Constructive Discussion on Killing in the Faroe Islands – Faroese Speak Back

A man from the Faroe Islands contacted me on Facebook.  He wrote the first intelligent and openminded piece we’ve received thusfar (some of Nick’s posts notwithstanding.)  Since the slaughter of the dolphins and whales in the Faroe Islands results in the deaths of a thousand Pilot “Whales” (actually a large dolphin) per year, and the Faroe Islands is being accused of overfishing, we feel it is time to open this dialogue up to solution-oriented discussions, looking for ways to allow the Faroese to thrive without killing cetaceans.

The dialogue began as a result of a recent winter visit by Ady Gil and Pete Bethune, who went there without the animosity of Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  Ady and Pete reported that the people of the Faroes were gracious, warm, and very likable.  Of course, we aren’t surprised that this is the case, but that doesn’t change the fact that their “Grind” is viciously slaughtering dolphins and whales.

Though some of the winter images look stark, we’ll have to point out that in the summer the place is rich, green and lush.  Even now, at the waterfront, the place isn’t all that cold and forbidding. (some photos by Benno Hansen benno.hansen@gmail.com)

Before we begin the dialogue, it’s important to remember that, no matter how peaceful these scenes may look, THIS is the reality that some in the Faroe Islands make every year:

This is the reality of the Grind

these verdant lands are being tainted, covered in blood by the unnecessary killing of whales and dolphins.

These verdant lands are being tainted, covered in blood by the unnecessary killing of whales and dolphins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dialogue is where such changes begin.

I received the following email from a man in the Faroes:

Hello John.

I would just like to write to you, with a few corrections and facts regarding your view and thoughts about the Faroe Islands and the people living here. Please don’t see this as an attack on your conservationist ideals. I have read some of your posts, and I must say I am positively surprised by your views and ideas, as they don’t seem to contain any violent agenda, much unlike those of Watson and the SSCS in general.

It is a common misperception that the killing of pilot whales in the Faroes is some sort of test of manhood. This is inaccurate.
The killing of pilot whales, also known as grind, is thought to date as far back as the 1100-1200′s, though written history from these times is almost non-existent concerning the Faroes. The first written records of pilot whales being killed in the Faroes dates from the middle to late 1400′s. Since the mid-1500′s every single whale of any kind (e.g. Pilot Whales, Porpoise, Dolphin and the Northern Bottlenose Whale) that has been killed in the Faroes, has been recorded with date, location, size, gender, pregnancy status, lenght, weight, approx. age, amount of meat and blubber as well as how many parts it was divided into and what persons received these parts. It has always been illegal to trade or sell ones part of the whales, but this has unfortunately been broken a few times in modern times, although the responsible parties have been fined and their whale meat confiscated.
Since the grind became a part of Faroese way of life, the killing and dividing of it has been strictly regulated by the people themselves. It originated in a time of famine in the Faroes, when the Islands where a lowly colony of the norse kingdom (look up the Kalmar Union for more information). When the Union broke apart, the Faroes remained a colony of Denmark, with strict laws governing the people and trade in the Islands very harsly until 1856, during which the Grind became a part of the faroese way to break the Danish embargo on the Islands (not that unlike the Boston Tea-party in spirit), as well as a universal way to feed the people. Since the begining, the division of the whales has been strictly regulated, with one whale being given to the ones who found the pod, one being given to the local hospital, one being given to the local magistrate and the rest being divided equally between those who took part in the killing, the elderly and infirm (who did not have the health to participate) as well as the poor. If the pod was big enough, equal parts were divided between the rest of the inhabitants of the village where the killing took place. If the pod was too small, it was only divided between the hospital, the elderly, the sick and the poor.
This is in large still active today, only it is now written into the official laws of the country. It has always been illegal to gain monetary profit from the whales, and those who did where considered social derelicts in the country.
The methods of driving and killing the whales have also been strictly regulated since the beginning, being reviewed regularly so that the animals did not suffer needlessly during the drive and subsequent killing, as well as to ensure as swift and painless a death as possible.

