WHY SHOULD THE GRIND BE BANNED?
We are calling on the Faroe Islands to ban the Grind immediately and permanently because there are strong, evidence-based reasons to do so based on ethical, environmental, and public health concerns.
to the Grindadráp
The Grind causes significant suffering to highly sentient marine mammals.
During a Grind, pilot whales and dolphins are placed under immense stress as they are chased for several hours into a bay. Sea Shepherd has recorded instances where the killing of individual whales or dolphins has taken over 2 minutes and, in the worst cases, up to 8 minutes. The spinal lance used on pilot whales, even if used correctly, only paralyzes the animal, which then, unable to struggle, bleeds slowly to death.
Pilot whales are known to be social creatures and are believed to live in multi-generational family units. These family units travel, feed, rest, and socialize together. In the Grind, pilot whales often witness members of their pod slaughtered in front of their eyes, including calves and pregnant mothers.
Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 on protecting animals at the time of killing requires that animals be spared any avoidable pain, distress, or suffering during their killing. This regulation follows Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which introduced the recognition that animals are sentient beings.
The Faroe Islands, although not a member of the European Union, heavily rely on the EU for trade. This raises questions about whether the Faroe Islands should be held to the EU's animal welfare standards.
Public Health Challenges to the Grindadráp
The health authorities of the Faroe Islands have advised the public to stop eating pilot whales.
Research on the consumption of whale meat has revealed that it can cause serious health issues such as impaired immunity and high blood pressure in children. It has also been linked to fetal neural development damage, increased rates of Parkinson's disease, circulatory problems, and even infertility in adults.
In 2008, Pál Weihe and Høgni Debes Joensen, who were the Faroe Islands chief medical officers at that time, stated that pilot whale meat and blubber contain excessive amounts of mercury, PCBs, and DDT derivatives that make it unsafe for human consumption.
The Faroese Food and Veterinary Authority has recommended that adults limit their consumption of whale meat and blubber to just one meal per month. Furthermore, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and those planning pregnancy are advised not to consume any whale meat at all.
Is there a legitimate reason to continue the hunting practice if the meat should not be consumed?
Legal Environmental Challenges to the Grindadráp
The Grind undermines international marine biodiversity protection laws.
Faroe Island positions the Grind as ‘sustainable’; however, the hunt involves killing the long-ﬁnned pilot whale and Atlantic white-sided dolphins that are listed as protected species under:
The Bern Convention (The Council of Europe's Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, 1979)
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, 1973).
The Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, Northeast Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS, 1991)
The Bonn Convention (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, 1979)
Although Denmark is a signatory to the Bonn and Bern conventions, the Faroe Islands are exempted by agreement with Denmark.
ASCOBANS, a regional agreement based on the Bonn Convention, does not apply to the Faroe Islands. The ASCOBANS Secretariat has continuously expressed concerns about the hunting of pilot whales and other species to the Faroese Authorities.
The long-finned pilot whale and Atlantic white-sided dolphins are recognized internationally as protected species that must be safeguarded, so why should the Faroe Islands be exempt?
Potential EU Action Pathways
Pathways to exert pressure to encourage the reconsideration of the Grind
INTRODUCE TARIFFS FOR FAROES UNPROCESSED OR SEMI-PROCESSED FISH ENTERING THE EU
AMEND TRADE AGREEMENT TO INCLUDE ANIMAL WELFARE CONDITIONALITY
RAISE AWARENESS OF THE HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF EATING WHALE AND DOLPHIN MEAT
INTRODUCE MANDATORY FAROE ISLAND ORIGIN LABELLING FOR FISH – BEYOND 'NORTH ATLANTIC'
NEGOTIATION AND DIPLOMACY
MULTILATERAL DIALOGUE TO ENCOURAGE FAROE ISLANDS TO JOIN BERN AND BONN CONVENTIONS
REVOKE EU HORIZON FUNDING