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Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.
Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Leader Denied Entry to Japan
Volunteer Karen Hagen of Norway was Detained and Denied Entry into the Country; Sea Shepherd Considers the Refusal to be an Attempt by Japan to Hide the Brutal Slaughter of Dolphins Documented in Taiji by the Cove Guardians
Sea Shepherd veteran crewmember Karen Hagen of Norway has been denied entry into Japan to document the brutal capture and slaughter of dolphins and small whales in Taiji as Ground Leader of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Henkaku (Operation Metamorphosis) campaign.
On Thursday, Aug. 27 (Japan time), Hagen was detained by Japanese Immigration upon arrival in Fukuoka, Japan by ferry from Busan, South Korea. After being interrogated for two hours and held for more than six hours, she was refused entry into the country and deported to South Korea. She is currently headed to Melbourne, Australia where she will be volunteering aboard the Sea Shepherd vessel, Steve Irwin. Hagen, a 20-year-old kindergarten teacher and a Sea Shepherd volunteer of two years who arrived in Japan following months in Honduras leading volunteers of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Jairo Sea Turtle Defense Campaign, was set to lead the season’s first international team of Cove Guardian volunteers.
While detained, she was escorted at all times, even into the ladies restroom, by four men in suits, presumably police officers. Hagen’s passport was taken and she was refused a phone call unless she identified the person she was calling and made the call on speaker phone in the presence of a Japanese translator.
Initially, Immigration officials stated that entry was being denied because Hagen had a tourist visa and was not in the country for tourism. Upon being asked why taking photos did not qualify as tourism, officials changed their reason, stating that she did not have a return flight home. When Hagen showed her return ferry ticket, they then stated that last year she wrote that she would be staying in Japan for two weeks but stayed for two and a half months. She then pointed out that she had extended her stay, which is legal, and at that time no further reasons were given as to why she was being denied.
This is not the first time a Sea Shepherd volunteer has been refused entry to Japan; several returning Cove Guardians were detained and sent home upon their arrival to the country last season. In December 2014, then Senior Cove Guardian Campaign Leader Melissa Sehgal was interrogated for nearly nine hours and detained for 24 hours before being escorted onto a flight out of Japan. No reason has been given for the denials, but Japan has claimed that the volunteers arriving with tourist visas are not tourists.
Sea Shepherd believes that these refusals are desperate attempts by Japan to hide the bloodshed that turns the waters of Taiji’s now infamous cove red with the blood of dolphins and pilot whales, and evidence that Japan knows Sea Shepherd has been effective in exposing these atrocities to the world.
“Karen Hagen, like all of our Cove Guardian crew, traveled to Japan to peacefully document and expose the brutal drive hunt in Taiji within the boundaries of Japanese law. Though carried out by a handful of hunters, this massacre of ocean wildlife brings shame to the entire nation of Japan. As Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson, has said, our volunteers are ‘armed’ with the world’s most powerful weapon – the camera,” said Sea Shepherd Campaign Coordinator, David Hance. “The 2015-2016 hunt season marks Sea Shepherd’s sixth consecutive year in Taiji, and our promise to the dolphins remains the same: we will not stop until the slaughter ends. We will have a strong presence at the cove once again – Karen has been denied entry, but that will not stop us. Another ground leader will follow.”
More Sea Shepherd volunteers will soon be arriving in Japan to stand watch along the cove, as Sea Shepherd has done each year since 2010 when Operation Infinite Patience was officially launched, creating a continuous presence of Cove Guardians throughout the hunt season. As the world becomes increasingly aware of the Taiji slaughter and its inextricable link to the global captive trade that fuels demand for wild-caught dolphins and whales, Sea Shepherd has reimagined its Dolphin Defense Campaign, now named Operation Henkaku, and will have a stronger focus this year on raising crucial awareness of the captive industry’s role in the drive hunt. Sea Shepherd believes the profitable trade of live cetaceans for captivity is the true economic reason behind the hunt, and that the sale of dolphin meat for human consumption alone could not sustain the hunt. Just one trained captive dolphin can be sold by the hunters in Taiji for $250,000 USD. Sea Shepherd has long emphasized that the most effective way that individuals can oppose the slaughter is to stop patronizing aquariums, marine parks, and swim-with-dolphin facilities that hold whales and dolphins captive.
