Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gotta Get It Right...

I recently received a widely-circulated email entitled "World SHAME", illustrating graphically the annual slaughter of Calderon dolphins in the Feroe (sic) Islands.
Though I'd seen this before, the photos still shocked me. Then I noticed errors in the blood-red text. The impassioned author was struggling with a competent grasp of English, writing:
Denmark is a big shame The sea is stained in red and in the mean while its not because of the climate effects of nature. It's because of the cruelty that the human beings (civilised human) kill hundreds of the famous and intelligent Calderon dolphins. This happens every year in Feroe island in Denmark. In this slaughter the main participants are young teens. WHY? To show that they are adults and mature.... BULLLLsh
In this big celebration, nothing is missing for the fun. Everyone is participating in one way or the other, killing or looking at the cruelty “supporting like a spectator”
Is it necessary to mention that the dolphin calderon, like all the other species of dolphins, it’s near instinction and they get near men to play and interact. In a way of PURE friendship
They don’t die instantly; they are cut 1, 2 or 3 times with thick hocks. And at that time the dolphins produce a grim extremely compatible with the cry of a new born child. But he suffers and there’s no compassion till this sweet being slowly dies in its own blood Its enough!
We will send this mail until this email arrives in any association defending the animals, we won’t only read. That would make us accomplices, viewers.
Take care of the world, it is your home!

Faroe Islands pilot whale masacre collageWhen circulating a petition, fluency and accuracy are vital. Apart from the script making very little sense, the writer has made a number of factual errors:
+ The Faroe Islands (nb: correct spelling), while technically a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, have had virtual autonomy since 1948 and are self-governing in most matters. So this is a Faroese issue, NOT Danish.
+ The butchered creatures are long-finned pilot whales. Some Spanish-speaking countries call them Calderon dolphins, but the Faroese and most of the English-speaking world know them as pilot whales.
+The Faroe Islands are NOT "in Denmark" but actually halfway between Scotland and Iceland.
+The inference that the killing is a rite of passage for young teens is WRONG. The killing is carried out traditionally by men while the children, youths and women watch.
+ Pilot whales are NOT "near instinction"(sic) but are listed in the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species as "Lower Risk".
+ "All the other species of dolphins" are NOT near extinction either, although freshwater species such as the Sth.American pink dolphin and Cambodia's mekong dolphin are in dire (and heavily polluted!) straits.
+ Pilot whales are NOT known to “get near men to play and interact”, but dolphins often do.
+ Pilot whales are not generally regarded as "famous and intelligent", though bottlenosed dolphins are.

Yes, these traditional hunts (or "grindadráp") ARE completely unnecessary, no longer needed to provide food for islanders, do not meet humane slaughter standards at any level, and recent studies show the meat contains PCBs and other toxins. The Faroe Islands’ reputation internationally is tarnished by these hunts. Its government needs to end them permanently, to improve its global image and most importantly to spare hundreds of pilot whales annually from brutal deaths.
Highlighting this email's errors IN NO WAY supports this barbarism (far from it) but the Faroes administration will never take seriously any petition written this way. To be effective, the message has to be correct!

In addition:
Here're some other errors I've spotted on blogs/e-petitions...
+ Someone wrote the scene was very "Dantesque" (as in Dante's Inferno – his vision of Hell). This has been misinterpreted as the village where the killings occur, and now some e-petitions mention the town of Dantesque. Google Earth confirms NO such place.
+ Because the Faroes are virtually autonomous, they do NOT answer to Denmark (which is an EU member) except for foreign relations, monetary affairs, and defence, and so are not bound by EU rulings.
+ It's been said the islanders would starve without the hunts – not so, whalemeat is NOT for survival consumption any more – it’s freely distributed as an irregular treat and none is sold. UPDATE: see below (19 Dec.2010). 
+ NO whalemeat is exported: 95% of the Faroes economy is based on fish exports (2009). Incidentally, at least five major European food distributors - Aldi, Edeka, Rewe, Tengelmann and Karstadt – terminated their Faroes seafood contracts specifically because of the continuing kills.
+ Annual kill figures have been wrongly quoted at 2,000. The Faroes' records go back to 1584 (and continuously since 1709) of the numbers killed: the current average is around 950, approximately 0.1% of the estimated North Atlantic pilot whale population.
+ I've seen it blogged that the killings are a festival day for the FI who wear traditional costumes for the event. However, according to a FI, this does not happen: they do have many festivals in summer, but seemingly none pivotal on whale killings [one big one is the Olai Festival on July 29th commemorating Olav the Holy, patron saint of the Faroes, credited with introducing Christianity].
+ Contrary to one blog, I found no record that Greenpeace ever blockaded the Faroes or caused its people to starve. However Sea Shepherd has clashed with Faroese police in 1985, 1986 and 2000.
+ Research DOES show high levels of mercury, PCBs and other toxins in whalemeat with potential for embryonic damage: in Nov.2008, the Faroe Islands' chief medical officers recommended pilot whales be considered not fit for human consumption because of the toxins.
+ Contrary to another blog, pilot whales DO make sounds: [have a listen]. And I imagine when they're being hacked to death that those sounds would be rather loud, perhaps like a screaming baby (?).
+ In another blog: "Originally for their meat and blubber, now many are left to rot as they are no longer needed as food. The last two years the meet (sic) has been deemed too toxic for human consumption, so the killings are purely for the entertainment." A Faroese tells me NO carcasses are left to rot or pollute the beaches. Once the meat is distributed, the remains are safely buried. UPDATE July 2011: SS has discovered a massive underwater site, where the carcasses are actually dumped! 
+As for the "too toxic/killing for entertainment" comment, limited consumption is regarded as medically ok...and no islander has said they kill whales for fun. It is a community event providing meat via an ancient tradition.
Attacking it with blatantly incorrect information such as I've cited will achieve NOTHING. Attack it with FACT.
+Also of interest: "In March 2003, the Faroes began importing minke whale meat from Norway: two shipments (32 tonnes) were sent. In January 2009, 4320kg of minke were confiscated by Norway's national food safety organisation. This meat was in storage at a pet food facility, and was only revealed when the company applied to export 720kg for human consumption to the Faroes. As the company did not have clearance for the production of food for human consumption, the application was declined...the meat was eventually sent to Japan." - WDCS
PS: 26 April 2010 - here's a rational article posted on Encyclopedia Britannica’s "Advocacy for Animals" site.
PS: 19 Dec.2010 - Evidence that whale meat IS being sold in the Faroes, contrary to what FI say...
PS: 21 July 2011 - Sea Shepherd has discovered an underwater graveyard, where FI dumps the pilot whale carcasses!!! So much for being told by locals that the carcasses are "safely buried"...

Ending the slaughter requires changing the mindset of an entire population: cursing and swearing only entrenches attitudes. Both sides of this debate need to stay calm, get facts right and find a sensible way forward. (Incidentally, if you wish to write to the Faroes Prime Minister, his address is in the 'Comments' section of this post...)

With such picturesque beauty on their doorstep, the obvious and very lucrative alternative for the Faroes is eco-tourism: increased income and no negative publicity! Worth serious consideration... you're obviously interested in whales, [click here] for more postings on whales and whaling that I think you'll find interesting!


moneybags said...

Thank you for this information. I started doing some checking of my own on this and came across your blog. The info I had gathered thus far accords with what you have said.
Petitions are all well and good, but they can be a means of garnishing email addresses for spam, hence my need to check this one out.

Philbee - said...

Thanks for reading, Moneybags.
I was posting about the lack of effectiveness of a semi-literate factually incorrect petition...but you've raised a VERY valid point. We often wonder how the hell spammers get our addresses! This may indeed be such a method.

Donella Anne said...

I commend you on your research into this story. When I first got the email with all the graphic pictures, I was mortified and on the brink of tears. To me it wouldn't matter what species of animal it was being slaughtered in this manner, I would still have the same reaction.
It's a bloody disgrace, and it makes me sick.
If you dont mind, I would like to post the link to your blog page about this on my Facebook page

Philbee - said...

By all means, Donella Anne, GO for it! The more who know, the bigger the groundswell!

Anonymous said...

So useful to be able to get the facts when one receives these kinds of e.mails. Thank you for that information. I shall forward your link to those who sent this these shocking pictures of the 'Feroe' Islands and the hunt of 'dolphins'!

Christine Holroyd said...

I too appreciate your research. I was looking to see if the story was a scam because I didn't want to believe these sickening images were true.

I'm still shaking my head at the cruelty we humans can inflict on other creatures and that others can watch such barbarism. They are almost as bad as the perpetrators in my humble opinion.

So, do you suggest the badly written petition should be signed anyway?

Philbee - said...

Hi, Christine:
I'm in two minds. If these petitions actually reach the Faroes government, they'll have little credibility the way they are. And wizzing round the WWWeb, how COULD they all get collected and presented together?
I suspect they become merely platforms for upset/angry people to vent their spleens...and therefore their good intentions are wasted.
On the other hand, the weight of signatures may motivate others to make some noise.
Personally, I feel thousands of actual handwritten letters to the Faroes govt.would have more impact.

Christine Holroyd said...

Thanks Philbee. So the Faroes are a self governing people? I was thinking that if they are part of the Kingdom of Denmark despite being an autonomous region, they are still beholden to the Danes. I don't know how it all works. Glad that's another issue cleared up for me.

With signing, I guess it can do no harm. I would hate to think my voice was silent on the issue despite such poor wording. Yes, writing is probably the best way to go.

Anonymous said...

I just got a copy of the email entitled "world shame" and looked into it. Thanks for the clarification. Hope it's okay if I forward your link to the friend who sent me the email. Thanks, mela

Philbee - said...

Hello, Mela:
Feel free to pass on my link to any and all! Meantime, I'll try to find some contact info for the Faroes government (for anyone who wishes to contact it).
If I get it, I'll post it here.

Leah said...

Hi Philbee
You may have spotted this info from the European Parliament website:
Click the box marked 'answer(s)' in the top right for the parliamentary reply. Would be interesting to follow this up to learn if anything is being done through the EU or IWC...

Anonymous said...

I too have read much about this issue and have spoken to people in the Faroe Islands about this.

I would add the following factual errors (which also sometimes cause offence):

Pilot whales do not scream/cry. As far as I know their sounds are not audible to humans.

They are not killed with gaffes. Their spinal chord and major bloodvessels are severed with knives. The gaffes/hooks are used to drag the carcasses ashore.

Although some would argue that there is no need for whale meat (just like any other meat) and that it's toxic - the fact remains that the meat and blubber IS used for human consumption and there are no indications that any goes to waste - in fact there are cases where the whales have been driven back to sea because it has been estimated that people have received enough whale meat.

Indravenidotk said...

hey philbee,
thanks for bringing this to my attention, and I must add, i am terribly appalled to see that such low class mentality exists.

People seem to think of animals as play toys, people feel they can rule over them.

cc said...

Hey thanks so much for the info... I received the email as well and some of the other articles i came across provided the same info as well.. thanks much for providing the right info... i hope some form of action wld be taken to stop this ridiculous practice.

Tricia said...

Hi there!
Thank you for the information and for correcting some of the items I've pasted on my blog. I appreciate it. I will make the necessary edits. :)

Philbee - said...

Dear All:
I applaude your concern about this issue. If you want to do something, I advocate a short calm firm letter to Kaj Leo Johannesen, Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands. Here's the address:
P.O.Box 64
FO- 110 Tórshavn
Faroe Islands.
Remember to keep it accurate, don't use swear words/anger, perhaps ASK for some justification, raise the PCBs health issue, suggest alternatives...and DON'T expect a reply.
Good luck!

Sheila said...

Hi Phil,

I just received the forwarded email today and I searched on the net and came across your blog. Thanks a lot for the info - i shared it to the one who sent me the email.


Anonymous said...

hi phil,

thanks for the clarification. when i first received that same email, i was concerned that it may have been a hoax in any way. I did some research on this issue on my own as well and it is true that the original email contains ambiguous information - and I wouldn't be surprised if the email was put up by some youngster who is truly concerned about this.

I know this is old but the Danish Embassy in the US did respond to this back in 2000 - read here. Even though the Faroe Islands are constitute by self-governed local parliaments, it is still considered a Danish territory.

With regards to the semi-literate petitions, I've signed them anyway, in hopes that it would still urge the Danish bodies to step up the pressure on the islanders and put this issue onto the spotlight again, thus, targeting individuals to obtain factual and vital information to participate in every way we can. Yes, some of them are badly written but the fundamental value is intact.

Emails can be used to our obvious advantages, unfortunately, also much to our disadvantages if everyone starts taking information at face value.

Moby said...

Philbee, I must thank you for this detailed blog. My inbox has been hit by a deluge of such mails, shared by friends suddenly struck by a Comfortable Social Conscience Syndrome, effects of which include a belief that forwarding random emails to random groups of people is an actual & credible way of saving the world! I have often been accused of being cynical for refusing to become a party to such petitions, simply because I don’t believe any credible/competent government authority will ever implement action basis such email forwards. There are better forums, which everyone shuns, majorly because they entail slightly more work than hitting the forward button. Worse yet is when such misinformation is floated around so freely. Really, sometimes technology is a giant step, sideways.
P.S. I hope you don’t mind if I share your link on my facebook page. May save me a few MBs in my inbox 

Philbee - said...

I'm with you 100%, Moby!
Go for it!

Sallyanne, TX said...

Thanx 4 all yr hard wk checking these details! U really know yr stuff.

baterya said...

thanks for leading me here... i just hope they hear this one and do something about it... even though it is a culture o theirs the fact that these dolphins are becoming instint is a warnin that we must make actions

Corran said...

Your suggestion about tourism caused me to search the web for pictures of the Faroes (non-killing ones!) and you're right. It is a really beautiful set of islands. Reminds me alot of your Milford Sound that I visited once.
Keep on the good work.

Nottingham, UK.

FaroeseNative said...

Many thanks to you for taking the time to familiarize yourself with this issue instead of simply appointing the Faroese population as the world's new, indescribably evil and murderous devils. :-)

As a native faroese I don't agree with you, mainly because I see this as an important part of our food supply. Whalemeat still accounts for 30% of all locally produced meat. Unfortunately we can't eat as much as we would like to anymore because of the polution. So actually, if you are in any way concerned about the pilot whale population, it is the polution of the oceans you should be protesting. We will definetly join you. :)

And by the way: The faroese government runs this infosite on whaling:

There you will find all relevant contacts, if you still want to protest that we sustainably harvest a local natural resource.

Yours sincerly

Anonymous said...

I agree with all who thanked you for the quality of your information in your post. You also have elevated the discussion of the issue. I appreciate the high quality of information in some of the comments, including one from a citizen of the Faroes Islands.

I received the World Shame email here in Maryland, USA from Singapore. You show that you have received comments from 71 countries. It is wonderful that you have helped people all over the world on this issue.

Thank you, John

Philbee - said...

Dear Faroese Native:
I really appreciate your comments, especially given that all other comments here seem to be aiming at your country's throat!!
I am VERY interested in learning more from YOUR perspective, as the rest of us rely on information that sometimes (as I've discovered!) is wrong.
Please email me:
Many thanks!

Maria said...

Thank you for all this additional information to go with those horrific photos. The email I received was going for a gut reaction, but I looked at them closely and did not see 'fun' in the men's faces. I doubted the story about teens killing cute friendly dolphins to prove they were men and went searching for the truth.

Anonymous said...

Please don't forget that whales eat fish, a lot of fish, and Faroese depend on fish, so hunting down some whales is a means to control a population of fish. And as correctly pointed out, these whales are far from extinction.
As for cruelty, ask yourself this question the next time you order chicken wings or a Big Mac.

Philbee - said...

Dear Anonymous:
I'm assuming your post was facetious (?). The world's fish stocks are depleting, not because of whales but because of man's overfishing.
In fact, the Uni.of Michigan says pilot whales eat about 45 kg of food daily: mainly squid.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution adds that pilot whales eat several species of large deep-water squid: tentacles 4ft.long have been seen trailing from pilot whales’ mouths after resurfacing. But they may hunt even larger prey: pieces of the arms of giant squid have been found floating where the whales come up, from their 1,000m hunting dives.
I won't enter into a fruitless circular debate over the merits of Big Macs - you DO know the answer to that! - but a nice try!! :-)

bathmate said...

This is wonderful posting. Thank you.


Katriona, Wales said...

To FaroeseNative:

U & yr fellow islanders have missed the point when u write we're protesting that u "sustainably harvest a local natural resource".
Sure, it's sustainable but it's the WAY u do it that the rest of the world can't stand! It might be traditional to u, but to us it's butchery, blood frenzy, primitive, unneccessary. U don't NEED the meat. It's also making u ill. WHY DO U DO IT?????

