Saturday, February 1, 2014

Whale Killings In The Faroe Islands

OK, there have been countless blog posts about this topic now, and since I am no expert I've held my tongue. Be that as it may there are so many things being said  that even the slightest attempt at basic research would disprove, that it's becoming increasingly frustrating to identify as human - the stupidity is overwhelming.

One of the greatest strengths of the internet is also one of its greatest weaknesses: everyone gets a voice. That means people, whose thoughts and opinions would be much better served if they never reached the light of day, get to express themselves. Sometimes this is harmless; everyone is allowed their own opinion. It is when an opinion is based on misinformation and lies that it becomes not only wrong, but also invalid, because contrary to popular belief you are not entitled to have a wrong opinion. If there are facts that prove the reasoning for your opinion is wrong, there is no reason at all for anyone to accept your opinion as being neither valid nor acceptable, and this is what is happening with the whale killings in the Faroes.
  You are completely in the right to disagree with whale killings for the simple reason that you may really like whales. It's not an opinion that holds a lot of weight, and it most certainly is no argument for you to try to get them banned, unless you are in fact vegan and are equally against the slaughter of all animals, in which case you are completely allowed to fight against whale killings all you want equally alongside your fight against the killings of other animals. Might I even suggest that you start with the millions of animals whose entire lives are spent in tiny enclosures alongside their peers, living in their own urine and feces, whose existence is filled with misery, sickness, and broken bones, until they are killed in completely inhumane ways, rather than the few hundreds of whales that are killed by the Faroese people - as quickly and humanely as possible - after living free, full lives at sea.
  However, if you're going to disagree with whale killings because you've read some bogus article about it being a "rite of passage" into adulthood, because pilot whales are "endangered", because it's something that's done "for fun" at "blood festivals", because "look at all the blood in the ocean! They're savages", or because "whales are intelligent", let me tell you a few  things.

1. It is not a "Rite of Passage"

Is it a "tradition"? Yes! The Faroese people have been doing this for hundreds of years. It's a part of their heritage and it most certainly is "passed down" - how else would it survive? However, this is done for food. The Faroes have a harsh climate and agriculture options are limited. Nearly everything has to be imported. Can you really judge them for getting food from where they can, especially considering that this is not an industry, the whales are not actively hunted, and the meat and blubber gets distributed evenly for free?

2. Pilot whales are not endangered

I have no idea where this started. Pilot whales most certainly are not endangered, and if they were, it would not be because of the 0.1% of the whales that the Faroese people kill, that has long been deemed a very sustainable number.

3. There is no such thing as "Blood Festivals"

I actually don't even know what more to say about this. How this one got started is a mystery to me. It is a complete fabrication - someone must have a very vivid imagination.

4. When you kill something, there will be blood (unless you use poison, or something)

When cows and pigs are slaughtered there is a lot of blood as well. Only difference is they don't get slaughtered on a beach. Would you rather they moved the whales off the beach, bringing more suffering to everyone just so that it would look more appropriate? The Faroese mostly have great respect for these creatures, and don't wish to cause them any unnecessary suffering.

5. Whales are intelligent

..but so are cows and pigs, and considering how they are treated during their entire lives in the meat industry, you really need to rethink this one. Did you know, that cows allegedly mourn the deaths of and even separation from those they love, even shedding tears over their loss. The mother-calf bond is particularly strong, and there are countless reports of mother cows who continue to frantically call and search for their babies after the calves have been taken away and sold to veal or beef farms.

6. There is an entire system to all of this

You may not be aware of this (actually if you're one of the people who believe the propaganda I'm sure you're not), but there really is an entire system to how this is handled. Pilot whales are not actively hunted and no one is out searching for them, trying to find a nice group of whales to kill. If they are spotted by someone, "Pilot Whale Foremen" - who are experts in the area - are informed and they have to judge whether the whales are close enough to shore, if the direction of the winds and currents are appropriate to ensure that it's easy to drive the whale onto a beach, but not just any beach: the beach has to have been specifically approved for pilot whale killing. If all of these requirements (and probably more that I'm unaware of) aren't met, the killings do not happen. If they are and the whales are driven onto shore, everything is monitored by officials and there's a whole system to all of that too. If it looks "savage" it's because people are bending over backwards to kill the whales as quickly as possible to ensure the least possible amount of stress. Killing something so you can eat it doesn't necessarily mean a lack of respect for the life and integrity of the animal (unless you're vegan or just don't eat meat, in which case I - yet again - welcome your criticism).

