The Faroese are a proud people, that much is evident. Yet their practice of slaughtering entire pods of pilot whales has come under scrutiny from the outside world, thanks mostly to the efforts of the Sea Shepherd organisation. The Faroese are not the only ones who ritualistically slaughter cetaceans, the most notable (or notorious) contemporary is the town of Taiji in Japan. However there are many other places this is happening in the world so you could forgive the Faroese or Taijians for feeling victimised, couldn’t you?
Well no. Sure there are violent and atrocious acts against animals, nature and other humans being committed all over the world. Here in the UK we still have the legacy (and illegally continued practice) of fox hunting with hounds which many people in these fair isles would agree is a barbaric and outdated past time that is nothing more than a blood sport. We should indeed be aware of all the other atrocities that are going on in the world and yes, we should be vocal about them also but this doesn’t mean that we should leave Taiji and the Faroe Islands to quietly go about their goulish business.
As globalisation marches forever forward and local traditions are being swept aside, some may argue that this means we should lay off the Faroese for their traditional slaughter. Yet just as the UK didn’t stand by the ‘tradition’ of hunting foxes with hounds neither should the World stand by and allow the ‘tradition’ of The Grind to continue in the Faroe Islands. Sure, for some in the UK, losing their ‘tradition’ of fox hunting still runs deep. The Countryside Alliance and those privileged few, who believe the ban should never have been implemented, were extremely vocal, sometimes violently so as they felt that their way of life was being attacked. Of course it wasn’t their way of life that was being attacked, it was their methods of ‘controlling’ the population of foxes. We are not telling the Faroese that they cannot hunt for food, we are telling them that their methods are nothing shy of barbaric overkill.
Should such traditions be kept alive when globalisation, by its very nature, means that rich western societies such as the Faroe Islands have plentiful food sourced from supermarkets? Of course the answer is no. There is no valid reason, logical or otherwise, why the Faroese should continue their murderous tradition just for traditions sake. This isn’t me being imperialistic, it’s called having a fucking heart.
While the vitriol towards the Faroe Islands seems justified to most decent folk I would urge against tarring the entire population with the same brush. I strongly believe that there are some Faroese who would rather not participate in the vicious cove drives. It is to this minority that we must appeal; be strong and make your own voices heard. Of course this will only happen if someone on that island shows the incredible strength and tenacity required to risk being ostracised by their own people. Yet one voice becomes two voices, two voices becomes four and so a movement grows.
Still the pressure that has been placed on the Faroese by the outside world is being felt by the islanders. Some have resorted to bully tactics to try to ward off anyone who dares speak against their blood lust for cetaceans. By targeting individuals via their emails, social media profiles and even posting negative reviews on their places of employment. These acts of cyber bullying may deter some from continuing to speak out against the atrocities in the Faroe Islands but I would encourage these people to not give in to these scare tactics. The islanders are resorting to such methods because, just like the Countryside Alliance and their cronies in England, they feel their way of life is being threatened.
If they feel their way of life is under threat then it means that the pressure is working. Even though the Danish government has illegally intervened and actively aided the Faroese in their murder sports, the tide is turning. Public outrage is winning over and the Faroe islands are starting to be hit where it hurts as tour companies and big business are beginning to cut ties with the islands. With continued pressure we could see an end to the slaughter of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.