I am sitting down at five thirty PM Montreal time to try to write a post, this post, about a difficult subject. I have done a little bit of research this morning and, I have to tell you, the subject matter saddens me so much that I had to put it aside for the day in order to reflect on what exactly I would like to say.
I am still not sure. It is not the first time I have broached this type of subject, namely the annual hunts of dolphins, whales, sharks and other marine animals. These massacres are usually conducted in the name of some long held tradition or the supposed human need for food and entertainment.
But, I find myself shocked to learn of another such annual campaign to be launched in the Faroe Islands around the end of June and lasting two months, give or take. Of course, I had never heard of it. But thanks to Twitter and some dedicated nonhuman animal advocates out there, I did see it referred to as upcoming.
Here are some of the facts surrounding this hunt:
The hunt began more than 1200 years ago when there were Norse inhabitants on the Faroe Islands.
In current times, several hundred whales are killed each year, ostensibly for their whale and blubber.
It is not a commercial venture as such, because the products of the slaughter are distributed among the habitants of the island.
In earlier times the hunt was considered necessary because of the lack of potential for producing other food on this very rocky island.
It has become an annual tradition with spectators gathering to watch the horrific slaughters.
The whales are herded into small coves and when they reach the shallow water, they are pulled onto shore by means of a blow hook which is placed into their blow holes.
Their spines and carotid arteries are severed with knives and the blood spills into the water staining it a bright red.
Criticisms of the hunt are many:
“Paul Watson, the founder and leader of the animal-rights organization Sea Shepherd, who has witnessed the killings says, the hunters “literally saw through the animal’s spine to kill them. People tend to drink a lot and it’s a big party akin to the Roman gladiator games.”
“In addition to extreme physical pain, the pilot whales also suffer considerable terror as they swim frantically in the blood of their pod mates and struggle against the hunters’ hooks and knives.”
“It is unnecessary because it has long been possible to replace the meat and blubber of the pilot whales with other sources of food(from mercury and chemicals deposited into the oceans by humans) and it is common in the Faroes for children and women of childbearing age to avoid consumption of the meat.”—the grind is no longer a form of subsistence hunting.”
Graphic pictures of the Hunt abound.I have looked at them, but I leave that up to you whether or not you feel able to do so. I think they are worth viewing because pictures such as these can cause a shift in consciousness-a realization that cruelty of this magnitude is ongoing.
I discovered that there is a Petition circulating asking the government of the Faroe Islands to stop the slaughter. As of May 20th, it has 20,000 signatures. You may wish to sign it.
A petition such as the one above, is often called by abolistionists in nonhuman advocacy, a single cause petition. I heard of this for the first time after writing a post about the dolphin hunt at Tajii. Specifically, abolitionists feel that these causes dilute the message of veganism.
Abolitionists believe that veganism is about all nonhuman animals and the fight (dare I say) for their freedom is one fight for all species, not a fight for one particular species.
Here is a comment one of my readers made about this very subject.
Thanks for sharing this. I usually don’t sign “single-cause” petitions (e.g., seal-hunting in Canada, free-range chickens at KFC) because I think they dilute the broader message that use of animals is quite simply a serious rights violation. I signed in this case because I think this issue has the potential to cause many people to think about the place animals occupy in our worlds.
I definitely agree 100% with Allison about Free Range chickens. We should not allow ourselves to be duped by clever, untrue marketing ploys. Chickens should never be on our plates whether they are treated well or not, which, by the way, they are not!
Annie’s Vegan View
I think it would be wonderful if we could divert all of our energy to just one cause. I also feel that people who are passionate about fighting for one species, whether it be dolphins, farmed animals chimpanzees, or dogs, bring a certain energy and authenticity that is invaluable.
I think of Ric O’Barry (dolphins), Gene Baur and Jenny Brown (farmed nonhuman animals) and Jane Goodall (chimpanzees). I have to say that I admire their dedication.
One thing I do know for sure, is that using kindness and compassion in our daily lives, extending it to the living beings who are suffering now and everyday is key to their salvation, and by extension, for ours.
May all beings be happy and free.