Villagers on a remote Atlantic island turned the sea red with blood when they slaughtered nearly 250 whales and dolphins as the animals migrated north for the summer. The pod of between 150 to 200 whales could be seen being lanced with gruesome specialised hunting spears, colouring the water red and sending blood flying through the air as the animals were hauled ashore. Fishermen on boats drove the pilot whales towards the shore during the hunt today in the city of Torshavn, the capital of Streymoy Island in the Faroe Islands. The slaughter was described as 'brutal' and 'cruel' by the Blue Planet Society campaign pressure group. Island volunteers helped the fisherman pull ashore the pilot whales they killed as spectators gathered in front of the red-stained sea to watch the hunt. A group of between 20 to 40 white-sided dolphins are also thought to have been among the butchered animals.
As local fishermen spotted pods of whales passing the shores of the Danish territory of Faroe Islands during their migration, a convoy of boats drove the whales towards authorised fjords to harvest the catch. Pilot whaling is subject to Faroese legislation, which sets the framework for the catching, killing methods and permitted equipment. Every summer, some 800 whales and dolphins are killed for their meat across the Faroe Islands, a Danish archipelago located hundreds of miles off the Scottish coast between Norway and Iceland. Blue Planet Society, which is also campaigning to stop the killing of whales in Japan, has started a petition to stop whaling worldwide. A spokesman for the group called for action to be taken by the EU and claimed 500 whales and dolphins had been killed since the start of this year. The activists wrote on Facebook: '150-200 pilot whales and 20-40 white-sided dolphins were brutally and cruelly slaughtered in the Faroe Islands today.' Approximately 500 cetaceans have now been killed "for food" in these islands since the beginning of 2019.'The Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark (an EU country). Both pilot whales and white-sided dolphins are protected in the EU.' Whale driving on the Faroe Islands date back to the late 16th century and involve residents herding pods of whales into shallow waters. They are then killed using a 'spinal lance' that is inserted through the animal's neck to break its spinal cord. The locals, who eat both meat and blubber as well as other body parts, carry out the butchering in the open, and the process can seem graphic and brutal to outsiders. The local government says the hunting is not only sustainable but ensures that the 18 islands, which have limited opportunities for farming, are as self-sufficient as possible. Each whale provides several hundreds of kilos of meat and blubber, food which would otherwise have to be imported from abroad to the islands at a cost to the locals and the environment. It is estimated that the pilot whale population in the eastern North Atlantic is about 778,000 individuals, with approximately 100,000 around the Faroe Islands.