-Welsh Witch

Nathalie Kelderman said...

Philbee, it's comforting to know there are people like you out there who will take the time and effort to tackle animal rights, environmental and conservation issues such as these in a very mature, informed and constructive manner. It certainly does help make a case more valid and credible.

On the other hand, I am equally grateful to people, such as the one who initially sent out the gruesome pictures of the whale hunt in the Faroes, for being so passionate and taking the little time they have on their hands to circulate global issues and information in the hope that they strike up a spark in peoples consciences', ultimately leading to a bigger movement, such as yours! I am grateful for all the other petitions, blogs, letters, etc that have sprouted up as a result of the first step taken...hitting the send button on an email containing images and some facts (or not) of the Pilot Whales' plight in the Faroes Islands.

If it were not for these passionate folk, where would this particular blog of yours be Philbee?

If I had not received 'The Email' with those graphic images of the whale hunt I would be non the wiser. I never knew this occurred until that email arrived in my inbox. You will note from the many posts on your blog about the subject that the majority of us first got to know about this subject via 'The Email'.

The original email I received was similar to the one you received, but not the same. I suspect that, as it was circulated around the world, the content was changed a little here and there by those who wanted to add their personal thoughts and feelings. Whilst I agree that anger gets you no where, passion is a good starting point for any movement. And this is what I feel 'The Email' has achieved...A Movement.

Upon receiving the original email I made a point of conducting my own research into the facts of the matter. I learnt a lot about the real facts off Wikipedia (a very unbiased source of information).

My point here being that we should not rely on one single email for all our facts and info, but rather view it as a 'headline', and if we take an interest in the headline, it is up to us as individuals to educate ourselves as much as possible on the true facts of the subject.

It is unfair to point a finger at those who take a stand in a less politically and fashionably correct manner because they believe in something strongly and passionately. For all you know, the person who sent 'The Email' to you may have only been 10 or 12 yrs old. Maybe English is not their mother tongue. Maybe they are uneducated, but still passionate and motivated enough about wildlife conservation and animal rights to try and do something about it, even with limited resources. Why not thank a person such as this for their concern, initiative and action?

Clearly you have gained considerably from the original email, and I think we need to give credit where credit is due. Maybe that one person, or group of people who originally sent 'The Email' out will eventually achieve what they set out to put a stop to the cruel whaling practise in the Faroes.

I see this as something of a ripple effect, much like a tsunami starting out as a mere shudder in the depths of the ocean...seemingly insignificant. To me, the wave has begun, and long may it last.

I would like to say to that one person or those people who first hit the send button on 'The Email', a great big 'THANK YOU'.

I have become more educated on the subject, as have millions of others. The Pilot Whales may eventually stand to gain from your effort and most importantly, your passion and heart.

Nathalie Kelderman said...

One final word to Moby who posted on your blog Sun Dec 06, 02:12:00AM NZDT. He/she seems to be sitting quite high up on a pedestal! Why such arrogant judgement of others and their efforts to make right some wrongs in the world? We are not all born into privileged backgrounds of private schools and higher education, with a natural gift for the gab (as Moby seems to have). Some of us are mere mortals doing what we can with the resources and time available to us to make the world a brighter place. Be that effort in the form of a smile, a helping hand, a letter, an action, some kindness, or heaven forbid, a poorly written and grammatically incorrect email! Despite this, it has managed to get a very important bit of fact and news spread across the entire globe. In my books, quite a feat!

Moby, as much as you find many people who take a passionate stand via email to be,...what were your words exactly…: "struck by a Comfortable Social Conscience Syndrome", I find you have an ego larger than life itself and are so blinkered by your own 'false' sense of superiority that you couldn't see a good thing even if it hit you in the face.

My support, encouragement and love goes out to ALL who do something (anything) to correct a wrong, brighten the world and conserve our beloved planet earth!

Philbee - said...

Dear Nathalie,
Thank you very much for taking the time to write.
I welcome input from all sides of this debate - even from the Islanders themselves: "FaroeseNative" has been giving me the viewpoint from one who lives there, takes part in the kill, and can provide observations that I'd never get otherwise.
In the final analysis, we all take a position based on information: the more accurate it is, the easier it becomes to adopt our chosen stance.
Thanks once more for your well-reasoned comments.

Annie said...

hey thanks for this blog piece. I just got the email, going pointlessly 'around the world' and did a bit of research to send back to the person who emailed me. I hate the ceaseless round of stupid emails. You put the points well but it doesn't take a Phd to find a 'real' petition on the Petition Site, otherwise its just time-wasting hysteria.

Annie said...

oh and here's a useful page from a WWF forum:
Jackie, Official Rep, replied 1 month ago
Hi all
Thanks for your concern and for taking the time to write to us about this issue.

There are a significant number of hunts of whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) that take place around the world. In addition to the Faroe Island hunt, Japan takes thousands of small cetaceans in directed hunts every year,including dolphins, porpoises and small whales such as the Baird's beaked whale. Greenland also takes large numbers of narwhals in a hunt that has been classified as unsustainable. All of these hunts occur outside international regulation and control. WWF takes action on these in the following way.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) regulates and controls directed kills of whales, and has maintained an international moratorium on whaling for several decades. However the IWC currently only has the remit to manage whaling of the great whale species. WWF has been working for many years to pressure the IWC to expand its remit to include small whales, dolphins and porpoises, which need the IWC's help just as much as the great whale species do. See the following link for WWF's work at the IWC

In addition, several of our partners are doing important work to raise awareness of these hunts. See several links below for reports on a number of hunts around the world.

Report on the Dall's porpoise hunt in Japan, the largest small cetacean hunt in the world

Report on Baird's beaked whale hunt in Japan

The role of the aquarium trade in dolphin hunts

Our partners have also been successfully running campaigns in the countries in which these hunts occur to demonstrate to those who eat cetacean meat the high levels of contaminants such as mercury and PCBs that occur in some of these animals, and the health risk that poses to those humans who eat the meat. See the following link for a global report on this issue by the Environmental Investigation Agency

as well as a report focusing on Japan (also available in Japanese.)

I hope this information has been useful - you will also find more general information on cetaceans on our website ( and those of our partners, EIA ( and WDCS ("

Anonymous said...

I understand your need to clarify the situation, however the bottom line remains that 900 and something intelligent creatures are being slaughtered and for what? A ritual? Like you said, their main sustinance is fish not whales so there is no "need" to "hunt" them . Even thought you made the difference between a pilot whale and a dolphin that does not make them less intelligent by any means or less friendly. I am sure that if the petition needed to be changed to make it more accurate and factual ALL the people who have signed it so far would be more then happy to do it again. Lask time I checked, even with Wikipidia, Faroe Islands are TECHNICALLY still part of Denmark, like it or not, no matter how you "virtually" spin the problem. So instead of pointing out the errors and flaws better use your talent to re-draft the petition and help out instead of trying to prove a virtual point to the rest of the world.

Philbee - said...

Dear Anonymous:
You say you understood my need to clarify the situation, yet you missed several points I made.
FACT: I did not say pilot whales were less intelligent than dolphins, but they do NOT come into shallows to interact with humans as dolphins do. So passing pods are herded into shallow waters for the killings, not attacked as they play at the water's edge with friendly people.
FACT: I have NOT dismissed the killing of 900 whales as "ok because it's a ritual": read my post again for clarification.
FACT: Denmark does not/will not/cannot direct the Faroes to cease the kills: there are many documents on-line detailing the reasons why not. This is not "spin" - it is reality. This IS a Faroes issue.
FACT: One of my points is that, in order to be taken seriously, ANY petition needs to be correct in detail and grammar. Most on the many on-line petitions I've read do little more than either pointlessly swear at the Faroese or type something along the lines of "OMG!" And if you know anything about on-line petitions, you'll know that only the originator and the administrator can make any changes to the body copy, not ME.
"My talent" - and thanks for the compliment, by the way! - has been put to good use by writing directly to the Faroese Prime Minister, as I do not believe these on-line petitions are ever collated and delivered, but are merely a way to vent one's spleen.

By the way, have YOU done anything?

Insyirah said...

Mucho thanks for th information. I googled about this apparent 'World Shame' as soon as I received th email and am glad tt I came over your blog. It sure does give me more insight about th whales and whatnot.