Each year from Sept. until March, entire family units, or pods, of dolphins and small whales at a time are driven into Taiji’s killing cove. Banger poles are struck against the side of the hunting boats to create a “wall of sound,” disorienting the sound-sensitive marine mammals and making it nearly impossible for them to escape the drive. Once netted within the shallow waters of the cove, their fate is sealed and the members of these frightened pods will face either imprisonment in captivity or brutal slaughter before the eyes of their families. Killers and trainers work side-by-side to select the “prettiest” dolphins and whales for captivity, those without visible scars. The others are mercilessly stabbed with a metal spike inserted into their backs, just behind the blowhole, to sever their spine. The dolphins slowly and painfully bleed to death or drown in the blood of their family members – others may die slowly as they are tethered and dragged to the butcherhouse, where the once living and free cetaceans are butchered and processed into meat. These inhumane killings are a blemish upon Japan, whose government refuses to sign on to many protection efforts and regulations for marine mammals, despite most of the world recognizing the need to protect these self-aware, beloved and imperiled animals.
Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians are the only group on the ground in Taiji daily throughout the six-month hunt season each year, ensuring that no cetacean is captured or slaughtered unseen by the world. “Because we serve as the eyes of the international community at the cove, it is important that we have volunteers on the ground throughout the season. Sea Shepherd is encouraging our supporters around the world to stand with us in Taiji. Those who would like to volunteer to be a Cove Guardian should contact us at email@example.com to express their interest,” said Hance. “The dolphins need you now.”
Stop the Voyages to Hell
Whale-Friendly Tourists are not Welcome in the Danish Faroe Islands
Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
One of the pods of pilot whales exterminated by the Faroese whalers earlier this summer was spotted and reported by a tourist because the "special" new Grind Laws of the Faroe Islands make it a criminal offense for anybody to not report a pod of whales to the whalers.
When tourists have been recruited into being accessories to the slaughter, it is time to discourage more tourists from being recruited.
The issue of cruise ships calling into the Faroes is fast becoming international news and now even the trade publications are pointing out the bad publicity for the cruise ship industry if they continue to call into the Faroe Islands.
Basically it's, "Come to the Faroe Islands and help us kill whales and if your ship is opposed to whaling, you are not welcome in the Faroe Islands."
The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker is an EU Dutch-flagged ship that has arrived in the Faroe Islands from an EU Germany port with EU crew, but was denied entry. Never before has a ship from an EU nation been denied clearance by an EU nation (Danish Immigration).
What the Faroese are saying with this denial is that any ship opposed to the slaughter of the pilot whales is not welcome in the Faroe Islands, and this automatically makes any cruise ship that arrives in the Faroe Islands to be understood to support the horrific slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins.
In the Faroes, a ship now has no choice. Support the Grindadráp (murder of whales) or else. And if the cruise ships continue to stop at Faroese ports the public will begin to equate them with supporting this murderous Faroese obscenity.
AIDA, Hapag-Lloyd, P & O and Disney have already decided to avoid the Faroe Islands. We now have to convince the other cruise ship lines, and considering that Faroese law now makes tourists and cruise ship lines complicit in the slaughter it should not be hard to convince these corporations that docking in the Faroes is not a wise business move.
The text below is from the most recent newsletter by Jim Walker of Jim Walker’s Cruise Law News.
