Sea Of Blood: Massacre Of Whales Celebrated On Nordic Islands

People stand in the waves, surrounded by the hulks of dead whales, as the sea swirls blood-red around their legs. Animal rights and environmental activists posted these grisly images on social media, fanning the flames of a global outcry against the ritual slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands. Our Faroese Observer explains, however, that the tradition is not a blood sport: the whales are a source of food for the islanders.


CONTENT WARNING: The images below may be upsetting for some readers.


The world has been left outraged following the release of horrific images showing the aftermath of a whale massacre on a Danish-owned island.

The brutal event, called Grindadráp by locals, happens every summer, when thousands of pilot and beaked whales are slaughtered across the Faroe Islands as residents prepare for winter.

Credit: Triangle News

As unsuspecting herds of whales swim close to shore during their migration season, fisherman surround them and drive them towards the shallow bay waters.

The whales then become trapped, which is when the slaughtering begins.

The event draws massive crowds every year, with children as young as five getting involved in the brutalities.

Cambridge University student Alastair Ward, 22, was visiting the island last month to celebrate his graduation, when he stumbled across the busy bloodbath.

He said: “We were walking round this bay when this family of locals ran over and said ‘you’re lucky, there’s a whale coming’.

“We thought it would be just one being dragged in but more and more boats kept appearing on the horizon.

“I couldn’t believe how many whales there were. They were driving them into the bay, prodding them with their oars.

Credit: Triangle News

“Once they got close enough, the whole town sprinted in and started hacking at them.

“Even the children were getting involved, pulling the ropes and jumping on the carcasses.

“We were just sat there speechless and a bit upset but you couldn’t really pull yourself away.”

More than 180 whales were cut apart and left to die in Sandav Gur bay, turning the waters crimson red with blood as residents cheered and took selfies with loved ones.

Using hooked ropes to yank the whales to shore, the fishermen hack at their bodies with sharp knives and many are left almost decapitated and writhing in pain, dying a slow and horrific death.

Alistair continued: “The squealing from the whales was horrible. They were putting hooks in their blowholes and then started hacking at them with knives.

“They didn’t die in a very humane way

“Children were jumping on top of them. They have such a different attitude to us because they’re brought up on it.”

In a heartfelt post posted by Sea Shepherd Faroe Island Campaign, the anti-hunting group says: “I search for people protesting, for activists filming the cruel slaughter, for one person, anyone, who is crying over this ordeal. There is nobody.”

The event is said to be an important tradition for locals, who have depended on the meat and fat of whales for thousands of years.

However, Sea Shepherd claims that while some of it is eaten, a lot of the meat is just left to rot.

Every summer, Sea Shepherd send boats to the island to try and prevent the bloody massacre occurring. However, last year five crew members were arrested as they tried to stop the fishermen herding the whales ashore.

Featured Image Credit: Triangle News

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