On the Faroe Islands, the Faroese consider the "Grind," a hunt in which pilot whales and dolphins are killed, an important part of their culture that dates back hundreds of years. But even some of the hunt's most ardent defenders are decrying what happened Sunday in the North Atlantic archipelago, an autonomous territory of Denmark. Boats herded a superpod of almost 1,500 dolphins into shallow waters, where they thrashed around before being killed with knives, the BBC and the Guardian report.
The chair of the the local Grind hunting association in the bay where the slaughter took place says he was "appalled." "The dolphins lay on the beach writhing for far too long before they were killed," he said. The chair of the Faroese Whalers Association, who did not participate, says it was a "big mistake" that stemmed from hunters originally estimating the pod to contain only 200 dolphins. And both the former and current chairs of the Faroese Grind Association warn this will give ammunition to those who oppose the hunts.
Locals, too, were said to be largely unhappy with and in shock over the incident, with one poll finding that the majority now want to see such hunts ended—something animal rights activists have long called for. Meat from the hunt is shared among local villagers, but one critic says this is far too much meat for everyone and that much will be thrown away. A marine biologist says this is the islands' largest single-day catch, beating the previous record of 1,200 set in 1940. After that, the next-highest number was 900. (Read more Faroe Islands stories.)