We Faroese have never claimed that we NEED to kill the whales to ensure our survival. This claim is not ours, but has been created about us to use as propaganda against us. We claim that the whales are a part of our diet, like the sheep and cows that we have here, and have an economical benefit to those who receive parts from the grind, as it is free meat, and one part can ensure anything from 5 to 50 free hot dinner meals for one single family.
It is true that not all Fareose like the taste of the grind, but then, not all Americans like the taste of McDonalds do they?
The participation in the grind is slowly diminnishing, as well as the consumption of the meats, as more and more people give up the grind. This is not because of you and your friends view of our Islands, but because of the level of polution dumped by the industrialized nations surrounding us in the North Atlantic. This is a factor that we generally fear, and one we would like you and your likeminded conservationsits to pay much greater heed to, because as we see our hunts to be sustainable, the continued pollution will cause detrimental effect to all marine life, and thus eventually end our lives as well. We Faroese give generous amounts to conservationist societies, such as WWF and Greenpeace, because we, perhaps more than most people in Europe, see first hand the effects of their pollution of our nature and marine life. We love our nature, our birds, fish, whales and other animals. But this does not mean, that we don’t see them as a source of foods. As long as we can do our hunting of these species on a sustainable level, we see no harm to this. This is perhaps due to our level of commitment to nature, as we can not close our eyes to the origin of our dinner, but have perhaps watched our children play with said animal a few weeks prior in the fields.
The only foods we do not import these days, are those we receive from the oceans. We are self-sufficient with fish and complement this with free whalemeat. Everything else, from potatoes to cd-players, we import. There have been attempts at growing wheat, corn, majs and similar crops in the Faroes, but none have taken and survived our climate. We have had several greenhouses that have tried to grow other crops, like tomatoes, cucumbers etc, but the only plants that seem to thrive in them, are flowers. It is also very rare, that these greenhouses survive our storms for very long, they have a life expectancy of between 1 and 6 years in general.
We have roughly 100.000 sheep on the islands. These are not enough to feed the inhabitants (some of your fellow conservationists claim the simple solution is to kill half the people living here) and the few cows we have here suply most of our milk. We have had attempts at raising pigs, goats, chickens and other animals here, but the weather has been to harsh for them to thrive, and thus their owners have not been capable of turning a profit and gone bankrupt.
As a note, I can ad that we import much of our beef from New Zealand and Argentine and much of our sheeps meat from New Zealand and Iceland. The few potatoes grown on the islands are mostly private and eaten by the family that planted them, none are harvested commercially in the Faroes.
As for the fishing, the EU along with Norway, Scotland and England have a large campaign going at the moment, where they accuse us of being the solitary reason for the overfishing in the North Atlantic. Yes, we have done some overfishing in regards to the estimates from the research community, but we have paid the price from this with almost no fish for some of the following years. But, seen from our perspective, the EU has claimed 350.000 tonnes of fish living mostly inside our borders, while “generously” granting us 5% of the same quota. Why should we agree to this? We are NOT a part of the EU. We are not a member of the European Community as such, and are not treated as equals in any way. We have therefore claimed ourselves a quota of 15% inside our own borders, and have told the EU and Norway, that they can fish their remaining quota outside our borders. This has caused them to go into a frenzy, and their subsequent reactions towards us. The ongoing perpetual shrimp-war with Canada amounts to much the same. Canada wants to fish as much shrimp as possible, and therefore threatens us to relinquish our parts of the quota, so Canada can fish more than their fair share.

And just to end with, we do not receive 85 million Euros a year in aid.
We receive 46 million Euro a year from Denmark, as payment for running several departments of the Danish goverment in the Faroes.
This amount has been frozen for some years now, while the cost of these services have grown, leading to a deficit in these departments that is to be payed by the faroese taxpayers.
The original amount was close to 114 million Euro, but has been downsized according to the wishes of the Faroese government, along with the corresponding authority being taken over by Faroese jurisdiction and control, their plan being, that when the Faroes has gained control over all aspect of jurisdiction, and the payment from Denmark consquently is 0, the Faroes can declare themselves a sovereign nation.

Although I realize that even 46 million Euro seems like a huge amount of money for 50.000 people, I would like to point out (and I’m sure you can ask Pete and Ady about this) we have an insanely expensive country to live in. I’ll give you a few examples.
1 carton of milk (1 ltr.) costs 1,55 Euro.
1 pound of meat (cow) costs 6,75 Euro.
1 bottle of beer 0,33ltr. costs (in a pub) 3,25 Euro.
1 chicken costs 5,50 Euro.
1 piece of fruit (bananas, apples etc.) costs 0,5 Euro.
1/2 pound of coffee costs 4 Euro
and 2 tubes of Zendium toothpaste are currently on sale for 3,49 Euro.
On the more expensive side, the cheapest new Toyota Auris costs 28.272 Euro and an average house costs 168.000 Euro.
Compare this to an average yearly salary of 26-27.000 Euro and a maximun taxation by the government of 52% and 25% VAT to boot.

Don’t get us wrong, we are a very nice, helpful and friendly people. But we are also a fiercely patriotic and proud people. If we are pushed then we push back, which is why I sincerely hope that your more peaceful views on an approach towards the Faroes wins precedens over the more aggressive methods that Watson and the SSCS generally advocate.

Sincerely
Jógvan (last name withheld by editor)
The Faroe Islands
My reply  included :

Dear Jogvan,

First off, thank you for replying with your concept of the facts instead of simply demanding some god-given right to slaughter whatever you can find.

A heated debate has been going on for months on my organization’s site, Protect The Ocean. A fellow, Nick, a Faroese man, constantly defends your nation, and he is amongst those who claims that it is necessary to kill whales for survival. So it’s not exactly propaganda used against you, but statements made by your own people. (Yes, we can tell where the posts come from, based on the ISP info.) Generally, I allow Nick his rants in my “home” site, because I believe in the right to express oneself. In all of his writings, not once has he sent me anything as solid as this one letter of yours.

There are two important points:

1) You wrote “As long as we can do our hunting of these species on a sustainable level, we see no harm to this. This is perhaps due to our level of commitment to nature, as we can not close our eyes to the origin of our dinner, but have perhaps watched our children play with said animal a few weeks prior in the fields.”