7. This is the ultimate in "free range" meat

These whales live free lives right up until they are killed. They swim freely in the ocean, they eat what they're supposed to eat, and they are not bred for the purpose of being eaten. Faroese agriculture in general is one of the best in the world. Sheep roam freely around the islands, contrary to most countries where farm animals live on top of each other in enclosures so small even an ant would get claustrophobic.

How all pilot whales that are killed by the Faroese live up until their deaths.

8. Look at yourselves and reflect

Do you even know what is going on in your own countries? If you're Danish check out this link. If you're American read this book or watch any undercover video by PETA. If you're from a more "exotic" location where poachers hunt animals to extinction for their tusks, horns, or fur I'm sure you can agree you have more important things to focus on.

How many cows live for great parts of their life. Go on, judge. Did you know, that animal behaviorists have found that cows interact in socially complex ways, developing friendships over time and sometimes holding grudges against other cows who treat them badly.

Why do the Faroe Islands receive this kind of attention for what they do? Is it merely because of the lies and propaganda, or is it because you want somewhere to point your finger, somewhere to direct your attention, so you don't have to think about where that burger you're about to eat really comes from?

Good boy.

If you'd like to know more about whaling press this link here.
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  1. Thank you :) And all the best wishes from the Faroes :)

  2. You're very welcome! :) Thank you for reading my blog!

  3. Wonderful blog. Thank you!

    1. Thank you very much! It's my pleasure!

    2. Informed, well written, quite simply brilliant. I totally agree on your thoughts about the dumbing down, that the internet and social media has led to.

  4. Insightful and to the point.

    Since SS Grindstop started myself and others have been trying to get the same points across to the SS supporters and the organization itself on FB. In a rational and civiliezed discourse no profanities, trolling or anything of the sort, however, all of our replies were deleted.

  5. A very true, non-bullshit article, and i think it would be good if this one got enough shares - thumbs up!

  6. Thank you so much for this excellent post! Best regards from the Faroes :)

  7. Nice to see that there are people who can be bothered enough to get the facts straight and see things in a bigger perspective. Thank you so much for not falling for the activist propaganda, and for speaking up. Thank you !

  8. Obviously sided with the Faroese but based on facts rather than emotions. Great read!

  9. Finally someone who did their homework, hats of to you!
    Lots of love from the Faroes :))

  10. I'm truly amazed to read this blog, from someone who apparently haven't been visiting Faroe Islands and seen the killing.
    But as you yourself stated, checking up facts is crucial for debate any issue, and I must say you have done your job to the fullest.
    It's never a pleasant sight to kill any creator, unless you have some unhealthy mental illness. But every time it is necessary to do so, in order to provide food.
    I laughed out load, when you mention the killing without blood (poison), but it's so true :)
    Nice to know that there still are some people out there, who do understand people who live close to nature and have to use the benefits that nature offer.
    The food chain is in fact a reality.
    Of course we have a responsibility, as our own claimed position in top of the chain, to preserve the nature and it's inhabitants.
    Those poor minded people who think that food is just something you buy in supermarkets, how would they imagine the indigenous people in the Amazon to survive ?
    Knowledge is the key to understand other lifeforms and their living habits.
    My deepest respect for your openness.

  11. Wonderful article, thank you :)
    Best wishes from the Faroes :)

  12. very good written, thank you :)

  13. Thnxs, very well written! This will be posted.

  14. Good reading. And true =)

  15. Now that was spot on :) thank you from a faroese man :)

  16. Now that was spot on, thank you for understanding our way of living. All the best from us here in the Faroe Islands :)

  17. Finally someone that has the facts right!
    Thank you for this wonderful blog post about whale killings in the Faroe Islands! :)
    Best regards from a Faroese girl

  18. ...and the truth shall set us free :-)
    Thank you for clearing things up. Hopefully this will be read by all the world ;-)

  19. I really appreciate that you are trying to spread out the facts of grindadráp and point out the stupidity and lies that flourish on the internet :-) You are so right about the fact that it's not only good that every idiot has a visible voice on the internet! Really obvious that you are one of the people that should be heard! This faroese heart ( who by the way doesn't eat alot of whale meat because of the pollution) thanks you greatly for this article. ...and now I'm sharing :-)

  20. thank you, for the respect

  21. Wonderful arguments based on fakta. Tank you:) Love from FO

  22. Thank you for enlightening the "outsiders" hating the Faroe Islands for whale killing.

  23. Thank you, I could not have said it better my self:-)

  24. Also min way of thinking :)

  25. 100% facts - thank you Cha Cha

  26. A true skeptic! You evidently do not accept the (mis)information spread by certain groups. I am faroese, and I know what is true and what is not.
    Your blog gets it right. Spot on.

