Target: Kaj Leo Johannesen, Faroese Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Demark Prime Minister
Goal: Demand government to denounce annual dolphin and whale hunt
The Faroe Islands are a self-governed jurisdiction under Danish control. Annually, the young men of the islands conduct a brutal and barbaric hunt of dolphins and whales as part of a coming-of-age ritual. Despite protests and proof that consumption of these meats are dangerous, the ritual continues.
Thousands of years ago, long before the advent of boat engines, the Icelandic ancestors of the Faroe Islands set up an annual hunt of whale and dolphin. Thousands of years ago the bounty was necessary to feed the population. Currently, the hunt continues, despite the fact that these animal populations are dwindling and the inhabitants have other avenues for nutrition. The hunt, referred to as The Grind, has become more of a local tradition, a town spectacle for a favored delicacy.
The largest victims of this tradition are pilot whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Unfortunately and possibly without their knowledge, the Faroese people are also becoming victims of this hunt. Whale meat and blubber can have adverse reactions on immune systems and increase the risk of hypertension and Parkinson’s disease. In 2008 the Faroe Islands’ Chief Medical Officer and Chief Physician informed his government that due to the contaminants now present in these meats, he did not recommend them for human consumption. In 2012 the Faroese Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health issued a statement recommending no further human consumption of pilot whale meat. The Grind is also starting to affect the economic pressure on the Faroe Islands. More than one cruise line has threatened canceling routes of tourism if the hunt continues.
The Faroese and Danish governments need to finally take a stand on this issue. While this is an ancient tradition, the advantages the hunters now have with technology threatens survival of any targeted animals. These animals are rounded up by motorized boats and herded towards the shore for brutal slaying. The barbaric nature of this hunt coupled with the actual physical harm this meat will bring to citizens provides ample reasoning for officials to denounce this event and work towards ending The Grind once and for all.
Dear Prime Minister Johannesen and Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt,
For multiple reasons, you must work together to denounce The Grind as an annual tradition for the Faroe Islands.
The Faroese Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health recommendation to end the human consumption of pilot meat must be followed. Toxic contaminants now found in whale meat and blubber will cause long term severe health risks for your population.
When this tradition started, the hunt was carried out in canoes with hand-made hunting tools. This is no longer the case, and the animals being hunted have little chance of escape, thereby negating any sense of sport. To the rest of this world, this tradition appears as nothing but a bloody and barbaric ritual, threatening species that have been proven to be human-friendly and intelligent.
It is time for your governments to denounce The Grind: for the health of your people, the continuation of your tourism, and out of fairness to the animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Erik Christensen via Wikipedia Commons