The government of the Faroe Islands, an autonomous Danish territory, faced an outcry on Tuesday over the culling of more than 1,400 white-sided dolphins in a day in what was said to be the single biggest hunt in the northern archipelago, AFP reported.
“There is no doubt that the Faroese whale hunts are a dramatic sight to people unfamiliar to the hunts and slaughter of mammals,” a government spokesman told AFP.
“The hunts are, nevertheless, well organised and fully regulated,” he said.
Traditionally, the North Atlantic islands — which have a population of around 50,000 people — hunt pilot whales and not dolphins, the spokesman said.
“There are usually a few of them in the ‘grind’, but we normally don’t kill such a large number,” said a local television journalist, Hallur av Rana.
The “grindadrap” is a practice whereby the hunters first surround the whales with a wide semi-circle of fishing boats and then drive them into a bay to be beached and slaughtered.
“It looks quite extreme and it took some time to kill them all, while it’s usually pretty quick,” av Rana said.