    Very refreshing to read a foreigner's (not faroese) account of whale hunt that gets the facts straight. Thank's a lot !!

  27. Thank you :)
    And all the best from the Faroe Islands :)

  28. Thank you, it is a pleasure reading your blog.

  29. Hey, I was very happy to read your blog. A lot of bullshit has come my way, because I'm Faroese and therefor an animal abuser, apparently. This is very well informed. I've read tons of crap on both sides of this argument, but is not one of them. Thank you for speaking my terms, I'll just share this next time somebody attacks me.
    Thank you.

  30. Finally someone checking their information before posting it online. Thank you, and now we have a few 100 Seashepherd people running in our Country, eating burgers and trying to stop whale hunting.. (if any comes by) ... it is quiet ironic..

  31. Thank You for a well written and true article about grindadráp. We are so used to naive and misinformed people attacking us in a very agressive manner - lead by evil leaders (terrorists and pirates actually) with their own agenda (money & power). Your article is totally the opposit. Thank You very much for that. I read Your article with tears in my eyes....I was suprised by my tears, but then realised how much all the lies and agressive attacs have been hurting me and my country for so many years. I wish You all good.

  32. Thank you :)
    God Bless from Faroe Islands <3

  33. Thank you so much!!maybe some day you will visit the islands, you would be most velcome:) Best wishes from the Faroe Islands

  34. Thanks Cah Cah :)

  35. A link to your BLOG has been posted on the Sea Shepherd Grindstop page... So, be ready to expect some nasty comments...

    Great post, though!

  36. Well-written and timely post. You mentioned that the whaling foreman has the authority to call off a whale drive if the sea/wind conditions are not good and you alluded to other requirements that you might not know about. One of the most interesting of those "other requirements," to me at least, is that the foremen maintain a running total of how much whale meat and blubber is stored in people's home freezers and drying sheds throughout their district at all times. If there is "enough" (and that's subjective, of course) then either the whales will not be driven ashore or it will be made known to those participating that the whales are being driven for another district where meat and blubber stores are less.

  37. Trust me, this helps a lot, the more people understands us and are on our side the merrier!
    This is such a peaceful place with nice people, i don't understand why people want to change that.

    Thank you!

  38. In 1998 I was an exchange student to the Faroe Islands and I had the opportunity to take part in a grindadráp. I am from and live in the US and happen think that whale tastes really very good and grindadráps have been a driving factor in the survival of the Fareoese people. I have to say this blog was well written and spot on in every mentioned aspect. There is so much ignorance revolving around this issue and the internet bullies (and Whale Wars idiots) who think they know everything and blindly force their beliefs on people can suck it. The Faroese are wonderful people whose ancestors did what they had to do to survive and passed their traditions on to the younger generations. Thank you for the blog and long live Faroese traditions. Miss all you Faroe Islanders!!!

  39. Thank you for the support...from A Faroese Sweden

  40. Well what a load of Bull**** Talk about contradicting yourself. You say in one sentence that the Faroese do not have the climate for Agriculture, then a few sentences later you say the Faroese agriculture is one of the best in the world. I don't think for one minute this comment will remain, as it is obvious that you only want people to see positive comments about murdering Whales, and showing them respect by letting children sit on the backs of the dying ones.

    1. Either I have been unclear, or you have misunderstood.

      The growing of crops, vegetables etc. is very difficult due to the nature of Faroese climate. There are, however, a lot of sheep and they are treated with much respect, have large areas of land where they roam free, and they eat what they're intended to eat: grass. Also, whales live a free life until they die, which is more than can be said for most animals that are consumed around the world. By the way, the children don't sit on "dying" whales - the whales are long dead by the time those photos have been taken, as they die almost immediately. By your outrage, I assume you don't eat any kind of meat, so I'm not sure this comment is gonna make any difference.