This is the basis of our disagreement. From a statistical level, you see “no harm.” I have spent a LOT of time in the personal company of dolphins (and several of those creatures called a “whale” are actually dolphins, including the orcas.) Originally, I worked with them in captivity. Not for the movies, not as famous Ric O’Barry, but the same idea. It was there that I came to understand that they are individuals, highly complex, with individual and interpersonal relationships. These relationships and their intelligence were at least equal to our own. I say “at least” because while they always seem to figure out what we want or mean, we very seldom grasp theirs. In part, that is because their communications aren’t JUST clicks and whistles. We now know that their sounds occur at 60,000 cycles, and even up as high as 200,000 cycles, more than 10 times higher than we’re able to hear.

I recall a female that liked me well. Within the dolphin world, like us humans, they have sex as they want, not just for procreation. Well, she was gently coming on to me, fond of me. She accepted that I wasn’t interested, but remained fond of me. The male in the group, who fancied her, was always decent towards me, but a bit jealous of her attention in my direction. If she showed up while I was in the water or near the pool, he would splash water with fin or tail, saying “go away.” One time, while in the pool with her, he came over, took my wrist into his mouth, and gently (no marks, even) guided me to the side of the pool, saying “You, get out. She’s my girlfriend.” Very much like a teenage boy with a crush, no?

So I have come to know firsthand that they are not simply clever, as monkeys are clever. Far more than that. They live in family groups for 40-100 years. (Natural prey species have far more babies and live far shorter lives.) They don’t seem to have a concept within their society for our evil intentions… and certainly do not have a concept for betrayal.

As you probably know, dolphins have been protected by human law as far back as ancient Greece, because they have proven themselves friends to mankind. Even today, we see frequent authentic accounts of dolphins saving people, our pets, and even other species of cetaceans (dolphins and whales.) So attacking them, killing and eating them is the ultimate betrayal.

So you see, there IS harm done. Think of this: there are 4 billion people on this planet. We’re far from going extinct. But it’s still not okay to kill humans. Why not? Because, being sentient (self aware) they will suffer horrible, miss their loved ones and be mourned. Killing off the male may leave the family without a provider… It’s simply not right to cause such suffering so long as there are alternatives. It is the same when you kill cetaceans. They are mourned, they are missed, and lives that sometimes span a century are cut down in their prime. This isn’t anything like natural selection. It’s killing, murder. And in the Grind, entire extended families are killed, entire genetic groups. Amongst those groups may be an essential key to the entire species’ survival. It’s not okay at that level to be wiping them out either.

As you come to see that there is so much more in that rather unlikely body than simply some flesh you are used to eating, you begin to see why we are so passionate about what is being done to them. We see families, mothers and their babies, grandmothers… we see them as they actually are.

You may think “well, if they’re so smart, why don’t they get away?” As I said, they have no concept of betrayal, so they trust us. And, unlike us, they don’t attack fellow sapients (knowing right from wrong, having higher intellect.) Dolphins, even transitory groups of orcas, go out of their way to make friends with humans, both on boats and at the beaches. Think about it: The ones hunted in the Grind are easily powerful enough to break and kill people… but they don’t attack you. Do you think this is because they think they DESERVE attack and death? No, it is because it is not within their nature, as it is with less evolved beings, to attack and rend flesh from a fellow sapient being.

2) The other aspect is that while you feel your costs are high, I see very little difference between those prices you report and what is often paid in Europe or upscale areas of the United States. 46 million euros per year for 50,000 people is still nearly 1000 euros per person. That’s no insult, as it is free aid and does quite a bit to offset the cost of living on an island. (ANY island is going to be more expensive to live on. Even Hawaii, which most certainly can and does grow her own food, has high costs.)

The problem starts with your government. 52% tax, and then a 25% VAT? Toss the greedy bastards to the curb! 3/4 of your income is being taken from you by your government. Do they provide so much in return or are they just parasites?

Ecotourism might help your country some. I’m sure you realize this. It would have to be developed, of course. And there are other better technologies for growing food, I promise. I’ve seen it firsthand, even in harsh winter climates.

Watson is no friend of mine. I see him as an arrogant and self-serving man. But I DO understand the perspective. He, too, sees that you’re killing beings that are at least as intelligent, evolved and wise as we are… and that you don’t need to be. Yes, the “tradition” started long ago, before gasoline outboard engines and boats, when you would be bad off and grab at anything that came close enough to shore to eat. But that time is long gone. In the U.S., we had slavery at one time as well. We would snag up black-skinned people and force them to do our work, to do as we commanded. We would beat them, even kill them, if they did not obey. It is not a time our culture is proud of. I’m reasonably sure that, some day in the future, the Faroese people will look back upon the atrocities of the Grind with similar embarrassment.

Killing 1000 whales does not mean your survival. But every one that you kill — every one — that IS that creature’s survival.

I am not Ady Gil either. I don’t see all living beings as equal. Some are naturally prey. One can tell, because they reproduce in huge numbers, become able to reproduce at a very young age, live relatively short lives… So if you raise chickens, I will not fault you, so long as they are treated humanely while they are alive, and killed without unnecessary terror or maliciousness. It IS possible for humans to be kind in continuing our existence, if we bother to do so.

There is room for us to help each other. But you must also see what you do from an individual perspective, not just say “There are plenty of Right Whales in the world, so we can kill them.” (If that’s the criteria, shall we start eating unworthy humans?) And you must recognize that some of your reality is of your own making. The government is overbearingly large, and must change. AND you’ve chosen to continue living on that beautiful chain of islands. That comes at a price which YOU — not the innocent dolphins and whales that happen to pass by — must pay.

