Faroe Islands - The Taiji of Europe

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Why some people and “cultures” indiscriminately kill other animals, family-oriented social beings, is incomprehensible to me.

Recently, I had the honor and pleasure of going out on the Pacific ocean to whale- and dolphin-watch. I will be honest, I do not have sea-legs whatsoever and hung off the back of the boat the entire time; and yet, the experience was still magical as I admired the beautiful dolphins frolicking along the bow and stern of the boat we were on.

It was an emotional experience to see a large pod of common dolphins, full of grace and beauty in the water. It was apparent how gregarious these dolphins were as they surfed alongside the boat with the little “pff” of their blowholes. I couldn’t help but admire their acrobatics and ballet moves aside the boat. It was just simply BEAUTIFUL. There is no other word for it.

I was moved to tears quite a few times; though, I am still assessing whether that was related to my love for dolphins or because my breakfast was churning. I think it was the dolphins.

When our wonderful experience was over; sadly, all I could think about was how in other parts of the world there are people who go out into the ocean in search of pods of dolphins; but, not to watch and admire them.

Instead, they go out and HUNT them with malicious intent.

These dolphins that swam beside our boat were friendly, social, and eager to see what we were up to, but it is also these traits, this curiosity of the "other," that some people prey upon.

As I’ve written about numerous times, in Taiji, Japan, during the September - March “hunting season,” 12 boats go out every day in search of dolphins to drive back into a little cove, to kill, or to poach for entertainment.

This hunt, in Taiji is well known, advertised and live-streamed on social media, every day for 6 months. Unfortunately, however, in a less well-known location, the Faroe Islands, hundreds of dolphins (namely pilot whales) are murdered every year “in the name of ‘culture.’” Here, locals drive in groups of pilot whales, sometimes a hundred strong, to kill...FOR “SPORT.”

Yes, in the Faroe Islands, the killing of pilot whales and other dolphins is done for sport, and spectators of all ages, from infants to elderly come to watch this bloody, tragic, and abhorrent spectacle.

<p>Spectators of all ages watching the slaughter of pilot whales in Faroe Islands</p>

Spectators of all ages watching the slaughter of pilot whales in Faroe Islands

Photo Credit: Erik Christensen, Porkeri - obtained from Wikipedia

There is absolutely NO reason to kill these beautiful mammals, whose family lives are as significant, close, and meaningful to them as they are to us...perhaps more so, as they are together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The Faroe Islands are a wealthy nation; one which does not need dolphin-meat or whale-meat for sustenance. The same goes for Taiji, Japan. In fact, there are reports that often the pilot-whale meat is not even consumed by people (which if it is, it is highly dangerous and full of mercury, PCBs, and other dangerous chemical byproducts). The meat is therefore either fed to other animals or tossed back into the sea; begging the question, “WHY MURDER?!”

This is genocide - knowingly and purposefully killing another being.

What’s worse? These killings are done for fun! I cannot imagine how anyone can possibly reap pleasure from this. Tradition or not, this is unacceptable. Traditions can and should change.

It does not seem possible to have a “tradition” that involves the murder of hundreds of beautiful wild animals each year and still have “normalized” relationships with other humans.

The whale-watchers on our boat laughed and cried out with joy at the site of the beautiful dolphins who rode beside us, so like ourselves.

It is so hard to imagine the complete opposite; a callous and disgusting cruelty of people who actually want to kill these animals. This is not their only threat. We humans directly and indirectly kill animals every day with our eating habits, our tall buildings, our pollution, our fishing nets, and our plastic.

I want nothing more then to see people enjoy nature and animals.

I’m tired of hearing the excuses, the scapegoating.

Dolphins, whales, and other marine animals have NOT stolen all the fish from the sea. WE have.

Before humans, animals did JUST fine at regulating their numbers. Humans have stolen the lives of too many animals, and we continue to do so...at will. Today, human predators outnumber all the other predators, and we are taking more than our fair share.

I've talked about this before, in "Can Taiji Rebrand Itself?" This time however; it isn’t just about Taiji, it’s also about the Faroe Islands, and it’s about Africa where Rhinoceros, and Elephants, and Giraffes are at risk for extinction because of human greed. It’s also about Norway, and Iceland, and Japan for continuing to throw the international moratorium on whaling in the IWC’s face. It’s also about any nation that continues to ravage the rainforests for yet-unseen wonders, choking and plundering our planet and its wildlife.

I still believe, that if all hunters around the world truly looked into an animal’s heart, eyes, and mind, they would see an animal with a beautiful life story. Not just a trinket that belongs on their wall. We can conserve and protect these beautiful lives, we just need to want to.

Follow Dana Ellis Hunnes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/recipe4survival

Before You Go

Popular in the Community