EFA: Etsy For Animals Etsy For Animals: Ancient ritual threatens already declining whale populations

Etsy for Animals (EFA) aka Artists Helping Animals,

is a team of independent artists, craftspeople,

vintage sellers and craft suppliers on Etsy.com

who are dedicated to providing charitable relief to animals

by donating a portion of the profits from their shops

to an animal charity of their choosing,

and/or to EFA's featured Charity of the Month.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ancient ritual threatens already declining whale populations

By Christina of Etsy shop esmeraldadesigns Marine Biologist and Eco-Metalsmith

Every year almost 1000 long finned pilot whales are slaughtered in the Faroe Islands. Originally for their meat and blubber, now many are left to rot as they are no longer needed as food. The last two years the meet has been deemed too toxic for human consumption, so the killings are purely for the entertainment.

Whaling in the Faroe Islands has been practiced since about the time of the first Norse settlements on the islands. It is regulated by Faroese authorities but not by the International Whaling Commission as there are disagreements about the Commission's competency for small cetaceans.[1][2] Around 950 Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melaena) are killed annually, mainly during the summer. The hunts, called "grindadráp" in Faroese, are non-commercial and are organized on a community level; anyone can participate. The hunters first surround the pilot whales with a wide semicircle of boats. The boats then drive the pilot whales slowly into a bay or to the bottom of a fjord.

Most Faroese consider the hunt an important part of their culture and history. Animal-rights groups criticize the hunt as being cruel and unnecessary[3][4] while the hunters claim in return that most journalists do not exhibit sufficient knowledge of the catch methods or its economic significance.[5]

As of the end of November 2008 the chief medical officers of the Faroe Islands have recommended that pilot whales no longer be considered fit for human consumption because of the levels of toxins in the whales.[6]

Including the Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melaena), also bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus); Atlantic white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris); Atlantic white-sided dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus); and harbour porpoise ( Phocaena phocaena) are allowed to be slaughtered.

As mentioned earlier, around 1000 whales, the main part being pilot whales are killed annually. The numbers of whales killed annually are clearly on the decline. Not nececessarily because of ethical reasons but because of declining whale populations. The 2009 statistics show that a total of 310 pilot whales, 174 white beaked dolphins, 2 bottlenose whales and 1 bottlenose dolphin were killed in three separate round-up’s [7, 8]

Personally, I am appalled by this practice, cetaceans are highly intelligent creatures and as all things living worthy of our respect. In light of declining whale population and their benevolent impact on marine ecosystems and the fact that the meat is deemed toxic and not used for human consumption, there is simply no reason this should continue

What can YOU do? Well what I did, except for forwarding this info to everyone on my email list with a heart for animals, I signed a petition to Danish and Faroe governments: The Faroe Islands are part of Denmark. Many organizations have petitions for communicating your thoughts on this brutal tradition to the Danish PM, The Danish Minister of Foreign affair and the Faroe Island Tourist Board. Here is one of the petitions you can choose from:


Information from Wikipedia and IWC, the international whaling commission

1 "Small Cetaceans". International Whaling Commission. 5 May 2004. http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/smallcetacean.htm. Retrieved 21 July 2009.

2Catch limits". International Whaling Commission. 1 September 2009. http://www.iwcoffice.org/conservation/catches.htm. Retrieved 21 July 2009.

3 [http://www.whaling.fo/thepilot.htm#Drivingthewhales[dead link] "Whales and whaling in the Faroe Islands"]. Faroese Government. http://www.whaling.fo/thepilot.htm#Drivingthewhales[dead link]. Retrieved 2006-12-05.

4 [http://www.wdcs.org/dan/publishing.nsf/allweb/99E632F7502FCC3B802568F20048794C[dead link] "Why do whales and dolphins strand?"]. WDCS. http://www.wdcs.org/dan/publishing.nsf/allweb/99E632F7502FCC3B802568F20048794C[dead link]. Retrieved 2006-12-05.

5 Chrismar, Nicole (28 July 2006). "Dolphins Hunted for Sport and Fertilizer". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=2248161&page=1. Retrieved 21 July 2009.

6 MacKenzie, Debora (28 November 2008). "Faroe islanders told to stop eating 'toxic' whales". New Scientist. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16159-faroe-islanders-told-to-stop-eating-toxic-whales.html. Retrieved 21 July 2009.

7 Whale catches in figures". Faroese Government. http://www.whaling.fo/thepilot.htm#Whalecatches. Retrieved 2006-12-05.

8 http://www.hagstova.fo/portal/page/portal/HAGSTOVAN/Hagstova_Foroya


  1. This is so sad, thank you so much to Christina for spreading the word! ;0)

  2. It is very sad and I am hopeful that this one day soon will stop.

  3. TO use the link to the petition above, just enter the code provided to the right of the square that asks for it:)

  4. 1.I am completely against this senseless massacre.
    2.I am also against knee-jerk reactions that spread like wildfire through the Internet, without due care.
    3.This posting contains some errors however which may give people the wrong idea.Check out my blog, and you’ll see what I mean.


    Don’t misunderstand me – I am very much against this outdated custom. But I warn those who attempt to change the Faroese mindset: it’s a total waste of time swearing and cursing etc. You need a considered approach, perhaps offering solutions, showing a mature understanding of their situation (not AGREEING with them at all – just being aware of their traditions and their thinking). Generate a global groundswell with reason, clarity, purpose, calmness.
    Write to the Faroes Government, NOT the Danish one (it’s not the Danes’ issue, it’s the Faroes’ killings). Aggression will only run off their backs and entrench their behaviour (they are after all descended from Vikings!!).
    Good luck…read my blog and you’ll see what I mean.
    PhilBee, NZ



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