"There is a widespread and well-organized movement to boycott the Faroe Islands for its barbaric and heart-wrenching slaughter of pilot whales. Trouble is that most cruise lines tout the Faroes as a key port of call for their cruise ships. But an international coalition of mammal lovers, environmentalists and decent-hearted concerned citizens, organized by non-profits and the powerful and media-savvy Sea Shepherd organization, is making a change. Disney abandoned its plans to go there and three other lines, all European companies, announced that they will no longer support the Faroes in response to social media campaigns geared toward educating the public about the despicable whale slaughter.
But U.S.-based cruise lines are still sailing there regularly. Royal Caribbean, Azamara, NCL, Oceania, and Carnival-owned HAL and Princess all still plan on calling on the Faroe Islands. I have written about the deadly and disgusting practice here. The Faroese locals slit the throats of the little whales and rip the babies from their mothers. Don't read the article if you are squeamish.
Disney was smart enough to get out of the way of the oncoming media blitz. It will maintain its reputation because of its awareness, just like it wisely assigned lifeguards to its pools and installed automatic man-overboard systems on its ships. But the Carnivals and Royal Caribbeans and NCLs are too CEO-egocentric and arrogant to figure out to avoid the train of public opinion coming their way."
We need to make all the cruise ship lines that go or plan to go to the Faroes aware that there is a powerful movement to save the whales from being cruelly butchered on the beaches of the Faroe Islands.
Denmark Issues Suspicious Refusal Of Entry Notices To Sea Shepherd
Pressure against the grindadráp builds from within the EU.
The international crew of the Dutch-registered Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, has been denied entry into the Faroe Islands by Danish authorities.
The conservation ship arrived at the port of Sund in the Faroe Islands yesterday at approximately 12:00pm local time. Upon docking, Danish Customs and Immigration officers boarded the ship, conducting a full search of the vessel and passport inspection of the crew.
Authorities did not indicate there was an issue with entry during the inspection, nor had they when the Bob Barker first notified port authorities on Friday that it intended to dock in Sund.
However, following the inspection of the ship yesterday all 21 crewmembers of the Bob Barker, including 11 European Union nationals, were issued with a Refusal of Entry notice and ordered to leave the 12 nautical mile limit of the Faroe Islands.
Danish authorities notified the Sea Shepherd crew that the Refusal of Entry notices were issued for suspicion of “affecting public order,” although the actual document gives no clear legal reasons for denial of entry.
The Bob Barker is the third Sea Shepherd ship to arrive in the Faroe Islands since June, but is the only one of the three ships whose crew has been denied entry.
Sea Shepherd believes that the Refusal of Entry notices issued by Denmark are unlawful, and has since commenced appeal processes to fight the order.
Despite the fact that the slaughter of cetaceans is banned in the European Union, including Denmark, the grindadráp continues with the support of Danish police and navy, and with the blessing of the Danish government.
This year alone 490 pilot whales have been slaughtered in the Faroe Islands with Denmark’s backing. A total of 14 Sea Shepherd volunteers, representing the United Kingdom, Italy, Corsica/France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, South Africa, Canada and the United States have been arrested for standing in defense of the whales.
On Friday, charges against two of the volunteers, Tom Strerath of Germany and Susan Larsen of the United States, were dropped due to lack of evidence. Despite the reprieve, the small boat, Farley, which the pair was driving at the time they were arrested, remains in police custody.
As Sea Shepherd continues its defense of the pilot whales, international pressure against the grindadráp continues to mount from countries within the European Union.
In early August, two major German cruise-liner companies, AIDA and Hapag-Lloyd, announced that they have cancelled tours to the Faroe Islands in response to the ongoing slaughters.
In the past month, political representatives from Luxembourg, Italy and the United Kingdom have all publically expressed their distain for the on-going practice of the grindadráp, which Denmark actively supports in defiance of the sentiments of their EU obligations.
On August 19, the Scottish town of Wick announced that it had severed its 20-year-long twin-town relationship with the city of Klaksvík, and would not look to re-instate official relationships until the "disgusting" slaughter of whales in the archipelago is banned.
