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Global coalition launches to end cruel and unnecessary Faroe Island whale and dolphin slaughter



LONDON UK – Today, a global multistakeholder coalition (Stop the Grind) was launched demanding an end to the Faroe Island’s traditional whale and dolphin slaughter known as the ‘Grind’ or Grindadráp. The coalition - initiated by marine conversation society Sea Shepherd and impact consultancy Shared Planet – will serve as a platform for all like-minded organisations and individuals concerned about the Grind to work together to pressure the Faroese government towards a ban.

Stop the Grind is being launched in the wake of the recent Faroe Islands hunt on September 12th that saw the killing of 1428 white-sided dolphins – thought to be the biggest organised killing of dolphins on record. The mission of Stop the Grind is to pressure the Faroe Islands government to ban all Grind hunting of both dolphins and whales. The Faroese government is in the process of reviewing the regulation around the Grindadráp. The coalition is arguing that – despite its cultural and historical importance in the Faroe Islands – the Grind hunt is cruel, environmentally unsustainable, poorly regulated, violates European and Faroese animal welfare standards and is highly damaging to the health of the Faroese themselves due to the toxic levels of mercury in dolphin and whale meat. The coalition will drive a sustained international media and advocacy campaign using the latest scientific evidence to support policy change and an end to the Grind hunt.

The first act of the coalition is to submit a response to the Faroe Island government’s consultation on the dolphin hunt by sending an open letter to the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands urging him to ban the Grind. The letter calls on the Faroese government to consign its Grind tradition ‘to the pages of history books and to displays in museums’ and to ‘forge a new positive cultural relationship with cetaceans and the ocean.’ The group argues that there is a significant economic opportunity in dolphin/whale conservation and restoration and that a ban of the Grind would be a ‘win-win for the local health of the people, the tourist economy, and for the preservation of cetacean species of the Atlantic.’ The Stop the Grind campaign has grown rapidly over the last week and includes 30 coalition partner organisations and over 5,600 individuals. It continues to grow daily as it reaches out to businesses, NGOs, nature campaigners and TV presenters, and politicians internationally. Coalition members include Chris Packham, Steve Backshall, Deborah Meaden, Ben Goldsmith, Peter Egan, the director of Seaspiracy Ali Tabrizi, Dale Vince OBE, Ross McCall, environmentally-focused NGOs such as Sea Shepherd, Oceans Asia, the Conservative Environment Network, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Born Free, the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Blue Marine Foundation, the Blue Planet Society and a number of Members of the European Parliament (Grace O’Sullivan MEP, Tiziana Beghin MEP, Martin Buschmann MEP, Sylwia Spurek MEP, Jutta Paulus MEP, and Petras Austrevicius MEP, and Ville Niinisto MEP) who have been active pressuring for European level action on the issue in Brussels.

In addition to the open letter to the Faroese Prime Minister, the coalition is supporting the Dominic Dyer petition to the UK Parliament to introduce trade sanctions against the Faroe Island government until they stop the Grind, which already has over 40,000 signatures. The coalition will shortly deliver another open letter that it has prepared to the Prime Minister and members of the UK government, which has already gathered over 5,500 signatures. The Coalition will call for the UK government to take action on the Grind issue, given its COP 26 leadership and the pending global climate conference in Glasgow later this month. The Coalition will also support the protest against Faroe Island and Japanese whaling planned for October 16th at Trafalgar Square.

For Journalists, to organise interviews with coalition members please contact: Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global – heather@seashepherdglobal.org Stephanie Lvovich, Shared Planet – stephanie.lvovich@sharedplanet.co.uk

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