily contaminated with deadly toxins and the islanders are warned to only consume a small amount of dolphin meat once per month; pregnant women and children are advised not to consume it at all.

The Faroe Islands enjoy one of the highest standards of living on the planet and they do not need to eat the bodies of dolphins and whales any longer. The people of the Faroes have all of the benefits of globalisation and yet they continue to carry out this horrific slaughter and all in the name of tradition. There can be no justification for any culture in the world to retain practices that inflict suffering and death. Tradition is a word that is often used to try to justify the desire to continue with unacceptable practices, however thankfully many brutal traditions around the world have now been banned.

Killing whales is illegal under the laws of the European Union and all cetaceans are legally protected throughout Europe under the Habitats Directive, yet Denmark openly support the drive hunts with their Special Forces and Navy, and they ensure the Grinds can take place. The whalers enjoy the killing, for them it is an enjoyable event and whole families attend cheering as the dolphins are brutally murdered. Compassionate people who have tried to stop the slaughter have been wrongfully arrested.

It is time to consign these horrific drive hunts to the history books once and for all.

Nearly 250 Pilot Whales Killed In One Day By The Faroese And Denmark

faroese dolphin killers

Yesterday 142 Pilot whales were killed by the Faroese with the support of the Royal Danish Navy on the beach at Torshaven; the capital of the Faroe Islands. 1,100 people took part in the orgy of killing, with over 100 boats backed up by two Danish Navy warships; the TRITON and the KNUT RASMUSSEN.

Earlier on the same day, over 100 Pilot Whales were brutally slaughtered on the island of Vagur.

Sea Shepherd had four brave volunteers arrested at Vagur; two on the beach by the Faroese police and two arrested at sea by the Danish Navy. Last night another volunteer was arrested at Torshaven and a second had his camera taken and video evidence deleted.

This morning five Sea Shepherd volunteers remain locked up in a Faroese jail on charges of wilful compassion for trying to interfere with a ‘Grind’ the name given to the drive hunts.

This short video shows everything; the moronic mentality of those participating in the Grinds, the pitiful screams of the innocent Pilot Whales – so trusting of humans – and the bravery of the Sea Shepherd Team Leader Rosie Kunnekke who tried to stop this abomination.

“Despite the fact that killing whales is illegal under European Union regulations, the government of Denmark has thrown their weight behind the killers. Sea Shepherd as a non-governmental organization that practises non-violent intervention is at a complete disadvantage against two Danish warships, their helicopters and their small flotilla of commandos in fast small boats plus the boats and officers belonging to the Faroese police.” Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd.


Images Copyright: Sea Shepherd

Faroe Islands Grind Protest July 2015

pilot whales

There was a great turnout yesterday for the protest outside the Danish Embassy in London against the killing of Pilot Whales and dolphins in the Faroe Islands in drive hunts known as ‘Grinds’. Most of the passers-by had never heard of these extremely barbaric drive hunts and many took leaflets with them. A policeman was even overheard explaining to a member of the public what the purpose of the protest was and it was great to see that our message was clear and effective.

Dominic Dyer from the Born Free Foundation gave an incredibly moving yet inspirational speech and everyone who attended made a huge effort with placards, wreaths and displays which really engaged the public.

Sea Shepherd volunteers are currently working hard in the Faroe Islands, spotting pods of dolphins off the coast and driving them back out to sea and out of the cruel reaches of the hunters.

For more information about the killing of dolphins in the Faroe Islands, please go to

Image: Anneka Tanaka

faroes protest


Denmark Enable A Grind To Take Place In The Faroe Islands

a grind

Devastating news yesterday that a ‘Grind‘ took place on the Faroe Islands with the resulting death of 33 Pilot whales and the arrest of 14 Sea Shepherd volunteers, who bravely tried to save the whales.

The Grind was enabled by the Danish Navy who intercepted and prevented Sea Shepherd from driving away the Pilot whales. Denmark have now shown themselves to be as guilty as the Faroese in allowing these barbaric drive hunts to take place.

There will be a hearing tomorrow where the Sea Shepherd volunteers will find out if they are to be charged or deported.

If you are able to, please consider volunteering for Sea Shepherd’s Operation Grindstop.