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photos by benjamin rasmussen and andrija ilic in the faroe islands, a protectorate of denmark with 48,000 inhabitants, where the 400 year old tradition of pilot whale killing, known as grindaboð (grindadrap), still takes place.

when a pod of pilot whales is discovered making their way out to sea, the foroese will herd the mammals and scare them to shore by banging on the hulls of their boats. the whales are then stabbed with a gaff and dragged on shore where, after much wrestling, their spinal cords are severed and they are left to bleed out.

proponents of faroese pilot whaling note that the harvest is essential to faroese culture and, given the islands’ inability to sustain land based agriculture, is an essential staple of their diet.

faroese chief medical officers, however, claim that the pilot whales now contain too much mercury, pcb’s, and ddt derivatives to be safe for human consumption. and the island’s affluence from fisheries affords them the ability to find dietary alternatives. like the fish they export.

opponents of the hunt counter that pilot whales are highly intelligent and sociable creatures who feel pain and fear every bit as much as we do, and that it is cruel to force them to watch their families die as they knowingly wait to be slaughtered themselves in a manner that is anything but humane.

"tradition n’est pas toujour sagesse" - tiken jah fakoly

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