Operation Sleppid Grindini is Sea Shepherd sixth Faroe Islands Pilot Whale Defense Campaign.
Q & A on the Faroese Whaling Info Site
The Whalers Answer Questions and I Respond to Their Answers
Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
Questions & Answers
Q: Are pilot whales an endangered species?
A: No. The total number of pilot whales taken in the Faroe Islands can fluctuate from one year to the next. The average catch of around 800 whales a year is not considered to have a significant impact on the abundance of pilot whales, which are estimated at around 778,000.
Captain Paul Watson: The number of pilot whales in the North Atlantic is simply unknown. The estimates given in the Faroes have varied between 128,000 and 778,000. There is no credible scientific validation for any of these numbers. The Faroese slaughter targets and extinguishes entire family pods, removing the entire gene pool – and this impacts the entire North Atlantic population. The pilot whale population off Newfoundland crashed in 1966 after excessive exploitation, and up until the day it crashed the “experts” were saying the population was healthy and sustainable.
Q: Is the pilot whale hunt an annual festival?
A: Whale drives are not an annual festival or ritual, as is often wrongly claimed. Whale drives in the Faroe Islands take place to provide food, and can happen at any time of the year. The driving, beaching, killing and distribution of pilot whales are fully regulated by law and regulations. Catches are shared among the participants and local community.
Captain Paul Watson: No it is not an annual festival but each drive kill is treated as a festival. The killing can happen at any time throughout the year but primarily occurs during the months of June through October.
Q: Is pilot whale killing commercialized?
A: No. The catch is distributed for free in the local community where a catch takes place. This traditional community-based sharing of catches also ensures that the larger the catch, the more people get a share of it. However, in some supermarkets and on the dockside, whale meat and blubber is occasionally available for sale.
Captain Paul Watson: It is either commercial or it is not. When a tourist can purchase a whale stew in a restaurant in the Faroes, it is commercial.
Q: Do pilot whales suffer when they are killed?
A: Faroese animal welfare legislation, which also applies to whaling, stipulates that animals must be killed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whales are killed on the shore and in the shallows of bays especially suited and authorized for the purpose, under the supervision of locally elected officials and by people with a required license.
Captain Paul Watson: In every case where animals are slaughtered, the killers will always argue that the killing is humane. I have seen seal pups skinned alive and I have seen them convulsing in pain, but the Canadian government insists that the seal slaughter is humane. It is noticeable that the answer given says that the legislation stipulates that the animals must be killed quickly, but does not say that they are in fact killed quickly. We have observed and documented the killing. The whales scream in pain and they thrash about in agony. They are also subjected to intense stress while being driven towards the shore. It is interesting that they do not actually answer this question – just provide a vague response. Do the whales suffer? Yes or No? Their answer does not say no and to me that implies that the answer is yes.
Q: Is whale meat and blubber contaminated?
A: The high levels of mercury/methyl mercury as well as other contaminants deriving from global industry, such as PCB and DDT in pilot whale meat and blubber, are well documented and are continually monitored.
Captain Paul Watson: They cannot deny this because Faroese doctors have exposed high levels of mercury toxicity in whale meat. Health officials would ban beef, pork or chicken if it contained the same levels of mercury, yet pilot whale meat is mysteriously given an exemption.
Q: Why do the Faroese eat contaminated whale meat and blubber?
A: Faroese people are well aware of the risks associated with consuming too much pilot whale meat and blubber. The health authorities have made recommendations on the safe limits of consumption, and people have taken these onboard. For example, pregnant women are advised not to eat whale meat and blubber.
Captain Paul Watson: People smoke when they know it will affect their health. Humans have the ability to be in denial of poisons that slowly kill them. Mercury affects the brain, literally eating away brain tissue, so the very fact that the people consume mercury could be the cause of their failure to appreciate the consequences of ingesting mercury.