I am definitely posting your link on my Fb. We just gotta get th facts right ;)


Anonymous said...

Interesting, and I agree the petition was not well written and was not 100 percent accurate. But you actually gotta get it right yourself. The long-finned pilot whale and the calderon dolphin are the same animal, these are just two different names for the same species. So the animals being butchered here ARE dolphins. Also, you say this is a Faroese issue, not a Danish issue, because the Faroe Islands have had virtual autonomy for a long time and are self-governing...and you are right, HOWEVER, the law is not one of the areas in which the islands are self-governing. Denmark, and so the Danish government, is acually still responsible in the area of law. So it IS a Danish issue. As you said yourself, accuracy is vital ;)

Tim said...

Hi Phil ,according to wikipediathe Calderon Dolphin and thePilot whale are one in the same just different names for the same thing .Apparently Calderon is the Spanish word for this species

Philbee - said...

Dear Anonymous:
"The Faroe Islands and Greenland enjoy home rule, with the Danish government represented locally by high commissioners. These home-rule governments are responsible for most domestic affairs, with foreign relations, monetary affairs, and defense falling to the Danish government."
- source: U.S. Dept.of State; CIA World Factbook.
Now, before you fly off on a tangent about the evil CIA, just take it for granted that its World Factbook is accepted as a 'standard'.
And under the Home Rule Act of 1948, the Faroe Islands were granted the right to be a self-governing community. Within that Act is a list of “fields of administration” to be designated “Special Faroese Affairs”: one of those is territorial fishing (which covers whaling). A wee bit of research will locate several documents for you to read, covering the FAROES' (not the DANES') responsibility for the "grindadráp".
Happy? Joyous.

Michael said...

Something to think about.

It is good that there are people, who want to raise the "consciousness" of others via a graphic email of the world around us. If there is a spam issue, I’d rather receive this sort of spam than the usual childish spam mail.
These images in the email in questions and the related films are not the worst, (Google anything your imagination can muster and you’ll find it, try or
But the essence of this story is that where there is profit to be gained there is a ruthless disregard for plants, other beings, ourselves and the planet on which we live. The issue then is much larger than the Faroe isles, it is not just this crime we should focus on (the Faroe isles or anywhere else) but the cause of this injustice.

When these vicious manners of killing “other beings” are exposed, there is always an out flowing of passion and emotion to do something about it.
But what happens in the Faroe Islands probably happens in some way or other everywhere on the planet when it comes to farming (for profit or not) wild or captive “beings”. If you could buy whale meat now, you probably wouldn’t want to. If you sent “graphic” photographs of a western abattoir around the internet, you’d probably not buy meat anymore. What is visible (the email in mention) is where we are, and what is not visible is not questioned. Next time you are in a super market, try and buy what is environmentally friendly, something that does activate your conscience.
It is always necessary to kill “beings” in order to eat meat, but how and why is to be the main point here.

The reaction from nearly everyone says more…there is a deep concern about the very nature of “man” its self. It cannot be possible that there is even but one person on this planet who would say killing these “beings” in the fashion they are is “okay”.
It is ruthless and disgusting, and there is no other “being” on the planet that is capable of doing this other than man. Man is the only savage among all the other beings that live in harmony with the Earth and each other, and by his own standards of thinking, his behaviour can be exemplified as extreme racist.

Michael said...

Something to think about…continued

Okay, Okay we all need to eat, but if each of us had to kill our OWN food, even if this were with the deepest (spiritual) respect for the being we had to kill, we’d probably all be vegetarian as of now.
Does having someone else kill your food make it easier and acceptable?

As long as there remains a demand for “dead beings”, there will always be a “savage animal” capable of supplying them.
In the Faroe isles they eat whale’s, in the rest of World it can be anything from a horse, beef, ostrich, dog, monkeys...everything in fact that moves, it depends on your taste…what do you eat? WHY? While the manner of killing maybe more “humane (??)” or even more disgusting there will always be that voice from deep within us that justifies ourselves as being not responsible. WHY?
How can we stop justifying it? How do we change? It is easy criticising others and trying to force change. But you cannot change anyone else by force or even with love. You can only say as a group that you think THE HOW AND THE WHY are “not correct”; change comes when there is realisation, that may take a while…for them and us.
With regard to food, everyone has to find their own path of “conscience” and we should all begin with ourselves. HOW? Vegetarian and organic are old terms now, but they do reduce the demand for “dead beings” and the necessity to exploit the natural world, to begin to live in harmony with the world, again. Do you want to eat beef? Lamb? Whale meat? What is your WHY and HOW?
Even the choice of shoes you wear can affect the chain of supply of “dead beings”.
If you find something disgusting, ask yourself what do I do to sustain its supply? And change when you are ready. And if you find something delicious, ask yourselves where it comes from... And change when you are ready!
By all means tell other people, even with an email. The language, passion or grammar is of little importance, because apart from being passionate the only aim is to evoke people’s desire to want change not to educate them or evoke their sense of disgust, and I quote from the email you may have all read “We will send this mail until this email arrives in any association defending the animals, we won’t only read. That would make us accomplices, viewers.”
Very hopeful…and where is that association defending animals? And accomplices? As long as we want anything that sources from a “being” on this planet…we remain accomplices.

Is there a protest website somewhere that wants to educate and raise the consciousness of others (regarding the Faroe whales)?

We can continue mailing, reading, blogging, commenting, but can we change?

Philbee - said...

Very thoughtful prose indeed, Michael. I thank you and appreciate the time you've taken to contribute.

Elise en Marten said...

Thanks everyone for your insightful information. I wonder if this is an idea: Phil or anyone else out there who is capable, please formulate a short firm letter as suggested and post it right at the top of this page so all of us out here who want to write to the Faroe's government but aren't that fluent in English can copy and paste and make a difference anyhow.

Tanja said...

Hi,I went to read about the Faeroe Islands- after receiving that e/mail petition today- about how they're governed and if they collaborate with marine departments concerning this "whale matter", they do.

That collaboration doesn't mean it looks less cruel or makes me less sick to my stomach to view this but I'm writing because I need to add something- it seems to me that we, humans, can be as cruel as is possible to be.

Maybe humans can, because of the "BIG" brain we've developed? It's NOT just to animals, in so many parts of the world cruelty and inhumane ways of treating each other is seen in every day life.

Darfur, Burma, Angola, Sierra Leone to mention a few countries synonym with suffering...

But I saw a show on Grizzly Bears and they get on to each other pretty bad to- killing the cubs of a female wanted and so on.

What are we made of and who's moral and ethic views is to judge?
Well, in the Grizzly world it's strength and vitality but seriously, who is to judge what's more cruel?

Religion is definitely not an option.


Anonymous said...

hi, I'm from the Faroe Islands :)
I just wanted to thank you for clearing up many of the lies that have been circling the internet! :)

Philbee, said...

Dear Anonymous from the Faroes:
Thanks to you (and many of your countrymen) for reading.
I clearly do not support your tradition, but neither do I support inflammatory statements that are completely wrong and designed to infuriate not educate.
There is more goodwill (and financial returns) to be made by the Faroes through eco-tourism, than catching a whale-steak. It would be wonderful if your people grasped that opportunity - rather than being FORCED to.
Good luck.

Elin Brimheim Heinesen said...

Hi Philbee,
I am Faroese. I just stumbled upon your blog. What a relief to see people here approach this issue in an open-minded non-prejudice way - even if they, in principle, are against pilot whaling. But this tone makes it so much easier to have a diaog, which we - the Faroese - are, and always have been, open to. But your'e very right that hate campaigns do NOT do the trick.

I happen to agree with you a long way that it would be a better idea, seen from a current economical point of view, to stick to eco-tourism which I have been actively involved in creating here in the Faroes, actually.

But the question is not as simple as that - you can't boil it down to an economical issue only. This tradition has very deep roots and there is also a plausible reason, still, that this tradition has been kept alive for so long - which has nothing to do with the Faroese doing it for "entertainment" or any of those assumptions, people usually make to explain a - to them - incomprehensible behavior.

You have requested a better explanation from someone Faroese. I have tried to explain exactly this on my blog in september last year. It might be interesting for you to read - so I hope you will read it. You're also welcome to comment on it, if you want to.

Here it is:

I am also trying to make the point that the more people outside the Faroes condemn the Faroese and the more they punish the Faroese by not buying their export goods or by not travelling to the islands, the more isolated will the Faroese be isolated from the rest of the world, and the more they will tend to stick to their old traditions - which in the end means thaat the more pilot whales will be killed! It's just common sense...

