Supermarkets urged to stop selling Faroe Islands seafood after dolphin slaughter

Hunters caused widespread outrage when they wiped out a super-pod of 1,428 dolphins. Just 10 days later, the slaughter of 53 pilot whales followed only a few miles from the first massacre

British supermarkets have been urged to stop selling seafood from the Faroe Islands after the largest single hunt of dolphins took place earlier this month.

Hunters caused widespread outrage when they wiped out a super-pod of 1,428 dolphins – thought to be the worst bloodbath of the mammals in the Danish islands’ history.

Just 10 days later, despite global attention, the slaughter of 53 pilot whales followed only a few miles from the first massacre.

Known as the “Grindadrap”, the annual hunt which has taken place for over 800 years involves herding whales and dolphins onto a beach where they are slaughtered as their blood turns the sea red.

Whale and dolphin meat is still consumed for traditional reasons by some islanders but in very small amounts compared to the past. But there is little resistance to the killings on animal welfare grounds from within the Faroes.

Rob Read, chief operations officer at Sea Shepherd, a charity that campaigns against the hunting of whales and dolphins said: “For such a hunt to take place in 2021 in a very wealthy European island community just 230 miles from the UK, with no need or use for such a vast quantity of contaminated meat, is outrageous.”

Zac Goldsmith, the minister for animal welfare, also called the killings “one of the most sickening spectacles I’ve ever seen. It shames our species”.

Wildlife campaigner Dominic Dyer has now called for ministers to suspend the £580m post-Brexit agreement that the government agreed with the Faroes in 2019 “until the slaughter ends for good”.

More than 33,000 have signed a petition on the government website backing the plea.

The deal accounts for more than 25% of the Faroes’ global trade, he said, with exports – mostly fish sold in British supermarkets – worth £582m a year.

Dyer said: “There can be no justification for the continual mass killing on the Faroe Islands. These hunts cannot be defended on the grounds of culture or sustainable harvesting of seafood.

“If the Government fails to take this opportunity to use its trade leverage, it will hold some responsibility for thousands more dolphins and pilot whales being cruelly slaughtered in years ahead.”