Those who live on other islands do so without killing dolphins and whales, and you can too. I have faith that, together, we can make killing these amazing creatures a thing of the past.

Sincerely,

JT

We welcome intelligent, constructive dialog.  The posts WILL be moderated, to avoid unnecessary vulgarity and counterproductive recriminations.  Other than that, this is an open discussion.  Protect The Ocean does not believe in unwarranted censorship.  We welcome your input and look forward to participation from all sides.

ED note: I’d have though that the last paragraph covered this adequately, but apparently not, so:

NOTICE: Posts that threaten violence or are nothing more than a blatant string of insults will NOT be approved.  Such behavior is inappropriate to a constructive dialogue, works against our mutual goals.  Please find more appropriate ways to express your displeasure.  Thank you.

Comments

  1. Thank you for that insightfull bit of communication, JT – it’s always nice to get information straight from the source. And thanks for the chance to get a more sober and constructive debate going :)

    I would however like to correct a few crucial errors in your reply:
    I am not faroese – I am danish, living in the second largest city of Denmark, Aarhus (and have done so for all close to 40 years of my life).
    Second: I may have stated that the Faroese depend on the whales more in times of economical hardship, and in the case of an international embargo. Those statements are not definitive – they are speculations, and I hope I have not suggested otherwise, or I have not made my self clear in those manners. If so, let it hereby be corrected.

    I’m gonna take the time to read your reply in detail as well as I did Jógvan’s – and of course the rest of the debate. But one thing did catch my eye: The tax/Vat situation. I told you it was high, right? ;)
    Is it worth it? In recent years I don’t think so, since our current government (in my oppinion) has squandered the danish finances and given os nothing but cutbacks and the likes in return – all excused by the financial crisis, even if they’ve used a lot of the surplus we had, on tax benefits to the richest of the land. But anyways…
    Denmark has free education (there are some specialized educations you pay for though), free medical treatment (you’ll usually never have to pay for more than a glass of pills yourself – if you get cancer, the state pays your treatment). We have a fairly good infrastructure, and we (used to) have proper law and order because the police was not undermanned and underfunded.
    The danish society is largely based on a social thought, where you take care of even the weakest, and where the strongest carry a bigger load. I think this makes it worth it paying my tax and vat… :)
    I’m assuming that due to the connection to Denmark, the Faroese have adopted and stuck to roughly the same numbers as Denmark – just kept going with what was, when they were not autonomous?

    - I’ll come back later with more.

    • Furthermore: I have presented you, and the rest of the debaters with relevant links to articles, research and facts about the Faroe Islands – or at least the facts such as they are represented on the internet. It’s true that I have not written an insightfull letter about the conditions of the faroese, from a faroese point of view – simply because I can’t. I am danish – and when you’ve drawn Denmark into the debate, I’ve presented you with facts and insight about the Danish culture, Danish government, Danish communal and regional structure, and more. I can’t help it when you disregard that info, but you can’t say it has not been presented to you.

      I’m not trying to start a fight, but I feel grossly misrepresented in your initial reply to Jógvan. Just trying to correct some misunderstandings.

      • Nick, considering the fervor with which you declared those statements as facts, I feel you misrepresented a bit too. At the time, you were presenting these as solid refutations. Now all of the sudden you’re backpedaling and they’re all just “facts such as they are represented on the internet.”

        Feel free to continue in the CONSTRUCTIVE discussion… but please spare me the excuses. You were prolific to a fault in your responses, and now you’re saying you didn’t really know.

        Sincerely,

        JT

        • JT,
          I’m not backpedaling at all. I stand by my words all the way.
          I have made use of sources like wikipedia and IUCN – sources I find trustworthy and reliable. I’ve also used information about danish (and Faroe) relations, such as I have learned them as an observant, danish citizen in 40 years (minus my childhood years of course). Nothing I can’t back up or vouch for.
          What I am saying is: I may (or may not) have given the false impression, in the question about how the faroese depend on the pilot whales.

          EDITED for brevity and to stay on track

          It is human to make mistakes, and it is hard to keep track of everything in a debate such as this, so I’ll leave it at that. Will you do the same?

          Regards,
          Nick

          REPLY FROM JT: Nick, enough said. This is a separate discussion. In the other one, you were mostly there to defend the distinction between the Faroes and Denmark. In THIS discussion, we’re here for solutions, so let’s stay focused on that, ok? Thanks!

    • Do I put Faroe grind’s on par with American Industrial farms? No, not at all, but that also doesn’t mean I don’t think they are abhorrent. I appreciate the man talking about striving to kill the whales more humanely but if it’s still needs to be more humane in 2012 imagine what has been done to the whales for over “1,000 years!”

      I think part of what enrages people about grind’s, and American Industrial farms, are the fear and horror experienced by the animals. In the case of a grind you have a family of whales who spend their “entire lives together” being pulled “out of the water” and killed viciously right next to one another. Pregnent mothers have their babies cut out of their stomach. I heard many people try and pass this off that the look of the grind, the visual of the ocean soaked is blood makes it seem much more horrific than it actually is, but I think this is a cop out. What enrages people is the gang like slaughter of families of whales together.

