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Faroe Islands begin review of controversial dolphin hunt

Faroe Islands begin review of controversial dolphin hunt

White-sided dolphins killed at Faroe Islands Photo: VCG

The Faroe Islands, a Danish autonomous territory, said Tuesday it had begun discussions about the future of its controversial dolphin hunt, with a decision expected in the coming weeks.

A petition with almost 1.3 million signatures calling for a ban on the traditional hunt was submitted to the Faroese government on Monday, the prime minister’s office and whale conservation groups told AFP.

At a meeting on Tuesday in Torshavn, the government discussed the conclusions of a re-evaluation that Prime Minister Bardur a Steig Nielsen had ordered in September 2021, after the unusually large slaughter of more than 1,400 Atlantic white-sided dolphins sparked an outcry.

In the Faroese tradition known as “grindadrap,” or “grind” for short, hunters surround dolphins or pilot whales with a wide semi-circle of fishing boats and drive them into a shallow bay where they are beached.

Every summer, images of the bloody hunt make headlines around the world and spark outrage among animal rights defenders who consider the practice barbaric.

But the hunt still enjoys broad support in the Faroes, where supporters point out that the animals have fed the local population for centuries.