A Dolphin, Two Boats and a Knife
A Dolphin, Two Boats and a Knife

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.”

Free and Unharmed

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.

AllisonJanuary 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM

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 respect Allison’s view and I believe in it. However, I also believe that relieving the suffering of nonhuman animals on a case by case basis is also important. I don’t like to see beings suffer, especially through acts of cruelty, whether they be emotional and/or physical.

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.




  • July 26, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Hi, so I read this after a Grind happened today (July 26th 2016). What I first felt after today’s news was sadness, but afterwards I remembered that millions of farm animals and fish are also killed everyday. I’m a huge supporter of Sea Shepherd (whose ships are vegan), but at times like this I kind of feel like this isn’t breaking news anymore, because we vegans are used to knowing about all the animal suffering going on each and every day.

  • July 27, 2016 at 7:09 am

    Hi DSFRA,

    Welcome to my website and thank you for weighing in. Yes, as vegans,we certainly do know about the ongoing and abject cruelty meted out to other species daily for our wants, not needs. 65 plus billion farmed animals and 100 millions tons of aquatic animals yearly worldwide are astonishing figures, event though even one loss of life is too many.
    I must say, then when I first became vegan and then later an AR activist, I was not aware of many of the atrocities and am saddened when another such travesty is highlighted on social media.

    I do feel that it is important to continue to highlight these issues in hopes of educating people and of course in hopes of hitting the mainstream media. When this happens, I think that there will be a great opportunity for public outcry and change, with a view to promoting veganism as the ever present goal.

    Take care,

    • August 5, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Thanks for answering. Although I feel frustrated by the massacre of pilot-whales being news and the ongoing killing of other animals not getting to the news, I have to remind myself that compassion towards other animals than cats and dogs has to start somewhere.

      Certainly if instead of watching Paul McCartney’s “If slaughterhouses had glass walls” I had seen just some footage of industrial fishing, I wouldn’t have gone vegan; now I understand that it’s unethical to kill fish too.

      As I’m planning to join Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, I’m trying to figure out if it’s the best or most effective way to help animals.

      Take care.

      • August 13, 2016 at 10:31 am

        Hi there,
        I think we all feel the same way about wanting to be as effective as possible given the ongoing enslavement and murder of so many sentient beings worldwide. I think questioning is good though. It helps us to re-evaluate as we become more informed.
        Take care,

  • September 26, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Hi Anne
    I can understand and respect both points of view, however I do believe in S.I.C campaigns for the reasons you mention above. I think it is okay to be shocked and saddened about any species that is being abused in this way and it doesn’t necessarily detract from the bigger picture of the millions of farm animals being slaughtered every day. I know this is just my opinion but if we focus on one particular species at any one given time I think it deepens our understanding of what that species is going through. Some activists as you say prefer to focus and/or work with one particular species and they then become specialists in this subject and are better able to help the species and share the information they have gathered with others.

    We all need to work in collaboration as vegans and activists. We all have the same end goal and how we get to that end goal destination, is I believe just a matter of personal choice and we need not criticise each other for finding our own way to this goal. We are all in this together.

    Take care

    Rachel Weightman


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