Q: Is the contamination a big issue in the Faroe Islands?
A: Contaminant levels in pilot whales are a matter of considerable concern to the Faroese, who are so dependent on the sea and its resources. That is why the elimination of pollutants at their source should be the major focus of governmental cooperation and campaigns to ensure binding international commitments to clean up the oceans that are our common heritage.
Captain Paul Watson: We agree that the oceans must be cleaned of toxins and Sea Shepherd is very much involved in this effort. However the Faroese like to present themselves as victims of industrialization when they are equally participating with their industrialized fishing fleets, salmon farms and importing of automobiles, computers and all the other consumer goods that other societies consume. The Faroes are not apart from the problem; they are also a part of the problem.
A Few Flagrantly Foolish Faroese Farcical Facts and Crafty Contradictions
Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
The Faroe Islands…
Where compassion is a crime.
Where an act of kindness can send you to jail.
Where simply wearing a Sea Shepherd T-shirt can get you arrested.
Where a citizen of the European Union (EU) can be deported by an EU nation for opposing an activity that is in violation of EU regulations.
Where a tourist can go to jail for failing to report a pilot whale sighting to the whalers.
Where the Danish Navy, the Danish police and the Danish courts defend the killing of pilot whales and dolphins, yet they claim to not be involved.
Where 85% of the population hold Danish European Union passports but refuse to live in accordance with EU regulations.
Where an average of 216 tons of meat and 144 tons of blubber is unaccounted for every year. The mystery is, where does it go? No one is saying.
Where the national airline, Atlantic Airways and the ferries double as whale-spotting sources for whalers.
Where a country with the highest per capita income in Europe claims they need to kill whales and dolphins in order to survive.
Where they make up convenient laws to enable the killing of whales.
Where children are encouraged to poke out the eyeballs of pilot whales and play with dolphin fetuses.
Where parents take pictures of their kids mutilating pilot whales and they complain if the pictures appear on the internet.
Where hundreds of bodies of whales can be found rotting just below the surface of the sea.
Where they strangle puffins and steal their eggs.
Where the whale meat is said to be free except tourists can buy it in the restaurants and it’s for sale in the market.
Where the Christian community says the whales are a gift from God, though Leviticus expressly forbids the eating of whale meat. Apparently Jesus made a side trip to the Faroes to give them special dispensation.
Where the people claim to be independent from Denmark until they need the support of the Danish Navy.
Where the people take pride in bathing in blood.
Where an hour of stressful pursuit and many minutes of agony accompanied by horrendous screams of pain is described as “humane killing.”
Where population numbers change each day without any scientific validation. One day there are 128,000 pilot whales, the next 780,000. The fact is no one knows, except for the guy in Klaksvik with the crystal ball.
Where people knowingly and willingly consume meat heavily contaminated with mercury and don’t give a sh*t, primarily because they eat meat heavily contaminated with mercury.
Fly the Bloody Skies with Atlantic Airways
Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
I think that that there are some people in the Faroe Islands, especially in the government and media, who do not have a concept of what a movement is.
This report was in the Faroese media a few days ago: “Last week, one of the pilots onboard a helicopter from Atlantic Airways spotted a relatively large pod of pilot whales. This resulted in the pilot whales being driven to beach in Sandavágur and slaughtered.
In the aftermath, Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has urged his followers to contact the national flight company and its CEO, Jørgen Holme. The contact information has also been published on Paul Watson’s Facebook page.”
According to In.fo, Atlantic Airways has received several hundreds of e-mails from people who expressed their opinions on the slaughter of whales in the Faroes and the role of Atlantic Airways in this.
The flight company has made the decision to ignore the e-mails.
“’We have chosen not to answer these people. Many of the e-mails are standard templates where people only add their names. These people are not interested in dialogue, but want to put pressure on us,’ says the sales and marketing manager of Atlantic Airways, Árni Olsen.