      And in regard to food shortages? A B-12 pill a day is about all you’d need to replace what youd need from not eating whales and a balanced diet so give me a break. In this day and age with the advances in agriculture the need for a grind can not be dietary. It has to be for tradition and the fear of not doing it. I realize one culture can not tell another culture how to live, but they sure can try and make a culture re-examine their beliefs. Many of you talk about the horrors of the American Industrial Farms and I agree, and that’s why I don’t eat or wear animal products. But we too can say it might be time to re-examine this long tradition of the grind.

      Best, Josh

  2. Uttanumtos says:

    Sorry for the repetitive “by the way”-s. It’s quite late in the night and had a rather difficult day at work, it’s a little bit hard to concentrate.

  3. For Poul,

    The First Nations people from the small reserves of Grassy Narrows and White Dog. (Canada)… Although their fishing waters were industrially poisoned with mercury 5 decades ago and the water’s mercury levels have since normalized there are still new ,recent cases of Chronic Minamata Disease – which is (as per Dr. Harada ) a result of low-level mercury exposure.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2010/04/07/tor-grassy-narrows.html?ref=rss

    This is the trailer of a documentary that was made a couple of years ago about our peoples of Grassy Narrows – further into the vid you’ll see an example of Dr.Harada’s neurological testing on some victims…

    http://scarsofmercury.com/trailer/

    Regarding accumulated low level mercury poisoning that was discovered in Dr. Masazuki Harada’s research …

    http://scarsofmercury.com/

    “Is the safety guideline reliable? This documentary explores an issue of importance worldwide, when people are exposed to low-levels of mercury over an extended period of time. The residents of Wabaseemoong (Whitedog independent Nations) and Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinaabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation) communities have often been told their neurological symptoms are simply the result of substance abuse and diabetes.”

    Here is the english version of Dr. Harada’s report from 1975 to 2004 >

    http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/attachments/4659_Harada_report_2004_FINAL.pdf

    Because I am personally involved in petitioning support for First Nations issues here, I assume you can understand my sincere concerns for the health of all people who face the same “global problem” .

    (Thanx for your interest in our Indigenous peoples)

    PN

  4. JT,
    Thank you for your words, you describe what it feels to witness and see the kill exactly.
    These are family groups, they remember, they are smart and they feel emotions.
    I wonder what the faeroe people would think if one day a bigger homosapien came along and rounded up their familes and killed them all while they all watched.
    That’s the point that needs to get driven home.
    They feel exactly what we would in that case. The meat is toxic, its time to stop.
    Eco tourism could bring much much much more money to the islands than the meat. I hear there are health problems growing the way it is.
    I would love to come visit the islands someday, but I will not until the grind stops.

  5. John, I am still waiting for your info on the pilot whales intelligence…

    Meanwhile, take a look at this link http://www.suite101.com/content/the-intelligent-pig-a84448

    The way I understand what you are saying, you want us to stop eating meat from the pilot whale and import some other meat instead – is that correct understood?

    Have you read the link obout the pigs intelligence yet?
    For every single fully grown pilot whale that you save (app. 2.000 kg of food), 25-30 pigs will have to be slaughtered (app. 75 kg of food in each pig)

    Keep in mind, that the fully grown pilot whale has lived 30-50 years as a free animal in his own enviroment, while the 25-30 poor pigs only get to live 5½ monts in a crowded slaughterhouse when they cold blooded are being slaughtered – or shall I say murdered?

    Realizeing the fact that we have to choose one over the other, and with both animalsIs intelligence in mind, who do you think is better of ?

    How much pain do you thing 25-30 pigs feel and how red do you think the water on the beach would be, if all these pigs were murdered on the beack at the same time?

    Did you know, that in the USA alone, over one hundred million pigs are “murdered” every year?
    That is a loooooooooot of red blood, and so much pain that it is impossible to imagine anything that comes close!

    You really really really have to give some unbelivable fact about the pilot whales intelligence to justify your rescue mission.

    • Jens, we’ve decided to make your question its own separate Feature — The Case For Dolphins. The evidence is being gathered, the article is being written. Since we’re not paid over here, you’ll have to be a little patient.:)

      Pig intelligence isn’t new to me. It’s also not the same concept, not by half. A pig may be smarter than a dog… but does a pig, for example, work towards assisting her son in courtship competitions 20 years later? There’s quite a lot you’ll be very surprised by, when you read it.

      I don’t know that you need to make it a binary situation (“stop eating whale flesh and import some other meat instead.” We both know you don’t need the Grind flesh. There are more than a few who barely eat it, if at all.

      Don’t know where you got the notion that the fully grown pilot has (necessarily) lived 30-50 years free. They’re fully grown younger than that, and your people ARE killing pregnant mothers. If you release young babies without the rest of the pod, you’re just giving them a slow, lingering death instead.

      Stop trying to “Lawyer” (word-game) around this. We’re not talking about your choice to kill pigs, or chickens, or anything else but whales at this point. I also feel that what the US alone does is irrelevant to this discussion. Nice try, but please stick to the subject. LIke Ady, I and others work on that as well, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

      If I took you literally with this statement “You really really really have to give some unbelivable fact about the pilot whales intelligence to justify your rescue mission,” I could wonder if you aren’t just playing games. It IS believable, not “undbelievable”. The dolphins themselves “justify” this purpose. What’s both sad and amazing is that you live right by them, have the chance to see them playful (if you weren’t busy hunting and driving them,) and don’t bother to, or don’t see that there’s more there than a flesh plant, a cheap/free meal.