Anonymous said...

Philbee, thank you for posting about this in your blog. It has provided insight and links to further educate us on the topic. I just want to provide a little more information (and perhaps some cultural relativism) to help your reader's out.

The Faroe Islands Whaling information page ( states the following:

"Pilot whales are taken for food in the Faroe Islands. Both the meat and blubber of pilot whales have long been and continue to be a staple part of the national diet. Catches of whales are shared largely without the exchange of money among the participants in a hunt and residents of the local district where they are landed. This also means that the economic value of pilot whale meat and blubber does not appear as a part of the GDP of the Faroes, but its significance can be measured against the economic and environmental costs of importing the same amount of food. An annual catch of 950 whales (the average annual catch over the past ten years, 1990-1999) is roughly equivalent to 500 tons of meat and blubber, some 30% of all meat produced locally in the Faroes.

The pilot whale hunt in the Faroes is, by its very nature, a dramatic and bloody sight. Entire schools of whales are killed on the shore and in the shallows of bays with knives which are used to sever the major blood supply to the brain. This is the most efficient and humane means of killing these animals under the circumstances, but it naturally results in a lot of blood in the water. It is also understandable that there have been many strong reactions to media reports and pictures of the hunt in other countries, especially in urban communities, where most people have never actually been witness to the slaughtering processes from which their own meat derives."

The last statement is particularly interesting and relevant in regards to the "humane treatment" debate. In addition, the treatment (both DURING LIFE and slaughtering) of the animals we consume in the US can be argued as equally, if not more, inhumane. I'm not sure we have any room to judge so harshly.

Anonymous said...

I want to strongly suggest reading through the website I referenced in the previous post. I would copy more, but I don't want to completely invade your blog. :) Here's the link again:

Devon said...

Hi there Phil

I believe to stop it you need to find out who buys the product and then stop it at its source. If there is no demand because people are ashamed of what they are eating or buying. you will stop the killing. If the Restaurants selling it were to have a bad image nobody will go there. People fishing these dolphins are only doing out of desperation and easy money.
That's my point of view i thought it might help.

Elin Brimheim Heinesen said...

Hi @Devon.
Could have been a good idea, if it only was that simple. But the fact is that nobody buys pilot whale meat in the Faroe Islands. Nobody earns money from the whaling - but they might save money. As stated in post no. two above your own post: "Catches of whales are shared largely without the exchange of money among the participants in a hunt and residents of the local district where they are landed. This also means that the economic value of pilot whale meat and blubber does not appear as a part of the GDP of the Faroes, but its significance can be measured against the economic and environmental costs of importing the same amount of food."

Philbee, said...

Dear Elin:
Further to your post that "nobody buys pilot whale meat in the Faroe Islands"...
I know we've been solely discussing pilot whales and the local kill, but I've just seen info from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) that the Faroes has IMPORTED whale meat from Norway!!
I've added this to the main blog. Your thoughts...?

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for posting more information about this hideous hunt.
However I do believe, anyone who feels strongly against the act and who makes their small contribution either by email or letter is still helping greatly. It is bloody plain obvious that a well written email petition will make as much difference as a badly written petition and that is because they clearly don't care unfortunately :(

I'm definately going to do my small part and send a letter. I think any kind of hunting that is not neccesary. Although chickens, pigs, cows are frequently killed there is a big difference in that 1. they are killed in a very quick way, by standards. 2. humans can not be sustained without them.
Many can, however I'm a vegetarian, no meat at all, and I am frequently sick, faint and this is due to low iron. However, whale meat is uneccesary to these people's health and is a treat that can be avoided. These people will live just fine without this meat, and their method of killing them is sick and inhumane.

Tradition is bullshit. A lot of traditions have been killed, for example, most indigenious traditions such as tribe killings have been stopped for a long time, because it is outdated and this kind of behaviour is not permitted in the world of today.

Any inhumane animal hunting, either for eating or entertainment needs to end. Not only whaling, Racoon Dogs comprise 11% of animals hunted in Japan and this is only for fur to wear. Iberian Lynx have only 38 females left in the entire world due to their habitat being bulldozed. All the horses that are killed if injured during steeplechase. Or even factory farming, where animals are kept in disgusting conditions?

I am concerned about the individuals that can perform any of these cruel treatments on animals.
What more are they capable of? It really is sick. The people of Feroe Islands don't deserve their beautiful lands and the amazing, interesting and graceful whales that swim near the shores.

I'll send my letter and hoping to start up my own animal adoption centre/care centre for abandoned and mistreated animals in australia.

BigMac said...

Hi Philbee

First thank you for trying to keep a serious factbased debate
To me you seem to have a real and sincere wish to really bring understanding and dialog about this issue.

I am from Faroe Islands and really don´t like to think that this “serious” aproach has the only intention and goal to be a icebraker or softener to make it easyer to get already locked up wievs to the table.

Your blog and work to get facts right of course convince me that this is not the case, and you are in buisness of enlightning people to better make a stand for them selves based on true facts.

As you say you have discovered a lot of myths and factual errors about the faroeese whale hunt. So you of all know what we are up against.

Now my point: Philbee you have on your own managed to conclude: That the hunt is sustainable - that the pilotwhale is not a threatned specie – that there is no money involved, no buisness, no export – that hiddeous claims like that the meat is left to rot is “blatantly inncorrect information” as you put it...and the meat and blubber is a local delicacy of another world - that there are records of the hunt hundreds of years back, indicating a historical serious responsible conduct of a rescoursse... and not least giving invaluable accurate insight in the stocks condition over centurys.

All theese things have you managed to find out for your self wich I think is pretty amazing and uplifting, that there despite the incredible amount of misinformation(as you have noticed), after all are people who are able and willing to see into core of the matter.

Now my question: Why have all this information you have gathered, unveiling the truth wich are pretty much in favour of Faroe islanders, showing them as non monsters but serious responsible caretakers of a nature given resscoursse,.... NOT changed your view?
You have on your own refuted many of the most commonly used arguments against faroeese whale hunt, and proven them to be false, still you use words like “barbarism” and “senseless killing”(in another blog)

I am trying to understand but can´t see the connection between your witted observations and your derived conclusion.

I would like you to clarify, what exactly you think is the problem with sustainably harvesting a natural resscoursse on the opposite side of the planet from you?

Why are the true facts important?..are they meant to serve only the agenda of people already in opposition to whalehunt?,- is it just to look better on a letter to our primeminister ?..... or is it to bring ligth and basis for people to take an unbiased stance for them selves?

If the latter is the case, why urging people to write letters when they in fact might be convinced(converted) to see things from a faroeese standpoint by the new insigth you bring them?

NB: About the information on your blog about “Faroes importing mink whale meat from Norway”

First I must say I have never heard of this?? Never in my life I have ever eaten nor seen on a plate or in a store any bigwhale meat. Passing on such unconfirmed dubious “news”?? on your blog do´es nothing good for your otherwise “serious aproach”, insinuating illegal and unmoral behaviour of a whole population. As a journalist you sure know the term a “strawman argument” In this case the strawman beeing a suposedly false speculation in a completly different matter, not concerning the faroeese whalehunt whatsoever.

Faroe Island are NOT hunting big whales (like Japan, Norway,Iceland etc)....., so please don´t connect two different issues.

I don´t mean to be harsh or anyting so please foregive if I sound inpolite, but this is serious buisness for me and my country.

Philbee, said...

