Friday, 26 November 2010

Record number of whales slaughtered in the Faroe Islands

More than 1,000 so far this year

November 2010: A total of 1,115 pilot whales have been brutally slaughtered in the Faroe Islands so far this year, making it the largest kill of any whale species in the world.

Environmental and animal welfare organisations are deeply concerned about the escalation of these hunts, as more whales have been killed in 2010 than in any year since 1996 - and even more may be killed before the end of the year. The average annual catch for the past ten years has been 627 pilot whales.


Despite Government claims to the contrary, Faroese TV footage clearly shows that the brutal methods used to kill the whales have not improved and are likely to inflict appalling suffering on the whales - and as these shocking stills show, the slaughter is literally turning the sea red.

'Killing these intelligent, social whales results in shocking cruelty'
Joanna Toole, Marine Mammals Programmes Manager for the World Society for the Protection of Animals, said: ‘The chaos of killing large groups of these intelligent, social whales inevitably results in shocking cruelty. A highly modern community killing more than 1,100 whales in this way is completely unacceptable.'

The Faroese authorities have given no indication as to why so many whales have been killed this year.

During the past two decades, extensive research, led by Dr Pál Weihe of the Faroese Department of Public and Occupational Health, has been undertaken into the impact on the health of Faroese consumers of contaminants including mercury and PCBs which are found in pilot whale meat and blubber.


In August 2008, Dr Weihe and Faroese chief medical officer Dr Høgni Debes Joensen issued a statement recommending that pilot whale no longer be used for human consumption due to the significant threat it poses.

The Faroese Government has said it is in the process of evaluating these findings, but in the meantime has recommended that consumers be guided by dietary advice it issued in 1998 - that only one or two pilot whale meals a month should be consumed, and women who are or may become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, should refrain from eating any pilot whale at all.

The equivalent of 11kg meat for every islander
Jennifer Lonsdale, Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: ‘Hunts in 2010 have produced about 550 tonnes of pilot meat and blubber for the 49,000 islanders. This equates to 11kg for every islander, including babies - almost 1kg per month per person. This is about five times 1998's supposedly safe consumption recommendations, and it completely ignores the more recent warning not to eat pilot whale at all.'

Since many people, including infants and some mothers, do not consume pilot whale meat and many others are unable to obtain it, some people will inevitably be consuming much higher amounts.

By allowing these hunts to continue, the Faroese Government is callously ignoring both this proven threat to the health of its citizens and the unchecked cruelty inflicted on the whales

http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/faroes-whales.html

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