Árni Olsen estimates that the protesters have no intention of visiting the Faroe Islands, but are only interested in the protest against the slaughter of pilot whales.
We will take time to answer when we receive serious inquiries from travel agencies, says Árni Olsen.”
Árni Olsen and many others actually think the entire opposition to the horrific slaughter of whales is the fault of one person – myself.
According to a recent news story in the Faroese media, the Atlantic Airways website was crashed by the volume of messages being received and the story states that I am responsible.
I am flattered that the whalers and Atlantic Airways seem to think that I have orchestrated the entire defense of the whales by Sea Shepherd but the truth is that I have not – far from it.
I did provide commentary, as did many others. In fact the information was sent to me by someone else who thought it highly unethical that an airline would be spotting whales for the whale killers.
I recognize that the Faroese whalers and their supporters need a face to hate and I recognize that it is convenient to use my face. I don’t really mind of course but they are seriously misjudging the situation if they believe that I am orchestrating events. I’m not.
I do not even hold a position in Sea Shepherd and I do not give instructions to anyone. Not one of the Sea Shepherd volunteers in the Faroe Islands reports to me or takes orders from me. The captains are in command of their vessels. Crew leaders coordinate volunteers and they themselves are volunteers.
There are some 40 national Sea Shepherd entities around the world and some are supporting this campaign financially and some are not. The people taking the risks to protect the whales are not paid and they are not staff; they are simply compassionate people who are part of a movement.
There are thousands of people sitting behind computer screens who are championing this cause. I have no idea who they are and I certainly do not give them instructions.
I am not organizing demonstrations before Danish embassies around the world. In fact no one person or organization is doing so. These demonstrations are born from the compassionate concerns of hundreds of people around the world.
Targeting myself will not stop the demonstrations or the interventions.
Japan thought that by targeting me and using their power to harass me legally and politically that they could shut down Sea Shepherd. In fact, it simply made Sea Shepherd stronger.
Ask anyone who was arrested on the beach recently for interfering against this obscenity called the Grindadrap if they were ordered to interfere or if they were paid to interfere? The answer will be “No.”
Ask them why and they will say, “Because I care.”
That’s all there is to it.
Many of the Faroese have this idea that I am making money from the opposition to the slaughter. I am not. This is not my job. The problem is that they can’t comprehend why anyone would do anything about anything without being paid. That is their mindset, not ours.
I have been defending wildlife since the age of ten and my motivation now is the same as it was a half century ago. I do what I do because I care. I oppose brutal abuse and the slaughter of wildlife simply because I care. I always have.
There have even been accusations that for some ridiculous reason I am a racist anti-Scandinavian and that for some bizarre reason I hate the Danes and the Faroese.
Considering the fact that my mother was Danish, that claim does not make any sense at all. The truth is that race and culture have absolutely nothing to do with why I oppose suffering and slaughter.
The reason I oppose suffering and slaughter is because of the blood spilled into the sea, because of the screams of whales that haunt me, because of the agonizing convulsions of the whales as they suffer beneath the blades of their killers.
If the Faroese wish to know why the world is rising up in anger against them they need only look in a mirror or in their own reflections in the water as they wash the blood from their hands.
The age of unbridled cruelty and slaughter is fast being jettisoned from human society. There is a growing intolerance towards the particular insanity of humanity that practices psychotic violence in the name of tradition and culture.
So my answer to the CEO of Atlantic Airways, Jørgen Holme is simple. Don’t blame me because your website crashed or because people are angry with you. They are angry with your airline because one of your pilots called in a mass slaughter of pilot whales.
When your pilots are snitches whoring for the whale killers and your company endorses the slaughter of whales why are you surprised that people object to flying the bloody skies of Atlantic Airways?
Danish Duplicity and Complicity in the Slaughter of Pilot Whales and Dolphins
Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
Who are the deceitful Danes disguised as Faroese who kill whales?
