Stacey Dooley Watches On In Horror As Minke Whale Is Shot With Grenade During New Doc
WARNING: CONTAINS DISTRESSING AND GRAPHIC CONTENT
For her new documentary Stacey Dooley Investigates: The Whale Hunters, presenter and filmmaker Dooley visits Norway and the Faroe Islands to delve into the world of whaling - in both its traditional and commercial forms - to see how moral, ethical or environmentally friendly it really is.
During the film, Dooley travels to the Lofoten Islands and joins a fishing crew during their week-long commercial whaling trip in the Arctic Circle.
On the second day, Dooley watches on as the group catch a five-tonne, seven-metre-long minke whale and shoot it with a cannon-style gadget featuring an in-built grenade, killing it instantly on impact.
After reeling the whale in, skipper Bjorn then shoots the creature with a rifle to make sure it's dead.
While minke whales are not currently under thread from extinction and are therefore legal to hunt in Norway, Dooley looks shocked by the brutality she's witnessed.
"I've seen people hunt before, but... I've never even seen a whale this close up," she explains.
"I don't really know how I'm feeling. F*** this is mad."
Each minke whale is worth around £7,000, in turn providing the whaling community with an effective way to earn a living, along with a source of food.
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At one point of the film, Dooley asks the crew how they feel when they have to cut up a whale's corpse.
"Ordinary," one replies, adding that they did feel 'a little bit strange' the first time they had to do it, but have now 'got used to it'.
Bjorn, the crew's skipper, also says those who are against the tradition simply don't understand the laws of nature.
Arguing that the practice is no different to meat industries in other countries, he tells Dooley: "They haven't been where this is normal. They have been misled, everybody thinks that we are doing this against international laws but that's not true.
"We have an international right to do it, whale hunting."
At another point in the programme, Dooley also travels to the Faroe Islands to learn about the 1,000 year-old tradition of the grind, where pilot whales, white-sided dolphins and bottle-nosed dolphins are beached and slaughtered
Here, the hunt is not a job, it is tradition - with kills recorded and the meat given out free to those involved in the killing.
While islanders defend the slaughter as sustainable and culturally important, and maintain that the death is instant and that animals are not in distress or pain during the grind, Dooley also meets with marine conservation group the Sea Shepherds, who believe that the killing is inhumane and unregulated, meaning the mammals often suffer before they die.
Stacey Dooley Investigates: The Whale Hunters is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.
Featured Image Credit: BBC