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An unborn calf is said to have been ‘cut from their mother’s womb’ during an annual whale hunt in the Faroe Islands – commonly referred to by locals as a ‘grind’.
The hunt, which can be seen to have turned the sea crimson, saw 23 whales slaughtered for their meat and blubber. But the Faroese claim it is both ‘sustainable’ and ‘regulated by law’.
Environmental organization Sea Shepherd attended the grind in the bay of Hvalvik to document the slaughter- branding the grind as ‘barbaric’.
A ‘harrowing sight’
“As usual, the ‘humane’ process of killing the pilot whales was far from it, with multiple unsuccessful attempts to paralyze with the lance was observed on a number of the pod,” a spokesperson for the charity said.
“Having previously observed other pilot whale drives our crew noted that this pod had clearly been worn out or resigned to their fate as little to no cries were heard from the pod.
“As the family was laid out on the docks the all too familiar and disturbing images of children jumping on and playing with the dead could be seen. As the process continued crew witnessed one juvenile being laid out to be butchered and the harrowing sight of one unborn calf being cut from their mother’s womb.”
‘Weeks from being born’
Sea Shepherd state the calf appeared to be ‘mere days or weeks from being born’ – and would, therefore, be ‘unceremoniously dumped’ back into the sea.
“The Faroese often talk of the tradition behind the grind and specifically the respect shown to the pilot whales,” the charity added.
“Video and photographs clearly show this not to be the case, with images of people and tourists taking selfies with the murdered pod.
“Children were playing with fins, kicking and punching the bodies, walking on them and worryingly seen running around the dock carrying the traditional knives that are used as part of the grind.”