Dear BigMac:
Thanks for taking the time to write a response.
In reply, my first intention was to clarify many mistakes and rumours, so readers could make an informed decision - and not seem ignorant by quoting errors, if they wrote a protest.
And yes, I accept the Faroes does NOT hunt big whales. So I too was surprised to read that some big whale meat HAS been imported (there's much confirmed factual information on that WDCS website worth reading). I'll be looking into this more myself...
Some reasons I consider the grindadráp barbaric are: method, emotion, tradition, sustainability, economics.
Method: I accept your implements have been perfected for the job. However they are still inadequate for HUMANE slaughtering. You can argue about using knives to slit throats in abattoirs, however my first-hand abbatoir experience witnessed bolt guns delivering instant death - so no similarity. There is nothing humane about plunging hooks and knives into living animals, which then take up to 2 minutes to die.
Emotion: cetaceans' proven intelligence, social structure and interaction with mankind has forged emotional bonds, hence why many people protest killing of dolphins and whales, large and small. Added to this is the shock factor for many who've seen photos or videos of the grindadráp. Perhaps if they'd grown up with this, they'd feel indifferent to the whales' pain.
Tradition: just because something was done in the past, does not bind us to repeat it in the future. The grindadráp had a vital role in the survival of the Faroes...IN THE PAST. This is now the 21st.Century.
Sustainability: there is no denying that records show the Faroes are NOT wiping out pilot whale stocks. However there is a big difference between an Innuit tribe in frozen Alaska killing a whale every few months to merely SURVIVE...and a modern thriving economically-strong community such as yours herding whales into the shallows, to provide a traditional TREAT.
Economics: the Faroes has a strong economy easily sustaining its imports. For some to argue, that the grindadráp is vital should the islands be cut off by storms, is naive in this modern age. Likewise the argument, that whales constitute 30% of locally produced meat: this neatly sidesteps the fact that – just as if I baked a cake and it made up 30% of my baking – it's still a TREAT, not vital for survival. Replacing whaling with eco-tourism (in such a beautiful country as yours) would not only contribute to the GDP, but also remove the stygma of butchery.

I hope that clarifies my position more.

Anonymous said...

Does such an island need to exist and even its people..i think they are worth sacrificing though i would give them a less tortorous death...Sandeep

Anonymous said...

Big Mac--- you will see ill fate coming over Faroe people.. u senseless mutants... no culture but barbarians.. shame u were born.. Sandeep

Philbee, said...

Dear Sandeep:
While you're entitled to your opinion, your vicious emotional message is one of the reasons why the Faroese are reluctant to move on this issue.
I know this post has alot of information to consider, but please take the time to read it again - and think how a calmer response may have more effect.
Thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sandeep: people like you are the one that will cause fight and misunderstanding.. better keep your mouth shut if you have nothing good to say

BigMac said...

Hi again
I am afraid the time between my posts is a little long but I´ll try to answer as best I can. I will split up the replys into the different categories you set up ....method, emotion, tradition, sustainability, economics.
The categories order will be random and not all at once, but hopefully all adressed over some time.

First we can take “TRADITION”

Tradition: I see this alot in other forums to. To me is seem like people are seeking to score some cheap points . The fact that grindadráp certainly IS a tradition( anyway that´s what they call things that´s been done for centurys) is NOT equal/ aka/ = /the same thing/, .....that faroe islanders use this fact by itself, in defense of the hunt.

You somehow have gotten this idea, but I tell you it´s wrong

You say: tradition can´t be used to defend whalehunt!

I say: completly agree , but just because whalehunt is a tradition, you can´t use that to attack the whalehunt either!!

So why are we talking tradition then? I suggest since it´s not a part of the ecuation it´s left out as part of the argumentation
There has to be good reasons both ways,- a good reason to sustain the hunt or a good reason to quit,- simple as that!

But since you brougth tradition up I need more clarification cause it really makes me wonder what is your criteria when you decide the “tradition” weapon is fit to use.

Is it not tradition when you eat a steak in New Zealand wich you probably have done for centurys as well? Are you really sure you neeeeed to eat sheep in your country?..afterall it´s just a tradition rigth? Do you see where I´m getting, or is there a conveniance line you don´t like to cross saying : whaling on the opposite side of the planet is no-no primitive tradition, but everything killed and eaten at my doorstep in New Zealand is top-modern, new-age, merely part of a SURVIVAL-toolkit. Where do you draw the line? Everything found in a supermarket -freezer is valid and all the things you are not familiar with around the world, is taboo?

How about traditional hunt in New Zealand?

Is it out of need? Survival? Or is it more in the pleasure/fun/entertainment department? Or should we say buisness? Tourisboards eagerly attracting pleasurehunters from all over the world as a major part of NZ tourist industry(and hence NZ´s GDP) is´nt exactly in line with your suggestion about FI switcing to eco-tourism.

Why is your hunt simply food and our simple tradition?

What makes NZ´s traditional food and hunt so special that you don´t go out and demand it stopped in the same way you demand it from the FI?

I really need a clear answer on this cause I have a hard time following the reasoning.

NB: please do only answer inside the category of TRADITION (do not include sustainability, killing metode etc.)

BigMac said...


You gave up “sustainability” as one category of reasons why you concider grindadráp barbaric.

However after reading the content of your post over and over I found no sign of you saying that grindadráp is a problem to the sustainability of the whalepoppulation. Opposite you once again admitted that proven records show that sustainability is NOT an issue.

Now let us once and for all ratify your own words: “sustainability it not an issue!” . Period. (quote Philbee)

On the other hand you came up with two arguments completely irrelevant to the sustainability issue.

One argument was that whalemeat is not needed to survive and the other was that it was a “treat”
Since not in the catagory of “sustainability” I will answer these in a new post under proper category.

BigMac said...


Hi again

This post will be about emotions

“Emotion: cetaceans' proven intelligence, social structure and interaction with mankind has forged emotional bonds, hence why many people protest killing of dolphins and whales, large and small. Added to this is the shock factor for many who've seen photos or videos of the grindadráp. Perhaps if they'd grown up with this, they'd feel indifferent to the whales' pain. “ (quote Philbee)

Under emotion you mention cetaceans' proven intelligence, which I assume is because you considder it a special quality of an animal, making it deserve man´s special affection.

Intelligence is an often used factor in arguments to prove it wrong to use certain animals for human consumption. People tend to forget that if you set up a criteria (ex intelligence) of wich an animal should be spared, by the very same criteria they give their deathcentence to animals who do not meet the criteria.

In other words they discriminate “stupid” animals”

Is it fair by people who claim to be animalfriends to discriminate “stupid” animals?

Is it morally correct?

And are you willing to go the other way around and discuss an argue and prove to me the stupidity and lack of intelligence of a pig, and tell me in wich way it fails the intelligence-criteria since you have no problem killing them?

In my view intelligence is just one of any species qualitys. More so my general notion is that any type of animal is specialiced (evolution/creation, you pick) to it´s environment and is therefore one of it´s kind in ALL aspects.

Intelligense (as diffuse and difficult it is to measure)is just one of the different qualitys of a specie, why just pick that one?
People should ask themselves if their beliefs are based on stringent, logic, fair general treatment of ALL animals or merely a irrational religious whale-sectarian EMOTION of wich seamammals exclusively benefit .

And by the way, where are peoples “emotions” you mentioned when a less intelligent animal get a bullet in the brain, it´s skin ripped of, it´s body cut to pieces and served on their very own plate?

What can we say about people who can separate their emotions in this skizofrenic way? Is it fair to use their emotions as standard measure to the rest of us?

“Emotions” that can defend a whale but not a cow, are definiatly not about the animals but solely an inwardbound matter only concerning selfish non-reflective peoples ego.

And I can tell you for sure, emotions are not exclusive to the selfproclaimed “enviromentalist”. Faroees people who live in, by and of the nature also have strong feelings about the creatures surrounding us every day as indicated by heavy influence in art, litterature and lyric showing deep respect and affection to both the fauna and the enviroment of which we so heavily depend on.

I seriously doubt that New Zealand would respect a boycot on it´s meat-industry from India, based strictly on how they “feel” for cows. Killing a cow means nothing to NZ´ers and they would never even sligthly concider to reduce their intake one milligram only to please one billion Indian´s “emotions” for something irrational as a holy cow.
Since there is no emotions attaced to any of the animals people rather like to chew on, that be a pig, cow, chicken, they obviously have an unfullfilled need to throw their emotions on something. For no more rational reason than the Indian and their cows, the whale has become the chosen one to be the holy animal.

I am amazed that people can´t see the resemblance in term of sacredness and religious qualitys they ascribe to random animals in presice same way as ancient or religious cultures with the striking difference though, that Indians don´t force their religious belives on others.

Elin Brimheim Heinesen said...

BigMac... perhaps you would be interested in reading my blog "The Global Disney World" here?:

I guess Philbee might already have read it, since he's a subscriber. :-)

Philbee, NZ said...

Dear Big Mac:
I appreciate the effort you made, responding to my comments back in June. You've obviously applied a lot of thought, and I reply in the same manner.

Regarding "TRADITION": You agree that tradition can't be used to defend the whale hunt, but maintain it can't be used to attack it either. Then you link NZers eating meat as traditional.

By definition, traditions are beliefs/customs passed down through generations. They preserve culturally significant ideas, specific practices and various methods used by distinct cultures.

