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Letters / Whale hunt is ‘regulated and sustainable’

The Grind. Photo: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd Global

With reference to your article today about whaling in the Faroes (‘Anti whaling camapigners continue protest’, SN 24/7/15) we are surprised that you would allow your newspaper to be such an uncritical and one-sided mouthpiece for the views of a highly disreputable animal rights group.

The Prime Minister’s Office is rather surprised that you apparently not did contact Faroese authorities or other relevant sources in connection with the research and writing of the article.

The disreputable and misleadingly named “Sea Shepherd Conservation Society” is on a mission to ban all use of marine wildlife, no matter the purpose (pilot whales are killed for food in the Faroes) nor the conservation status of the animals or fish in question (pilot whales in the North Atlantic are an abundant, non-endangered species). Of major concern is their striking lack of respect for the rights of nations and peoples around the world to utilise their natural resources in a sustainable way.

Sea Shepherd representatives will go to any lengths to paint a negative picture of the Faroese whale hunt as “cruel”, “barbaric” and “unnecessary”, with the aim of inciting anger and outrage against what is, in fact, a fully regulated and legitimate source of food for the people of the Faroe Islands. They have chosen an easy target, as whale drives in the Faroes take place in the open for anyone to watch and document, unlike the industrial slaughter of most other mammals for meat, which is usually hidden far from public scrutiny.

Serious, balanced journalism would not simply have made their crusade even easier by failing to challenge any of their assumptions,nor seek any alternative information and views from Faroese sources on the role and regulation of the pilot whale drive today. 

The use of locally available wildlife is a natural part of life in the Faroe Islands. The pilot whale hunt is dramatic and bloody by its nature. Entire pods of whales are killed on shores and in shallow bays at open sight. Naturally, this results in a lot of blood in the water.

The government of the Faroe Islands states that it is the right of the Faroese people to use its natural resources. The pilot whale hunt is regulated and sustainable, and a natural part of Faroe island life.

The Faroese pilot whale drive is a community-based use of a renewable natural resource for food. Whaling in the Faroe Islands is in accordance with international law, and pilot whales are an abundant species in the Northeast Atlantic. Catches in the Faroe Islands are sustainable and fully regulated, with an emphasis on animal welfare. The utilization of pilot whales for food is a natural part of the Faroese way of life and the meat and blubber provide a valued supplement to Faroese households, Prime Minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen states. 

I would kindly request that your paper at the very least directs its readers to the official website on whales and whaling in the Faroe Islands: www.whaling.fo

Páll Holm Johannesen

Communication advisor to Faroese Prime Minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen