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The Unprecedented Brutality of the Second Grind of the Year

Updated: Jun 4

On Saturday, June 1st, the town of Hvannasund in the Faroe Islands became the setting for an incident of unparalleled brutality and disregard for animal welfare. Over 200 pilot whales were hunted, driven, and ultimately divided in an event that has been described by Sea Shepherd’s campaign lead Valentina Crast as “the most reckless and careless hunt we’ve witnessed in the decades we’ve been documenting the grind.”

The day began with a Grind Alert at 1pm, notifying local whalers and observers of a pod of whales spotted east of Viðoy. Initial reports underestimated the pod size, suggesting there were between 50 and 100 whales. However, as events unfolded, it became clear that over 200 whales were in imminent danger. 

By evening, 138 adults, young whales, and pregnant mothers were killed and dragged to the nearest harbor to be butchered. However, more than 90 whales were still left in the shallow waters as the hunt was called off, and those responsible simply left without any regard for the pilot whales they had traumatized, now unable or unwilling to leave the fjord. 

The Unfolding Tragedy

The following hours were marked by confusion and trauma for the surviving whales. They exhibited signs of severe distress, often returning to the beach where their family members had been slaughtered. By midnight, a heavy rain set in, and the scene grew more desolate as the remaining pod refused to leave the shallow waters.

Traumatized whales refuse to leave the fjord

A Heartbreaking Conclusion

The next day, June 2nd, saw further tragedies. At 9am, one of the remaining whales beached itself voluntarily, a desperate act of distress. Efforts to intervene were met with hostility, as Sea Shepherd crew members (top two photos) were physically pushed away by locals. The beached whale was killed shortly after by a man from the shore.

Throughout the day, the remaining whales remained in the fjord, their movements sporadic and indicative of severe trauma. By 1pm, the pod had moved further out but remained barely active, a haunting reminder of the previous day's events. 

A Call To Action

Francisco Guerriero, a member of the Stop the Grind Coalition, expressed outrage over the incident, highlighting the EU's role in indirectly supporting such barbarity through open commerce with the region. "If we revised the trade agreement considering these unnecessary actions, more pressure would come to the Faroese people," he stated. Guerreiro emphasized that such events have no place in modern society and called for political coherence to end these cruel traditions.

Documenting the Horror

Sea Shepherd's crew documented the entire event over 27 harrowing hours, providing an unflinching look at the reckless and inhumane treatment of the whales. This documentation serves as a crucial piece of evidence in the ongoing fight to end the slaughters, shedding light on the need for immediate action to protect these sentient beings.

The second grind of the year in Hvannasund stands as a stark reminder of the cruelty inflicted on pilot whales in the name of tradition.

Follow Sea Shepherd Føroyar FB Page for latest Faroe Islands Grind Alerts.

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1 Comment

Disturbing images and from a very sad and out of touch country.

Their EU funding should be suspended and this hunt should be internationally illegal.

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