Eating meat from a farm, or even the wild, is sustenance.

CHOOSING to consume, say, a lamb roast with mint sauce on a Sunday evening becomes TRADITIONAL if it's done for decades or centuries (especially if there is minor ceremony involved, such as "Dad ALWAYS carves the roast"). NZ will not starve if we don't have a lamb roast every Sunday...but we LIKE to have it. And if our families have had one every Sunday for generations, it becomes traditional, fixed in our minds as a family custom.

In the Faroes' case, eating whale meat from a wild source WAS vital sustenance for many centuries - totally accepted. From reading your country's history, I see the past farming difficulties, so whaling was practical...IN THE PAST.

But modern Faroese CHOOSE to eat whale meat nowdays as a tradition. Many articles say they feel they'll lose a vital link with their history if they don't continue the "grind". But of course they'll survive without it, just as we would survive without a lamb roast every Sunday.

So no, eating NZ lamb is not traditional just as Faroese mutton or fish meals are not traditional. NZ is just luckier with our climate and growing conditions than the FI.

As for the hunting you cite in NZ: alot of people hunt for recreation/sport. The animals shot are on a cull list - deer, goats, geese, ducks etc. - with enforced catch numbers and seasons for hunting. Animals like rabbits, stoats, possums etc are regarded as pests, and are hunted any time.

Your whale hunting/eating IS a tradition (by the definition above). But the continuence of ALL traditions depends on many factors like cultural sensitivity, its place in a modern world, impact on society. Spain's traditional bullfighting is starting to be phased out because today it is regarded as cruel and archaic. The "grind" is the same - a tradition once rooted in practicality, but now completely unnecessary.

A huge difference between how a lamb roast ends up on MY table, and how whale meat arrives on YOUR table, is the killing method - which really SHOULD be included in this discussion on tradition. But at your request I've reluctantly left it for another time.

PS: By the way, the NZ maori tradition of eating humans captured in battle stopped in 1868!!! :-)

BigMac said...

Emotions Part3 (last)

“….. and interaction with mankind has forged emotional bonds,…..” (quote Philbee)

I don’t know about interaction with whales, anyway that is not normal occupation of average people all I know of. Maybe you are referring to TV´s Animal channel and the media phenomena of diving with sharks or whales, which almost has become synonym, or should we say substitute, to environmental awareness.

This commercialized “natural” coexistence on the blue screen is the closest contact most people ever have had with a whale. Not to ditch TV, it can be entertaining and occasionally educational, but you can hardly talk about forging sincere true real emotional bonds via the telly, they will at best be superficial

Besides, bonding is usually referred to as a relationship characterized by attachment, affection and trust between two parts who feel the same way. That is the definition of the word. So what you basically are saying is that whales have same affection towards human beings. Well I think that is an optimistic assumption, I doubt the whale is conscious about human beings altogether, even they might be capable, they live in an other world where there are no human beings(except some divers from Animal Channel ;-) … and where there is no television.

I therefore think the word “bonding” is completely off and the real word is “liking”. You like whales that´s all there is to it. The sad thing is that not all animals are obviously “liked” equally since some of them frequently are squashed into meatloaf and consumed with great relish.

As for interaction with mankind I assume enviromentalists have interaction on daily basis with all kinds of animals. Still it doesnt hold them back to kill and eat the very same animals.

*The idea of using intelligense as a factor of protecting “intelligent” animals, is by nature the same idea of using intelligense as a factor to NOT protect lesser “intelligent” animals. Moraly it is a contradiction and scientificaly it is an impossible task to do a meaningful IQ test on the worlds species and expect any reliable way to compare their mental capabilites. Besides the narrow favouring of humanlike skills is to disregard the complexity and uniqness of every living creature there is.

*Emotions is an everchanging, volatile, inconsistent human condition and are not suitable as a standalone argument in any disscussion. Of course it is the rationale that lead to the emotions which is the point of interest.

*It is a direct (double)contradiction to use interaction as an argument for protection of an animal of which people have no interaction, and having no problem killing animals of which they have daily interaction.

..end of Emotions

BigMac said...

Emotions Part2

Why would modern people of New Zealand stop their beef consumption out of consideration to a foreign religion in a foreign country?

Why would Faroe Islanders stop their whalemeat consumption out of consideration to a foreign whale-religion of a foreign people, alian to our way of life, and even alianated and in denial to the core and facts of their own existence?

It calls for consern and wondering when peoples evercanging “emotions” are used as an absolut valid argument which others are expected to live by, perfectly well knowing that your country will change lifestyle only due to respect of others emotions, the day hell freezes over.

A whale is one (1)out of the worlds 1,250,000 identified animalspecies (just take the time to grasp the magnitude). No offense but don´t you agree with me that it takes both a narrow and selfish mindset to conclude that “emotions” is a valid parameter to single out which specie is food and which is sacred, and on top of that having the arrogance to singlehanded appoint oneself to be the chairman and only member of the selection committee?

“Added to this is the shock factor for many who've seen photos or videos of the grindadráp. Perhaps if they'd grown up with this, they'd feel indifferent to the whales' pain.” (quote Philbee)

I bet there are a lot of things “they” are not grown up with!, - so does it mean that the rest of the world has to await clearance until they are updated or have decided which “emotion” to wear on topic´s they are ignorant about?

You seeing call for establishing a thread with the main message “gotta get it right”, is a perfect example of the basis for the majority of emotions out there. 99,9% of written response on the internet propagates directly false information Well no need to tell you, the factual errors you pointed out yourself are so severe that no wonder people are upset, but do you think that it is just and fair that false, wrongful misinformation and thereby derived emotions, are valid and acceptable as relevant arguments?

Emotions alone are just a human condition, an individual state of mind controlled by some chemicals in the brain whatever.. , impulses triggered by thousand billions of different inputs and with just as many different factors affecting the end result, the output, the emotion.… The very same experience is resulting in different emotion by different people, and it´s not considered good common sense to make absolute definite conclusions based on the emotions themselves.

Of course the RATIONALE that led to the emotion has to be the determining factor in disputes between people.

The back-story, the facts, the context are the matter, the substance to be considered, emotions are a highly individual state of mind not suitable in serious decision-making.

Until you come up with convincing arguments to prove that ever-changing inconsistent emotions in themselves are enough to decide important matters, I have to reject them as argumentation material.

to be continued...

BigMac said...

sorry the order of part 2 and 3 are reversed

Eyðbjørn Jespersen said...

I've just read your blog on the grindadráp on the Faroe Islands, and would like to thank you for your way of settings things straight.
However, on your remark about whale screaming or noises, I can only give you my hands-on experiences. They are quiet except for the occasional clicking and the noise they make when breathing.
On the killing I can inform you that a new weapon has been developed, which looks like a small shovel. The blade of the shovel is sharp and used to cut the spinal cord only. The weapon has been approved on a experimental level by the authorities, but the results are very good and I'm quite sure we'll see the weapon being approved and made obligatory for the kill.

Recently we had a kill gone wrong at Klaksvík, meaning that the kill was to slow compared to the size of the flock. The guys in charge of the kill blamed it on themselves, poor planing and poor coastal circumstances. They plan to adopt rules and regulations which are in force in other bays, that are being used more frequently.

When we claim the kill is not commercial, it means that there is no company doing any whalekilling. However, some resourceful hands have always participated in all the kills they can - and are selling their exceed meat. The price is very low, compared to other meat, bird or fish. They usually sell their meat in Tórshavn - which is what we Faroese call a "bad whalebay" - and where close to half the population lives.

As the rest of the world, Faroes are experiencing the economical recession on a large scale. One of the two mayor banks has gone bankrupt, and with rising unemployment I'll expect a rise in the interest in partaking in the whalekilling - and other ways to harvest the natural resources at hand. I myself spend some of my time onshore to hunt wild hare, seals and various blackbirds. I've been doing this since I was a toddler and because I've seen closehand that the wildstock is not deteriorating. I eat most of my game myself - and give all exceeding meat to relatives and close friends. I haven't found a way to use the fur for something resourceful yet.

Thank you again for your reasonable approach to our ways and best regards,

Eyðbjørn Einarsson Jespersen

BigMac said...

