Campaigners have spoken out to condemn the controversial ritual, which is believed to date back 1,000 years, following the first hunt of the year.
Non-profit organisation Sea Shepherd said a total of 252 pilot whales and 35 dolphins had been killed earlier this week in Hvalbaafter the huge pod was found off Sandvik.
Referring to the ancestral tradition as a ‘barbaric practice’, the organisation shared photos showing hunters in the water butchering the creatures.
A statement said: “252 long finned pilot whales and 35 Atlantic white sided dolphins were killed in Hvalba last night after the huge pod was found off Sandvik.
“This is the first organised Grindadràp hunt of 2020 with the meat from the hunt distributed first to the approximately 70 hunt participants from the boats and those killing on the beach – and then the remainder to villages on Suðuroy with all recipients then free to sell their share of the meat if they so wish.”
Each year, around 100,000 pilot whales swim in the seas near the Faroe Islands, a North Atlantic archipelago that sits between Norway and Iceland.
While all hunters must have a hunting license, the practice often comes under fire from animal rights activists, including the Blue Planet Society, which said the animals had been ‘brutally and cruelly slaughtered‘.
Non-profit environmental conservation organisation ORCA also posted on Twitter: “To the beautiful family of pilot whales that were brutally murdered in the Danish #FaroeIslands, we are so deeply sorry… We will keep fighting to end this insane blood sport. RIP beautiful family… Please Boycott the Faroe Islands!”
To the beautiful family of pilot whales that were brutally murdered in the Danish #FaroeIslands, we are so deeply sorry… We will keep fighting to end this insane blood sport. RIP beautiful family…
— ORCA (@OceanicRescue) July 17, 2020
Back in 2014, Sea Shepherd had been able to stop the slaughter and save ‘hundreds’ of animals.
However, the organisation’s efforts proved to be something of a ‘double edged sword’ as they triggered the passing of a local law prohibiting any of its ships to enter the archipelago.