A bit of research into Faroese holders of Danish passports is revealing. According to the attached Faroese article, 86% of the people of the Faroe Islands have chosen to hold the Danish passport.
They are given a choice of holding the red Danish passport or the green Faroese passport. They cannot hold both. The red Danish passport allows them to work in the European Union (EU). In other words, full EU benefits without compliance with EU laws.
The logical choice is the red passport over the green one because of these benefits.
It is illegal for a citizen of the EU to participate in the killing of cetaceans. It is a violation of the Berne Convention. This includes Danish citizens.
The Faroese claim to be exempt from EU regulations and laws because they claim they are not members of the European Union.
They receive EU subsidies through Denmark. Denmark provides military, immigration and policing services to the Faroes. Sea Shepherd volunteers, most of whom are EU citizens, were prosecuted in the Faroes by a Danish prosecutor, sentenced by a Danish judge and deported by Danish Immigration.
Danish Immigration deported EU citizens for trying to protect whales in the Danish Faroe Islands, yet allows Danish passport holders to kill whales in violation of the Berne Convention.
The Danish Prime Minister and every single member of the Danish Parliament supports the slaughter of whales yet Denmark continues to insist that this an exclusively Faroese issue.
Claiming independence from the EU allows the Faroese to do things they could not otherwise do as members of the EU, like trading with Russia despite the EU embargo, fishing outside of EU regulations and of course killing whales.
It is a big Danish con. If 86% of the people living on the Faroes hold Danish passports that makes them Danish citizens and thus members of the European Union. And the laws of the EU clearly state that EU members cannot kill whales.
This loophole must be closed. The Faroese want to have their cake (EU benefits) and eat their cake (killing whales) too. Legally, they simply cannot have both.
Sea Shepherd is researching legal avenues to challenge this duplicity. Denmark is now the third largest whale-killing nation after Norway and Iceland. Thanks to Sea Shepherd's successful campaigns in the Southern Ocean, Japan has fallen from its position as the largest whale-killing nation to fourth place. The destruction of whales is now pretty much a European enterprise.
Where’s the Meat?
Commentary by Sea Shepherd Founder, Captain Paul Watson
Many of the Faroese and even some Danes are spreading messages entitled “Sea Shepherd Lies.”
They claim that Sea Shepherd is lying about the slaughter of whales. They say it is humane; we say it is not. They say the whales die instantly; we have documented that they do not. They say children do not participate in the Grind; we have documentation that proves they do. They say Sea Shepherd is lying about the mercury toxicity in the meat; we refer to Faroese doctors as evidence that what we are saying is true. The Faroese whalers seem to think that anything that does not dovetail with their world view is a lie.
Let’s take a look at the Faroese claims that the whales are killed for meat, that they depend upon the meat and that none of the meat is wasted.
Aside from the fact that we have documented entire carcasses lying on the bottom of the ocean, we can use simple mathematics to also disprove this claim as bogus.
When the whales are killed they are divided into what the whalers refer to as “skinns.”
1 skinn = ca 50 KG meat and ca 25 KG blubber
With an average of 880 whales killed per year, that gives about 335.720 kg (approx.. 740 lbs) of meat and 167.860 kg (approx. 370 lbs) of blubber.
The Faroese government has advised to only eat the meat and blubber 1-2 times a month, and a study has shown that only about 17% of the islanders eat it more than once a month. 47% have said that they rarely or never eat pilot whale.
For the purposes of this statistic, we can set the average high at 40% of people that eat pilot whale twice a month.
The population of the Faroe Islands is 49,469 (as of 2013). 40% of this number is 19,787 people.
A meal of meat consists of roughly .250 kg (approx. .5 lbs) of meat and .05 kg (approx. .11 lbs) of blubber.
Two meals per month result in a total of 24 meals per year, with a total of 6 kg (approx. 13 lbs) of meat and 1.2 kg (approx. 2.6 lbs) of blubber consumed.