      With all the fishing your people do, you really don’t need to worry about killing more pigs, importing, etc. Please, don’t be insincere while we’re having these discussions.

      • I am looking forward to read it, and I am still serious when I say, that I will read it with an open mind. If I get convinced that the pilot whale is different from other animals, that are being killed for food, then I for one will stop eating the meat from it.

        But, if that happens, there are some other things that will have to change as well.
        You seem to think that this is a word game to me, but I can assure you that it is not. English is a foreign language to me, so I can easely imagine that some things I say can be misunderstood, but my intention is absolutely serious.
        If we stop eating the whalemeat, we have to replace it with something else. It is not acceptable to me, that you just say that we can live without it – and than nothing else….. That is not serious.
        I have been told, that in average we consume app. 700 ton of whalemeat every year, and of course we will have to decice what other animal meat we want to replace it with.

        Who are you to decide, that we have to eat fish seven days a week, when in your own country you eat pork, beek and chicken etc at least 6 days a week??

        If you want a result from your struggle in fighting for the whales, you have to do better than this.

        In a perfect world we would not kill any animals what so ever, we would only eat grass etc., but that is simply not the world that we live in now, therefore you must accept that we will have to replace meat for meat.

        • Jens, I don’t eat pork at all. My “country” has zero to do with it. In fact, since my father is European, you’re barking up the wrong tree entirely to be going at the national level of accusations.:)

          You also have sheep, goats, chicken, ducks, etc. I never said you had to eat fish 7 days a week. I myself eat very little animal flesh at all, and nobody would ever claim that I’m suffering from it. I’ve been careful to avoid the whole argument for vegetarianism, as that would be cramming the idea down your throats, and is a separate issue, in my opinion.

          I’m glad you promise to read and consider it with an open mind. There are good reasons why we here fight this, and it has NOTHING to do with money. Protect The Ocean LOSES money, costs time and money and energy out of our own pockets. For example, it’s now 4 am on an early Sunday morning, and I’m writing to reply to you, finally getting caught up on all of these posts. It’s no joy for me to be doing battle with hostile people that I don’t even know… but knowing first-hand what these creatures really are, I have no choice but to continue to come to their defense the best way I can.

  6. Bhawani Bhatnagar says:

    Dear John,

    I am one of those people who are deeply disturbed by the killing of dolphins in Faroe Islands. I had received this email about the killing of dolphins way back in 2006. As the incident had continually hovered in my mind, I was checking the web if anything has been done in this regards. I was happy to note about your group – Protect the Ocean. I am an ardent animal lover and I am very happy to note the discussions you are having with the people of Denmark as changing the mindset is a vital step if any improvement needs to be done. I would like to know from you if the efforts of your group made any changes to the situation? Has the number of dolphin declined in recent years?? Any update in this regards will be highly appreciated.

    Sincerely

    Bhawani Bhatnagar

    • What things have changed? well that highly depends on what info was in the email you received, I’m happy to answer any question you might have.
      But please don’t call us Danish, that’s one of the worst things you can call someone from the Faroes :P

    • JENS AND Bhawani:

      Normally, I would just reply, but this misinformation is severe enough that I’m including it in the text.

      Jens wrote:

      Bhawani:

      1. Pilot whales – not dolphins!

      ED: Uhm, no. For the thousandth time, they are MIS-named as “whales”. They are in fact the second largest species of dolphin, next to the orca, which is also a DOLPHIN, not a whale. There are important differences between dolphins and whales that must not be dismissed. You need only have looked as far as Google or Wikipedia to find this out. Jens, if you’re misinformed about this basic distinction and you’re participating in the Grind, imagine how misinformed you may be about other important distinctions. I think the article we’re putting together on them will be a real eye-opener. – JT

      2. Faroe Islands – not Denmark!

      ED: That argument is getting a bit tired. Whether you like it or not, the two countries ARE associated, and one is essentially a colony of the other. The US Virgin Islands, P.Rico and Guam (and previously, Hawaii) may not be the same as the U.S., but the U.S. DOES have a say in what goes on there, both politically and financially. You conveniently like to separate yourselves from each other, but it’s not simple charity that has Denmark providing the Faroe Islands with scores of millions of dollars each year, nor is it coincidence that Faroese are allowed to have seats in Denmark’s government. Denmark also provides the Faroe islands with their military/naval support and defense, without which Sea Shepherd and others would have been able to be much more aggressively persuasive… so please stop trying to use word games, lest you begin to act like the Japanese in calling your hunts “Research.” — JT

      • Nick the dane Jensen says:

        Faroe Islands – not Denmark indeed.

        “As of the referendum in 1946, no danish law can be passed that has any impact on the Faroe Islands, unless the faroese parliament recognises it as well and it gets enough votes to be implemented. The only exceptions to this are military defence, international sovereign representation (like the EU, UN and Olympic Comittee) and police force.”

        Faroe Islands were given autonomy and therein the right to self-govern. If Denmark could just revoke that right, it would be contradictory to everything that right stands for. And as such, the referendum prevents this kind of interference.
        Now I realise that it would be convenient for PTO if it was only as you describe it, JT – but even the Faroese are protected by constitutional laws. There’s really no denying it.

