1,400 Dolphins Killed In Single Day During Annual Faroe Islands Hunt
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WARNING: This article contains images that some people may find distressing
Hunters in the Faroe Islands have killed 1,400 dolphins during a traditional hunt in what is thought to be one of the tradition's 'biggest ever massacres'.
It is thought to be the most dolphins that have ever been killed during 'Grindadráp' or 'the grind'.
Huge pods of dolphins were herded into the largest fjord in the Faroes - the bay of Skálafjörður - by boats before they were killed by having their spinal cords severed with knives.
The carcasses of the dolphins were then dragged to shore and given out to locals for consumption.
Around 1,428 dolphins in total were massacred in the space of just 24 hours.
Under the Faroese law, each year the population can hunt bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, white-beaked dolphins, and harbour porpoises.
Horrifying footage - which we're not going to get into here - shows the waters of the fjord turn red with blood as the hunters stab the dolphins.
The tradition has been evident in Faroese culture for hundreds of years, despite widespread opposition outside of the small North Atlantic archipelago, which is an autonomous territory of Denmark.
Speaking to BBC News, even the chairman of the Faroese Whalers Association admitted that the killing this year was excessive.
He said: "It was a big mistake,
"When the pod was found, they estimated it to be only 200 dolphins.
"Somebody should have known better. Most people are in shock about what happened."
Campaign group Sea Shepherd has roundly condemned the practice, arguing that 'the killing of the dolphins and pilot whales is rarely as quick as Faroese government' says it is.
They added: "Grindadráp hunts can turn into drawn-out, often disorganised massacres,
"The pilot whales and dolphins can be killed over long periods in front of their relatives while beached on sand, rocks or just struggling in shallow water."
One Danish MP for the Faroe Islands, Sjúrður Skaale, said that the yearly killing of sea mammals is 'legal but not popular' adding that 'people were furious' about the hunt that took place on Sunday.
However, he added that the hunt was 'humane' if conducted in the right way.
The usual method involves a special lance that cuts the spinal cord of the animals before the neck is then cut.
He said that it should - in theory - take 'less than a second to kill a whale'.
Skaale added: "From an animal welfare point of view, it's a good way of killing meat - far better than keeping cows and pigs imprisoned."
A recent poll in the Faroes showed that just over half the population disapprove of killing the dolphins, whereas 30 percent said they wanted to continue.
However, 80 percent said that they wanted to continue killing the pilot whales, according to public broadcaster Kringvarp Føroya.