      If you think it's "obvious" that I only want people to see "positive comments about murdering whales" you're "obviously" misinformed: this is the first and only negative comment that this post has received, despite being read and shared thousands of times. That's not my fault.

  41. the link to the book the Americans shall read is broken, can you please fix it? :)

  42. Finally someone who understand us ;) it's well written, and I hope that more people will understand why it isn't cruel and wrong to kill the whales. I think you managed it well explaining:)

  43. Thanks for the article.
    Hopefully more people will become aware of the real truth on whale catches in the Faroe Islands and not what Sea Shepherd and other idiots who constantly lie about us.

  44. I'm Faroese and currently living in Asia. On numerous accounts the propaganda has reached my colleagues and friends, yet this blog and other informative blogs on this matter, have not. Thanks for sharing your insight. Keep it up!

  45. I lived in the Faroes for 4 years back in the 80´s. I caused a lot of stupid problems during that time, growing out of my teens, but there was one thing I never had any "beef" with, and that was their natural right to bring food to their table and feed their family. There are way too many ignorant assholes around the world who have bought into the propaganda from the terrorist organization Sea Shepherd, and they repeat that stupid propaganda wherever and whenever they can. Mindless worms they are.

    One error in the blog post:

    "Might I even suggest that you start with the millions of animals whose entire lives are spent in tiny enclosures alongside their peers"

    It is not MILLIONS, but rather TENS OF BILLIONS.... and that is really where "concerned" people should start their anti killing campaigns... by cutting off their very own food supply

  46. My comment will be about the way the operation is followed thru. I dont like that they use Pictures of children in their campain and also i dislike the use of hte flag.
    Otherwise Im against whalkilling and also against fabricfishboats. Maybe give it a rest for some years to let the fishpopolation grow back again.
    What Im most schocked about is when I went to mr.Watsons page and asked him why they still used the flag in the speaking tour uk. The answer i got was why do you still kill whales? I told him Im against killing whales but did that sink in? NO, Im starting to get why ppl dislike this man so intense. He verbally attacked me for enjoying to se the blood and the kills and I was seriously hurt by his comments as Im a devoted animal lover. I work to protect animals from abuse. He just kept on ranting on about how I was a cruel slaughter. I live in Norway and not in the faroes. My mother came from the faroes so I have never seen a grind or even been Close to it.
    I love the Faroese culture With the warm ppl and the way they live.
    I cant Write anything on either of the operation grindstop pages. I suspect its because of my sir name.
    Last year when they were in the Faroes I was discusted by them yelling at Familys With children murders and other vile Things. What kind of ppl does that? Childabusers? And what would they say if their own country had ppl yelling abusive stuff to their children at their nationalcelebration?

    Last night I read a "blog" from the French lady who was operation manager last year. In this blog she managed to Call the Whole willage of Klaksvik mentally sick and retarded ...she wrote is was because of the mercurypoison.

    I have never been so dissapointed by a animal protecting Group as these ppl. Their followers are grim and so full of hate. Mr.Watson himself is the biggest hater of them all. Just og to fb and look at his page. My conversation With him is under the Picture where the ss ppl are visiting a Faroese Family for a meal.
    Ill put in a link to the blog from last years operation manager here too.

    I hope these ppl will se what they are doing soon...This hateful behavior got me as an animal protector ro og against them...and Ill do anything to expose them as you do .

    Thank you for a great article, and I will surtanly share it.

    xxx from Dårris Birtilid

  47. This is so very well written. Thank you for getting the facts out to the whole world. Best wishes from a faroese woman :-) Now i´m sharing...

  48. Good work - honest and more importantly true

    The hypcrosy, twisiting and down right lying tactics of the 'SS' groups are shamefull

    & this group does not WANT to get involved in dialogue or reasoned arguments - in addition with some quite disrepectful actions, and provocative almost 'war-like' stance - do they really want to cooperate and educate?

    One has the strange feeling that this is 'public relations marketing' that raises a LOT of funding, using easily obtained and manipulated graphics (& inaccurate unhelpful wording) - hence no reason to get to finding out what is really going on.

    Good job on this clear cut point by point rebuttal -
    ps 40-50,000 children under 5 die every DAY, from poor water supplies and malnutrition - what do we care more about?

  49. Thanks God, someone is out there. Honestly written. Sincerely.