        I’m sorry that we have to go into this again, as it is not constructive, nor the purpose of this thread. But trying to put pressure on the danish government, will most likely just get you another “talk-to-the-faroese-government-letter” and a bit of frowning from the danish politicians you approach. And what if events turned out like you want them to, and Faroe Islands gets “cut loose” which, as I understand it, the majority of the Faroese want – and as a consequence loose the economical aid from Denmark? What will you “bargain” with then? What kind of pressure will you apply? You speak of a more active presence on the Faroe Islands, but how will that lead to anything but violence between protesters and the faroese residents?

        I still believe that helping the faroese with whatever ressources they in their own oppinion need, will ease and push forward the transition into a total stop of whale killing.

        • Nick, we don’t have to go into it again. You really do like hearing the sound of your own keyboard clatter, don’t you? Honestly, I’m fatigued of taking the time and energy to answer you. I recognized the distinctions long ago, but don’t entirely accept it. Both sides conveniently claim that it’s up to the other. Meanwhile, both are in fact in bed together. So spare me.

          And while we’re at it, put a sock in the “it would be convenient for PTO if it was only as you describe” bit too. It’s not convenient or inconvenient. There are ties there. Stop trying to claim that they don’t exist. You don’t see me drawing associations between the FI and the EU, or between the FI and Scotland, do you? That’s because in those cases there is none. In THIS case, there is. Now if you don’t mind, you’ve had your say, I’ve had mine. If you insist on ranting on this any further, get your own soap box to do it from. You’ve more than had your say on the subject over the months.

          While we’re at it, stop with the negative presumptions. We offered to provide the Faroe Islands’ people with food to replace that lost by the Grind, but the offer was refused. How much more peaceful than that could the negotiations possibly be?

          • Nick the dane Jensen says:

            JT said:
            Nick, we don’t have to go into it again. You really do like hearing the sound of your own keyboard clatter, don’t you? Honestly, I’m fatigued of taking the time and energy to answer you. I recognized the distinctions long ago, but don’t entirely accept it. Both sides conveniently claim that it’s up to the other. Meanwhile, both are in fact in bed together. So spare me.

            Reply (Nick):
            Apparently we DO need to go into it again – it’s not my choice, it is yours. Why? Because you refuse to accept that there are political treaties which prevent interference from Denmark in these Faroe matters. It is not just a matter of convenience or lack of will to make a difference. It is a written contract between the faroese and danish governments.
            Your comparisons with USA and Guam and other territories under US jurisdiction are only valid if you know the exact content of the various treaties with those territories, and the treaty between Denmark and FI, and if they were actually the same. Which they are not just by reviewing the general outlines. Remarkably enough, you have 3 different people with different, but qualified background, who tell you the undisputeable facts, and you still dismiss them, or their validity. Denmark can no more interfere with Faroe internal politics, than they can with German or Russian internal politics. Such an act would be viewed as an aggression. None of us are saying that there are no ties – on the contrary. But we are oulining EXACTLY which ties.
            It has nothing to do with me loving the sound of my keyboard clatter – I am engaged in a debate, and I participate with enthusiasm – just like yourself, and many others in here.
            The faroese do not claim the solution/responsibility to be up to Denmark – it is only true the other way around.
            I DO however respect the notion, that you cannot accept that things are the way they are.

            JT said:
            And while we’re at it, put a sock in the “it would be convenient for PTO if it was only as you describe” bit too. It’s not convenient or inconvenient. There are ties there. Stop trying to claim that they don’t exist. You don’t see me drawing associations between the FI and the EU, or between the FI and Scotland, do you? That’s because in those cases there is none. In THIS case, there is. Now if you don’t mind, you’ve had your say, I’ve had mine. If you insist on ranting on this any further, get your own soap box to do it from. You’ve more than had your say on the subject over the months.

            Reply (Nick):
            I’m using the convenience thing because it seems to me, that you’re building your “case” against the FI partly on incorrect information, which makes you come out a bit untrustworthy. It is NOT to dispute the fact that political ties between Denmark and FI exist. But we do need to specify and clarify to which degree these ties are in effect.

            JT Said:
            While we’re at it, stop with the negative presumptions. We offered to provide the Faroe Islands’ people with food to replace that lost by the Grind, but the offer was refused. How much more peaceful than that could the negotiations possibly be?

            Reply (Nick):
            This part is however very interresting, and this I would like to hear more about in detail. For instance – can you be a little more specific about the nature of this offer?
            How was it presented (officially to the Faroe government)? What was the arrangement supposed to be? Food of your choice in a quantity equivalent to the grind catch? How was it to be administered? Were the faroese to pay for the shipment themselves or was that a part of the offer as well? For what kind of time frame would you continue to provide this solution – i.e. was it set to run over e period of say 5 years, with a decreasing contribution each year?
            - I realise those are many questions to answer, but as I see it, they are important to estimate the seriousness of the offer made.

