UPDATE: In response to widespread outcry over the killing of more than 1,400 dolphins in a single day last year, the Faroese Government has put a provisional limit on the killing for 2022 and 2023. However, the 500-dolphin limit only applies to white-sided dolphins – it does not include pilot whales or other species of dolphin. The 2022 season has already seen single-day killings of 63 pilot whales – 10 of whom where pregnant mothers – and 100 bottlenose dolphins, who are protected by the European Union, of which the Faroe Islands is not a member.
Every year, hundreds of pilot whales are slaughtered on the Faroe Islands, a small group of islands north of Europe.
Locals who participate head out on boats to drive these animals into a fjord, using nets to block their way back to sea.
The whales are forced to beach themselves, or are pulled ashore with a blunt hook lodged in their blowholes. Once beached and defenseless these whales are killed by having their spinal cords and major blood vessels cut. It can take up to three and a half minutes for a whale to eventually die.
As well as pilot whales, several species of dolphins are also killed using these same methods.