Here we go again. This time about economics. I try to keep a sober tone with a little edge though. No offense and nothing personal, but hey remember who´s under attack here ;-)


Economics: the Faroes has a strong economy easily sustaining its imports. For some to argue, that the grindadráp is vital should the islands be cut off by storms, is naive in this modern age. Likewise the argument, that whales constitute 30% of locally produced meat: this neatly sidesteps the fact that – just as if I baked a cake and it made up 30% of my baking – it's still a TREAT, not vital for survival. Replacing whaling with eco-tourism (in such a beautiful country as yours) would not only contribute to the GDP, but also remove the stygma of butchery. (quote Philbee)

First there is no need to enlighten faroe islanders about the economic situation and the extent of modernity here. It is like telling Australians that kengurus live in their country, they are perfectly aware of that and have no intention or reason to refute that obvious fact.

So yes Faroe Islands is a modern society,- cars , roads, subsea tunnels, satellite tv, broadband internet, cell phones. Several daily abroad flights. Education level the same as in main Europe, people study in Denmark, UK, USA etc.
Modern warehouses with any type of food you can think off.

Whale meat is therefore not a question of life and death.
Bringing the discussion in that direction with people of FI is a dead-end and has no purpose just like the case with the kengurus above.

So for the slow witted we do NOT talk survival here.

The real issue and irony is that not we, but YOU keep bringing the meatconsuption of faroe islanders into a matter of life and death, a case of survival.

This survival fixation makes me curios. I wonder about the origin of the life/death requirement. Is it actually a standard you set for yourself? . I have my reasonable doubts and wonder why you don´t turn the question on yourself and impose a little selfreflection on you and your fellow countrymen , - why is your meat consumption not a question of survival?? Why don´t you ask yourself what meat you can do without? Are you going to die without deer meat? Lamb? Rabbit? Are ALL the manifold types of meat you consume in NZ strictly for survival?

If it turns out that you actually do not die without lamb or deer, by your standards it is a treat and therefore should not be eaten by humans. I have a hard time believing you are practicing your own logic and eat only what is absolutely necessary to survive. Don´t fight me on this one you know I´m right, otherwise I must assume you eat only green leaves, some nuts and maybe watermelon.

Meat is what the majority of the worlds population consume, (it ought not to come as a surprise and it really shouldn’t be my job to bring the news to enlightened people)

The meat from grind is just what it is,- meat!!

Likewise the argument, that whales constitute 30% of locally produced meat: this neatly sidesteps the fact that – just as if I baked a cake and it made up 30% of my baking – it's still a TREAT, not vital for survival. (quote Philbee)

You seem to ascribe the word “treat” a negative value. As if something is a treat then it is problem in itself.
That I don´t get, what is wrong with a treat?
Following your cake-analogy, even if your cake made up 220% percent of your baking, I would ask myself if this fact is of any relevance to me or anybody?
I would ask myself relevant questions: Oh yes he eat an awful lot of cake but does it impose a threat to anybody? Is there danger of extinction of the cake? Is there any moral issue in eating cake vs. ex bread?

Even all the cake eating may not be good for you, I am in no position to force you to quit, even all you eat is cake and it is 100% a TREAT.

If cake is what you want to eat, and there otherwise is no harm done, there is nothing I will or should do about it.
to be continued...

BigMac said...


You may call it a treat, feat, meat or whatever nice words comes to mind You forget that grind is everyday food here and has always been. If you ask any faroe islander, “grind” will be among top tree favorite meals any time over any fancy French kitchen.

This is the essence/core/bottom line/crucial/utmost/fundamental of EVERYTHING.

I don´t know if it is deliberate ignorance or lack of fantasy to completely bypass the essence, the very reason Faroe Islanders even bother the effort to get this meal on the table.

Grind is national dish here, it is just what we eat! Your laid-back attitude in forcing FI to quit eating grind is to be paralleled with your willingness to remove lamb or mutton from New Zealand’s dishes.

Again for reflections sake I suggest you think about your absolute favorite food, tell me what it is, and tell me about your feelings if I with no other argument than “it is a treat” “you don´t need it”, told you to please stop it now and forever.
You seem like a nice man so you probably wouldn’t ask me to f... of, but sure would think I´ve got some nerve,- most likely tell me it is not for me to decide what you should eat, and ask me to come up with some REALLY good arguments.

This is exactly what I say: It is not for you to say specifically that I shall not eat “grind” or any food on earth because I don´t need it or it´s a treat. If you have a problem with my food your job is to argument convincingly, and it implies of course the self-evident logic (axiom) that you don’t undermine and hollow out your reasoning by actually being in a position the same or even worse than the object you criticize.

“Grind” is not about survival and neither are your hamburger so shall we say we´re even!

PS: If the problem is that we get a “treat” would you feel better if we commercialized it, neatly wakumpacked and in stead of getting it for free, put on sale in a supermarket or exported to New Zealand with profit?

PPS: At last a little twist that you can add to the fact database:

“Grind” is NOT free!

There are a lot of expenses associated with a “grindadráp”. Since there is no way to predict when a “grindaboð” may occur, people have to be ready to go the very minute, that be in the middle of church or work. This hugely affects every place of work and their employee in lost income. There is nothing unusual to miss several hours to days of work pr men. Add this up with 1000...+.

To herd the whales you need a lot of fuel driven boats, often 50 -100 or more. Fuel- expenses usually covered by the owner.
Salt and storage barrels.
Fully paid Police staff who are in charge of origination, easily working non-stop 48 hours
Fully paid clean up personnel with trucks and dif. gear
The total cost is not fictitiuos but in real hard cash, covered either way or the other by the society.

Our small scale locally produced ecologic meat does not fall from the sky but comes at a cost probably exceeding the cheapish mass produced meat from Brazil or NZ

Grind is distributed freely, but is not acquired free of charge. The overall costs are carried by the society and is therefore not a treat.

No treat, hence no TREAT argument....there you go.

Andrew said...

Mr Mac.

The typical yearly harvest, on AVERAGE, from the grind is approx 500tonnes of meat and blubber. Given that the population of 48000+ would be restricted, should they adhere to government recommendations, to consuming approximately 170 tonnes of meat and blubber, one wonders what happens to the rest? Shrinkage?;)
The official figures for the cull(s) only record those animals utilised. So in a killing of say 100 pilot whales, if 80 are utilised for consumption, then the official cull figure is shown as 80. Similar protocols apply to strandings. Slighty shady, methinks.
The actual killing time averages about 30 seconds which is by no means instant.
The simple fact of the matter is that it is unnecessary to continue the practice. Sufficient evidence exists to suggest massive over culling, given that 500 tonnes is taken to satisfy 170 tonnes requirement.
60% of meat requirements are now fulfilled locally by land based animals.
The meat is unfit for human consumption according to your own governing body.
Claim righteous indignation if you will. We're not fooled.

Andrew said...

"...Modern warehouses with any type of food you can think off(sic)...."

Then why bother the dolphins, Mr Mac?

Oh I see! Because you can!

Nice one...

Logical Larry said...

Big Mac:
Did you write your last reply AS A JOKE???
Because it's very very funny!
You write about the COST of a “grindadráp”...
The cost of the police - not an extra cost. They're on duty anyway.
The cost of lost employment - more fool the businesses who allow their staff to run off without warning.
The cost of fuel, salt, clean-up - well, if these people WANT this butchered treat, that's the price they pay.
The cost of imported meat being cheaper - then why don't you just buy that? You've getting more than enough subsidies from the Danish.
Basically, if you don't want the COST, the BAD PUBLICITY, the HEALTH ISSUES, the LONG-TERM BRAIN DAMAGE to your children...then don't continue with this slaughter! It's as simple as that.
There's no convincing argument you Faroese can put up against this logic.

BigMac said...

Logical Larry:

My reply about the cost was in response to this blogs author, about one of his arguments against whaling, saying that grind is a “treat”.

Don´t know if it´s has something to do with English not being my first language, but I totally fail to understand how something being a treat has anything to do with the right/wrong question on the subject discussed here.

If the grind fell down from heaven like manna, it sure would be a treat and by the blogs author definition then be an argument against whaling, - I sure don´t follow?

Despite the absurd and pointless idea of trying to refute such an empty non-argument, I gave examples of how there actually IS a fair amount of effort involved in getting the meal on the table.

Still, - costs or not, they are carried by FI society and should not be a worry of yours.

And even tough your “sincere” interest in Faroese health issues is touching, I believe they are way better administrated by whom they actually concern, the Faroese people themselves, thank you.

jerry hamilton said...

It is deliberately misleading to the extreme.
This person will explain far better than I can.