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The sea turns red with blood in «the worst whale slaughter on record by whalers» as 138 creatures are herded into harbor and hacked to death in a traditional «hunt»


The most brutal anti-whaling campaigners claim to have ever documented seeing at least 138 pilot whales killed when they were herded into a shallow harbor in a gruesome ritual that lasted «hours».

The last grindadrap in the Faroe Islands – a Viking tradition in which animals are rounded up and hacked to death – was in its second year and included a pod of more than 200 animals.

The sea ran red with the animals’ blood as they were hacked and stabbed after being held in the inevitable part of the harbor in Hvannasund, a village on the west coast of Viðoya, the northernmost island in the archipelago.

«grindadrap» or «grind» for short is a 1,000-year-old Faroese tradition in which hunters surround whales and dolphins with their fishing boats and drive them to shore.

The frightened animals make it to the beach and are then brutally killed with knives by the fishermen on the shore, and the locals then eat their meat and fat.

Every summer, shocking images of the bloody hunt show a gruesome ritual that outraged animal rights activists see as barbaric.

Images show the first ‘grind’ of 2024 last month, during which 40 whales were killed

The water ran red with the blood of the animals as they were hacked and stabbed after being held in the inevitable part of the harbor in Hvannasund, a village on Viðoy's west coast.

The water ran red with the blood of the animals as they were hacked and stabbed after being held in the inevitable part of the harbor in Hvannasund, a village on Viðoy’s west coast.

Pilot whales are laid to rest after being slaughtered during Grindadrap at the weekend

Pilot whales are laid to rest after being slaughtered during the Grindadrap at the weekend

The pilot is seen popping his head out of the water as members of his pod are killed around him

The pilot is seen popping his head out of the water as members of his pod are killed around him

A man and his young child are seen looking at the killed whales on the shore after last month's hunt

A man and his young child are seen looking at the killed whales on the shore after last month’s hunt

An aerial view shows the blood that spilled into the sea last month, staining the harbor red

An aerial view shows the blood that spilled into the sea last month, staining the harbor red

Aerial footage shows blood-stained waters off the Faroe Islands after the crush last month

Aerial footage shows blood-stained waters off the Faroe Islands after the crush last month

This year, witnesses from marine wildlife charity the Captain Paul Watson Foundation said the journey was particularly shocking given the length of time the animals suffered.

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Valentina Crast, campaign manager for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, told The Express: ‘The brutality of this hunt was beyond anything we have ever documented as a pod of over 200 pilot whales was hunted and managed for hours and later split up.’

At around 11:30 a.m. local time on Saturday, a Faroese fishing patrol vessel spotted a pod of what was initially estimated to be between 50 and 100 fin whales off Viðoye.

At 12:45 the decision was made to drive them off and over the next few hours the module was slowly pushed to the ground.

Witnesses reported that the number of ships involved was smaller than usual, possibly due to the ongoing strike in the Faroe Islands, which had resulted in severe fuel shortages.

Just after 15:00 it was confirmed that the animals would be driven to slaughter at 16:00, but this time it came and went with the animals still held in the fjord on the boats.

An announcement was then made that the killing would be postponed to allow the rowing competition in Klaksvik to finish, so that more people would be present on the beach to see the animals die.

Two and a half hours later, the boats finally entered the dolphins, who had now been in a stressful situation for more than five and a half hours.

Disturbing video footage shows the animals bobbing their heads above the red water to see what’s going on.

A disturbing video shows the animals bobbing their heads above the red water to see what's going on this weekend.

A disturbing video shows the animals bobbing their heads above the red water to see what’s going on this weekend.

Pilot whales are seen on the coast with visible slashes, while members of their pod are still mocked in the background over the weekend

Pilot whales are seen on the coast with visible slashes, while members of their pod are still mocked in the background over the weekend

A spokesperson for the foundation said: “Our live footage shows the animals struggling on the shore for over 25 minutes while the other members of the pod were killed, and then the remaining live animals were held in place by the vessels for a further 90 minutes while they struggled. on a rocky shore and was showing increasing signs of stress.

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«In the end, the decision was made to drive the remaining animals back to sea.

“These efforts seemed less enthusiastic than when they were driven in, with one individual throwing rocks at the pod while a single boat maneuvered around them.

“The designated kill area was different from the area usually used in Hvannasund – possibly due to the falling tide.

Dozens of whales were killed in the first hunt of the year (pictured), while more than 130 have been killed this week

Dozens of whales were killed in the first hunt of the year (pictured), while more than 130 have been killed this week

Islanders participate in a 1,000-year-old tradition that they uphold as part of their culture

Islanders participate in a 1,000-year-old tradition that they uphold as part of their culture

«This meant that the animals were driven ashore on large rocks, while the other part of the killing area was a concrete wall, making it difficult to insert the hook into the blow hole and then pull them in to paralyze and kill them.»

Initial figures suggest at least 40 fin whales were killed in the first batch – with the charity saying there is no humane way to carry out such a task.

Later, many of the remaining animals appear to be stranded and have been killed, with the death toll reaching 138 by Sunday evening.

Rob Read, chief operating officer of the Paul Watson Foundation UK, said: “The Faroe Islands are using the tight-knit kinship bonds between pilot whales against them, and while it’s a relief that some animals have been saved today, today’s event will take a massive amount. tolls for this family group.

Ship whales are washed ashore by islanders after being beached and hacked to death.  Picture taken last month

Ship whales are washed ashore by islanders after being beached and hacked to death. Picture taken last month

The animals are seen being moved by forklift and unloaded before their carcasses are prepared for meat and fat.  Picture taken last month

The animals are seen being moved by forklift and unloaded before their carcasses are prepared for meat and fat. Picture taken last month

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The harrowing images show the carcasses of the mammals dumped on land after last month's hunt

The harrowing images show the carcasses of the mammals dumped on land after last month’s hunt

«It wouldn’t be a surprise if more animals died as a direct result of today’s grindclaw, whether from injuries from the ships and rocks, or just the stress of today’s events.»

The surviving members of the pod managed to get back out to sea by Sunday, witnesses said, with activists calling it «one of the most reckless and careless hunts we have ever documented».

Pilot fin whales are actually dolphins and are renowned for their close-knit family groups headed by a tall matriarch.

Breeding and mating usually takes place between April and September, and one young is born every three to six years.

Older and non-reproductive females help care for the calves in the pod.

Female fin whales can live up to 60 years, while males can live up to 45 years.

Like all cetaceans – whales, dolphins and porpoises – pilot whales play a vital role in ocean ecosystems, helping to keep the oceans alive and thriving.

Volunteers lobbied for an end to crushing, which kills hundreds of whales every year.

The Faroe Islands state that it is part of their tradition and that the hunt provides their community with free food.

But campaign groups have branded the hunt, which takes place every year, «barbaric» and say it is no longer just about feeding the islanders, with excess meat and fat being sold.

Fishermen typically surround the animals before they are fished ashore and cut up, often staining the sea red with their blood, with aerial footage showing blood-stained water during the 2023 crush.

By July last year, 648 pilot whales had died in the slaughter, which was widely condemned by charities and animal lovers.

The Faroe Islands are a self-governing archipelago forming part of the Kingdom of Denmark in the North Atlantic between Norway and Iceland.



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