A WILDLIFE charity has described the slaughter of more than 1,000 dolphins in the Faroe Islands as “horrifying.”

Part of a four-century old tradition, 1,428 white-sided dolphins were driven into shallow water and killed for meat and blubber in the North Atlantic islands last weekend.

Thea Taylor, lead at the Sussex Dolphin Project, an organisation which aims to inspire the community to learn about the marine life that lives off our coast, said the killing hides behind its “traditional status”.

The Argus: Sussex Dolphin Project have described the slaughter as 'horrifying'Sussex Dolphin Project have described the slaughter as 'horrifying'

She said: “The Grandadrap hunt has rightly shocked the world and once again placed the spotlight on this horrifying issue, which has long hidden behind its traditional status.

“As a project of a global cetacean conservation partnership, the World Cetacean Alliance, we are concerned that these slaughters still occur in the 21st century when the need for whale meat in a developed country is nil.”

The Faroe Islands government has said it will review the way hunts of Atlantic white-sided dolphins.

She said: “Even many Faroese have been surprised by the scale of the killing and as a result, the Faroe Islands Government has now announced an evaluation of the regulations on the catching of Atlantic white-sided dolphins, which we welcome as a step in the right direction.

“However, the truth is there is no real monitoring of the sustainability of this type of hunting and this issue has proved it is neither controlled nor humane.

“How can the slaughter of dolphins, that have been driven to the killing beach for hours by powerboats and jet skis, then dragged to the beach with blowhole hooks and slaughtered with spinal lances before having their heads severed, even be considered humane?

“Surely this activity goes against the meaning of the word?”

The extent of the slaughter was so large– much higher than in previous years – that it appears participants may not have been able to follow regulations to minimise the animals’ suffering.

Faroese premier Bardur a Steig Nielsen said in a statement: “We take this matter very seriously. Although these hunts are considered sustainable, we will be looking closely at the dolphin hunts, and what part they should play in Faroese society.”

Thea said the project welcomes the government’s decision as a “step in the right direction” but has questioned how the tradition could ever been considered “controlled or humane”.

Sussex Dolphin Project is supporting a petition started by the Blue Planet Society urged the Faroe Islands to stop the hunt of dolphins and small whales.

To view the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-hunt-of-dolphins-and-small-whales

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