This means that there every year the Faroese consume 118,722 kg (262,000 lbs) of meat and 23,744.4 kg (approx. 52,000 lbs) of blubber.
The average catch per year is about 335.720 kg (approx. 740 lbs) of meat and 167.860 kg (approx.. 370 lbs) of blubber.
Each year, 216,998 kg (approx. 478,000 lbs) of meat and 144,115.6 kg (approx. 252,000 lbs) of blubber disappears. Where does it go?
It appears that twice as much meat disappears than is eaten.
There has been some speculation that it is fed to farm-raised salmon. I contacted the Faroese salmon farms and they denied this. There is a possibility it could be sold to fur farms in Russia. The Faroese have taken advantage of the European ban on trade with Russia to increase their salmon exports to Russia. This is interesting in and of itself because Denmark has banned trade with Russia and Norway has had a decline in salmon exports to Russia resulting in the increase in farm-raised salmon exports to Russia. Again we have no proof of exports of the meat. But what we do know is that it must go somewhere – the question is where? Should not the Danish authorities investigate this?
I have been sent reports that many Faroese store the meat in freezers and when new meat becomes available it replaces the old meat, which is thrown away. Last year Sea Shepherd took photos and footage of Faroese people dumping whale meat off cliffs into the sea.
Some of the whale meat is sold to tourists in restaurants in the Faroes despite the Faroese saying it is never sold. But even this does not come close to answering the question of where approximately 217 tons (478,000 lbs) of meat and 114 tons (252,000 lbs) of blubber ends up. It is a mystery that the Faroese and the Danish authorities should be obligated to explain.
The question is: Are Faroese deficient in the availability of meat?
There are approximately 70,000 sheep in the Faroes, about 20,000 more sheep than people. In fact the word “Faroe” means sheep. The islands of sheep. Every year the Faroese slaughter approximately 30,000 sheep, mainly seven-year-old animals and lambs.
The Faroese salmon farms produce about 70 tons of salmon per year. The Faroese have an efficient industrialized deep-sea fishing fleet. These two industries give the Faroes the highest per capita income of any country in Europe.
The Faroese complain that they have to import vegetables, pork, beef, chicken and fruits. The reality is that they would still be importing the same foods without killing whales. They also import computers, cars and all the luxuries of western civilization. They pay for these things with the large-scale exploitation of fish and the profits of their salmon farms. In addition they receive subsidies from the European Union without having to comply with European regulations.
The Faroe Islands are one of the wealthiest places on the planet. There is simply no economic or subsistence need to kill pilot whales and dolphins.
The provisions of the Faroese Parliamentary Act state that the Faroese are permitted to drive and kill the following cetaceans:
- Long-finned pilot whale, Globicephala melas
- Northern bottlenose whale, Hyperoodon ampullatus
- Atlantic white-sided dolphin, Lagenorhynchus acutus
- White-beaked dolphin, Lagenorhynchus albirostris
- Common bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus
- Harbour porpoise, Phocoena phocoena
Sea Shepherd has observed the slaughter of whales in the Faroes for many years. What we have seen are a group of people (not all Faroese) who are obsessed with the killing. We see it in their excitement to rush into the sea to slaughter the whales; we hear it in their cheers and laughs; we see it in the joy they exhibit when they plunge their blades into the flesh of these gentle creatures. We see it in their children mutilating the bodies of the whales, and playing with whale fetuses or poking out their eyes.
The whales do not die to provide meat. The kill figures alone demonstrate that this is not the case. The Faroese whalers kill because they believe it is a part of their tradition to kill whales, yet their ancestors did not have helicopters with which to spot the pods, motor boats with which to drive them, or hydraulic cranes and trucks with which to transport them. Nor did they have a Navy to protect the Grind. But their ancestors did have something that the Faroese do not have today and that was subsistence necessity.