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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

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Boto © Fernando Trujillo

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Fin whale

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Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

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Atlantic white-sided dolphins

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Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

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The pilot whale slaughter that also raises serious human health concerns

Once again, more pilot whales have been slaughtered in the Faroes. This time 43 whales have been killed in the first hunt of the season on the Islands. The whales were driven to shore and killed in the bay of the Faroese village Hvannasund. A total of 508 pilot whales had been killed in 2015.

The annual drive hunts on the Faroe Islands raise serious human health, animal welfare and conservation concerns. Pilot whales are very social animals and suffer severely when having to witness their family members being driven and killed. Once driven to the shore, blunt-ended metal hooks inserted into their blowholes are used to drag the whales up the beach or in the shallows, where they are killed with a knife cut to their major blood vessels.

In recent WDC´s campaigning against the hunts has taken a lower profile in the belief that overt and vociferous public pressure has only encouraged the hunts to continue and actually increase in response to public outcry. However, WDC´s more recent engagement with communities and authorities in the Faroe Islands has shown some potentially promising ways forward as we continue to seek solutions through a better understanding of these practices, and engagement with likeminded grassroots coalitions in the Faroe Islands.  No level of hunting is acceptable to WDC, and we continue to seek new ways to stop this practice.    

WDC is aware of a growing sentiment against the hunts within the Faroes Islands themselves, and believes that supporting this movement from within the country is the most sustainable approach for the longer term. 

WDC is supportive of several grassroots initiatives within the Faroe Islands. We are hopeful that this approach will continue to challenge current perceptions and attitudes towards pilot whales in the Faroe Islands and bring about incremental and positive change.