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Faroe Islands whale and dolphin slaughter – what have we done and what are we doing?

The massacre of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður on the Faroe Islands on 12th September 2021 was beyond horrific.  It was senseless, barbaric and has rightly shocked the world and many Faroese people.

The suffering of the individual dolphins is unimaginable and there can be no justification for this brutality.

We can only hope that the scale and terrible nature of this particular massacre will lead to change in the islands.  It is vital that we turn global outrage into sustained international pressure to end this killing forever.

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What we did

As soon as we heard the first news reports we got in touch with our friends on the islands to verify the details of what had happened

We expressed our abhorrence of the massacre through our website, social media channels and the media making sure to highlight the internal criticism of the hunt from within the Faroes.

We immediately briefed known dolphin-friendly governments, including the UK, and  urged them to condemn the hunt and bring pressure to bear to end the practice once and for all.

What we are still doing

We are briefing MPs, MSPs, MEPs and civil servants on the hunt to build political pressure on the Faroese government and prime minister to fast-track their ‘review of the hunting of dolphins’.

We are coordinating with partners, fish buyers and companies in the UK, EU and USA to exert commercial pressure on the Faroese government to end the hunts

We have briefed the UK government – and will be raising with MEPs and MSPs – the questionable legality of the Faroes approach to these hunts – with the ‘sale’ of dolphin and whale meat making this commercial hunting – not a ‘subsistence tradition’ as claimed

We are calling for the review of the dolphin hunt promised by the Faroes government as a result of the outrage (both home-grown and international) to be immediate and collaborative and consider recent conservation and welfare science.

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What we have done over the years

In 30 years of campaigning against the Faroes hunts we have learnt that there are no simple solutions.  WDC has tried all sorts of different strategies and has successfully helped to end the deliberate killing of other species on the islands, such as orcas and Risso’s dolphins, and we’ve been instrumental in bringing awareness of the risk to human health of eating contaminated whale and dolphin meat.

But Faroese whalers have become more and more entrenched in their attitudes – in part as a reaction to international pressure and abuse. We have learned that real, long-lasting change will only happen when it comes from individuals and groups from inside the country – Faroese people opposed to the hunt.  We work with Faroese people who are anti-whaling, we have run workshops for Faroese school children aimed at nurturing an appreciation of living nature and supported the creation of a film - ‘Whale Like Me’ - that challenges traditional perceptions of whaling, and was shown in the Faroe Islands.

Anyone who has campaigned to end this atrocity will tell you that there are no easy answers or quick fixes. We fight and the hunts continue. It’s horrifying, upsetting, frustrating and painful. But we promise you we will never give up. We are Whale and Dolphin Conservation and we owe it to the many thousands of whales and dolphins who have suffered and died in Faroese waters and to the many more we need to save. Thank you for standing with us.

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