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Sea Turns Red As 99 Dolphins Are Slaughtered As Part Of Thousand-Year-Old Tradition

Lisa McLoughlin

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Sea Turns Red As 99 Dolphins Are Slaughtered As Part Of Thousand-Year-Old Tradition

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Sea Shepherd

* Warning, contains imagery some may find upsetting*


99 bottlenose dolphins have been slaughtered in the Faroe Islands, making it the second largest hunt ever recorded of the species in the islands’ history.

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According to the statistics from the Faroese Government, the last time such a large number of the species were killed was in 1898, where 100 dolphins were slaughtered.

For more than 1,200 years the tradition, known as Grindadráp, has seen hunters living on the islands drive groups of whales and dolphins onto the island shore where they are killed, shedding so much blood it turns the tides red.

The whaling season begins in the summer months and several dolphin species, including pilot whales and white sided dolphins, are still killed each year for their blubber and meat.

Dolphin hunting is linked to a centuries-long tradition on the Faroe Islands.Credit: Alamy
Dolphin hunting is linked to a centuries-long tradition on the Faroe Islands.Credit: Alamy
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The latest hunt, which was documented by non-profit campaign group Sea Shepherd, occurred during Ólavsøka, a summer festival that happens every year on July 29.

Sea Shepherd volunteers shared graphic images and video of the bloody hunt's aftermath, which showed countless dolphins dead and butchered.

The sea life welfare organisation wrote in a press release that they counted 98 adults, 1 calf, and 1 foetus in a dead, pregnant female, according to Newsweek.

News of the latest hunt come weeks after the Faroe Islands promised to limit the number of dolphins killed after a slaughter of more than 1,400 in a day.

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An 'unusually large' catch of dolphins last year was shocking to locals and even attracted ire from groups that participated in the slaughter.


Last month, official released a statement proposing a slaughter limit that would whittle the amount of dolphins the islanders could kill down to 500-a-year, and that the killing of so many dolphins the previous year was unlikely to be sustainable in the long-term.

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A review into the mass slaughter had been ordered in February after a petition calling for a ban on a traditional practice linked to the slaughter gained more than a million signatures.

The slaughter took place on September 12, 2021, and saw 1,423 white-sided dolphins killed as part of a long-running tradition on the island, the Independent reports.

Some on the Faroe Islands still eat the meat of whales and dolphins, though this practice is becoming increasingly rare.

British supermarkets have been urged to stop selling seafood caught in the Faroe Islands as a way of protesting the annual slaughter of hundreds of dolphins.

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Over 1,400 dolphins were killed in one day. Credit: Alamy
Over 1,400 dolphins were killed in one day. Credit: Alamy

The Faroese government has indicated that while it will try and impose limits on the number of dolphins killed, it will not be bringing an end to the bloody tradition.

Claiming the practice was an 'important supplement to the livelihoods of Faroe Islanders', their government said they'd look at making it a sustainable tradition instead.

They said: "The Government of the Faroe Islands continues to base its policies and management measures on the right and responsibility of the Faroese people to utilise the resources of the sea sustainably.

"This also includes marine animals, such as pilot whales and dolphins."

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Topics: News, Animal Cruelty

Lisa McLoughlin
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