Thursday, December 17, 2009


I was sent some hideous, horrifying and disturbing pictures by email yesterday. Not being certain, I checked it out on Snopes and it all appears to be all too frighteningly true. The email talks about the slaughtering of Pilot Whales (Calderon Dolphins) in the Faroes which are part of Denmark. You know, the country where the Greenhouse Gases are being discussed right now. It appears that they slaughter hundreds of these animals every year by driving them into a bay and then wading in and killing them by hand. They 'get away' with this because they eat some of the whale meat and it comes unders subsistence clauses, but in this day and age, it is totally unnecessary and everyone involved should combine to prevent this happening in the future The whole story is shocking and I hope you will take the time to read what Snopes has to say at this site which does not in fact include all the horrible photos I was sent originally, but enough to convey to your what a horrific process this all is. The person who originally wrote the text of the email is obviously not an English speaker by birth, but what that person said, explains some of the situation and the fact that these animals are facing extinction. I do hope we can all do something about this dreadful hunt.
No recipe today - it doesn't fit the subject.
Have a great day


  1. I've read this before, Jo, and while as a vegetarian I find the killing of animals for any reason distasteful, the fact is that we are, by nature, omnivores. We each have to find our own level of tolerance for slaughter and somehow come to accommodate this fact about human nature.

    Like the Japanese, the natives of the Faroes have long considered whale meat to be part of their traditional diet. Animal activists claim that much of the meat goes to waste, while residents of the Faroes refute this allegation. Since we have never been there, how do we know which is true? Perhaps, as in most controversial things, the truth lies somewhere in between.

    On both moral and environmental grounds, I long ago decided not to eat meat. I do, however, eat fish and cheese. Some would see this as reprehensible, and to be honest I would prefer not to eat fish, but I also know that I need the protein and the iodine. To pretend that we are not by nature omnivorous is to ignore the facts of our dentition and digestion.

    When I was doing my certificate in Rural Studies we were obliged to visit an abattoir. It was horrible. They kill a dozen or more animals a minute, eight hour a day, five days a week. The smaller animals – sheep and goats, for example, die quite quickly, but the larger ones take a minute or two to die, even with a bullet in their brains. They are then heaved up by the legs to have their throats cut, and there is blood – a lot of blood – flowing down the sluice channels. It takes a lot of water to wash that blood away. If we killed those animals in the sea, our coastlines would run red with blood. And not just once or twice a year, as in the Faroes, but every working day of the year.

    The fact that an animal is endangered does not make its slaughter any more or less painful. The stain on our psyches is just as great whether we kill cows or whales or anything else, and to pretend that it’s OK to kill some animals for food and not others will not alter that fact.

    There is quite a good article on the Pilot Whale hunt on Wikipedia, which gives a more reasoned analyis of the custom than the emotional one that goes around via email.

  2. Thanks for your observations Satima, you are quite right, those pictures produced a very emotional reaction which would probably also be the same if I visited an abattoir. I still don't think the people of the Faroes need to kill hundreds of Pilot Whales in this day and age - cows are at least bred for slaughter. I do agree the slaughter of any animal is bad, but unfortunately, I don't have your strenght and determination to become a vegetarian.

    By the way, you can get all the protein you need from beans and legumes and other such foods.

  3. Sadly, I can't eat beans. I am one of the 10% of people lacking the enzyme that allows us to digest pulses. I can eat eat them only if they've bend soaked and boiled with three changes of water - and by that time, let's face it, there's b-all nutritional value left in them!

  4. That's a bummer isn't it. I didn't know people couldn't eat them. What a pity for you, I love beans.

  5. Hi Satima and Jo
    Great to see people writing about this topic in a rational way. Mostly posts based on those pictures are emotional pointless rants.

    The Pilot Whale population is estimated at around 700.000 and what is harvested in the Faroes does not endanger the population.
    I believe that in this day and age, where the most of the planet is over exploited we should embrace sustainable use of natural resources. Even when the actual harvesting is bloody and in the open.

    The greatest danger to this population of Pilot Whales is pollution, and not the people of the Faroes.

    These animals are free their whole lives, right up to the moment where they are killed. The alternative is , as Jo points out, buying industrial animal products.
    Cows bred for slaughter is not a moral alternative. Watch