How 500 Volunteers Are Defending Whales From The Faroe Islands' Brutal Hunt

A group of activists have touched down in the Faroe Islands this week, with the intention of stopping the annual slaughter of some 900 pilot whales. The conservation group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which is leading the charge, plans to document the hunt, which is also called a grind.

The campaign, referred to as Operation GrindStop 2014, is similar to one carried out by Sea Shepherd in Taiji, Japan, where hundreds of dolphins are slaughtered each year. In fact, activists are referring to the Faroe Islands as "the Taiji of Europe."

Google Maps The group already has one ship and several small boats in place in Torshavn Harbor on the islands that will document the slaughter and try to deter whales by herding them away from the area, as well as over 500 volunteers to help out throughout the season. The activists' campaign, which will also use drones to film the hunt from above, will continue until October 1 and will cover several bays where the animals are hunted.

"Sea Shepherd has led the opposition to the brutal and needless killing of cetaceans in the Faroe Islands for decades. This year, we return to the Faroes in full force and stronger than ever before," said President of Sea Shepherd France Lamya Essemlali. "Our offshore team will be on patrol and be constantly prepared to deter pilot whales from shore and out of danger. We are backed up by several teams of onshore volunteers ready to intervene to save lives if needed."

During the hunt, migrating whales are driven into the shallows, where they are slaughtered with sharp hooks called gaffs. Animal advocates maintain that the hunts are inhumane, and that it often takes several minutes for the animals to die. It's also worth noting that while the Faroe Islands are a territory of the United Kingdom of Denmark, they are not located within the country and Denmark does not conduct the hunt.

You can see a livestream of the campaign here.

Every year, some 900 migrating pilot whales are slaughtered in the Faroe Islands. These hunts are inhumane, and often result in the animals suffering needlessly before they die. Please join us in demanding that the government of Denmark take the appropriate steps to ban the hunt immediately.