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Former Faroe Prime Minister speaks out about dolphin hunt

This article has been translated from Faroese into English. The original article can be found here:

Former Faroese Prime Minister and current Danish MP Edmund Joensen think that the Faroese Government must take criticisms of the dolphin hunting seriously and respond through policy change. Failing to do so could lead to major national boycotts of Faroese products, as occurred in 2013, says Joensen. The MP’s statements on the subject in the Folketing (Danish Parliament) on October 7th can be read below:

When I stood on the podium a year ago, it was like I was time travelling. I travelled back to 2013, which in many ways was a landmark year for the Faroe Islands - not least for Faroese exports. It was then that all European ports were closed to Faroese vessels as a consequence of a dispute over fishing quotas.

Today, I want to take you back to September 12th 2021, another landmark day for the Faroe Islands. That Sunday, 1,423 dolphins were driven ashore and slaughtered in Skálafjørðinum.

For us Faroese, there is nothing unnatural in killing animals to get food on the table, whether it is a fish, a sheep or a humpback whale. In all the time our islands have been inhabited, killing animals has been a matter of survival.

When, like the Faroe Islands, you are remotely located in the Atlantic Ocean, a thousand kilometres from the mainland, and when agriculture is extremely limited, the sea is your greatest resource.

However, we must recognize that not everyone shares our perception of nature as a source for food, especially when it comes to dolphins, which are cute and which many have a penchant for. Nevertheless, we have to take this seriously, and so does the National Government of the Faroe Islands.

Let me, therefore, immediately state that the dolphin killing on September 12th was in many ways quite unusual. First, it is quite unusual for dolphin herds to be so large. And it is very, very unusual that in the Faroe Islands, independent dolphin flocks are driven ashore and slaughtered. If dolphins are killed, it is usually as by-catch from a whale pod.

It is important to state that whale hunting is a Faroese cultural heritage and a tradition that takes place in a humane way. Dolphin hunting is different.

Therefore, I am pleased that the Faroese lawyer has made it clear that regulations will be made regarding dolphin capture, now that we see the tremors it has caused throughout the world. Dolphin hunts, which has never been a distinctive Faroese tradition, should not affect the export opportunities of Faroese companies.

The cost of continuing without regulations is simply too high. We must not risk a repeat of 2013 when our entire livelihood was boycotted.

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