            Lets say that one adult eats about 3 pounds of meat a week. In Denmark that would amount to (by danish standards and economy) 150 dkkr (30 US$)- medium grade meat (no expensive steaks). Times 52 and 15 percent of that is 234 US$ yearly per person – not a whole lot (could easily be more though – but lets say we’ve accounted for kids in the population also). Times population 15.000 (even if some don’t eat grind) comes close to 3 and a half million US$. Did you actually have a plan to supply other meat/food in that economical capacity? Even if it was just a third of that – a million US$ is stil a lot. And that’s still in danish prices – Faroe prices might be as much as 15% higher.
            If you did actually present an offer of this magnitude, with a 5 (or 10) year plan to phase out the grind from the faroese diet, and if the food you could offer in return would be of a desireable sort and quality to the Faroese people, I find it hard to believe the faroese would not accept it (or at least negotiate the terms untill a proper compromise was reached).

            - I realise my figures are not accurate, but I would still suspect figures in the millions to be expected. I also realise that food in say USA would be priced way cheaper compared to FI prices, and thus you’d get more “bang for the buck”, and as such the annual “bill” for this offer would be a lot less.

            Maybe Jógvan could shed some light on why this offer was refused – from a faroese perspective anyways?

          • Nick, I’m not answering you any more. It’s not that I am unable. It’s that you’re not even Faroese yourself, I’ve already spent a LOT of time on/with you over the past several months, and I really do have a life to take care of, a living to make, etc. Besides, you don’t bother to read all that’s here before asking me to reiterate for your benefit. You may enjoy the debate as a mental exercise, but to me this is far more important, and I don’t want to spend my energies addressing you as well as the others who DO have a horse in the race, per se. Good luck to you.

          • If you dont want to answer Nick beacuse he is not faroese, then please answer me the same question – I am faroese and I really thing Nicks questions were very interesting.
            Is there an answer, or it it just smoke?

          • Not smoke, just that Nick likes to debate, often for its own sake. He has been writing these long tirades for months now, and I’m frankly just fed up of dealing with him and his presumptions of entitlement. I owe him less than nothing. Yet he had the nerve to write the Board of PTO to “tell” on me, when I’m the one who founded Protect The Ocean in the first place. Some of you may think that “we” activists are just attacking you. Well guess what? We’re also WORKING on problems that affect the ocean and planet all over the globe. Last summer, PTO was ahead of everyone else by a month in warning of the dangers of Corexit in the Gulf and why BP was using it. So you see, I’m a little busy — too busy to entertain longwinded arguments with everyone who thinks that I should answer them to their satisfaction. I thought it was pretty clear from what I wrote to him, but frankly, Jens, you’re pretty pushy yourself.

            I don’t make my living doing this. This is what I do when I’m not working, and all too often instead of work that actually pays the bills and feeds me. I do it because I’m able to and because it needs to be done. The Corexit of last summer will affect you and yours up in the Faroe Islands as well, so maybe a bit of respect and appreciation is in order. Maybe you guys should keep that in mind before you become so demanding and rude in how some of you act in what is still effectively someone else’s living room.

      • JENS:

        John, you are way off here…
        Your need to have all the correct answers to all of the questions is one of the reasons, that we have a hard time taking you and other activists seriously. That is also why you normaly are called “enviromental terrorists”.

        JT: No one has EVER called me an “environmental terrorist.” Even when I was doing direct intervention, it was always non-violent. Nothing at all normal about the use of the term, sir. Nothing at all.

        JENS: Yes, the pilot whale is part of the oceanic dolphin family, but so are 35 other species – including the killer whale!!

        JT: Yep, and they all have traits in common (and some differences) but are in several ways vastly different from true whales. I believe I’ve already addressed the whole “killer whale” nonsense in another post. Thank for acknowledging that they are dolphins.

        JENS: The Faroe Island is a member of the Danish Kingdom, but we are NOT Denmark. You can not compare us with a state in the USA, more like a member of the brittich commonwealth – wich includes 54 sovereign states, including Canada, Australia og New Zeland.
        We are a part of Denmark, but the Danish goverment has no influence what so ever, how we define our way of life.

        JT: I am not comparing the Faroe Islands to a state within the U.S. The Virgin Islands, P. Rico, Guam, etc., are territories, just as the Faroes are a territory of Denmark.

        JENS: You insult me if you think tha we hide behind the excuse of research. We kill the whales becsuse they are a part of our diet, and that´s it!! There is no bullshit here.

        JT: I don’t say you hide behind “research”, though I may have drawn parallel to the lack of validity of the excuse.

        JENS: Instead of judgeing us on the basis of what you think you know, I would recomend that you read Ady Gils article after he left our country – http://new.vagaportal.fo/pages/posts/ady-gil-foroyingar-eru-blidasta-folk-i-heiminum-8210.php

        This is a man I really do respect, even though he will never in his life accept that we kill whales for food.

        JT: Uhm, I’ve read it. Ady and I are friends. Moreover, I’m not “JUDGING” you, or your people, except by your own statements and actions. I don’t expect you to know that, but I would prefer if YOU didn’t make assumptions.:)

      • By the way, I am not the same Jens that Ady Gil mentions in his article!

        If you take his advice to visit our country you shall be most welcome to contct me. If you need any help while you are here, I will do what ever I can to assist you.
        You already have my e-mail.

      • Uttanumtos says:

        ” DOES have a say in what goes on there, both politically and financially. You conveniently like to separate yourselves from each other, but it’s not simple charity that has Denmark providing the Faroe Islands with scores of millions of dollars each year, nor is it coincidence that Faroese are allowed to have seats in Denmark’s government.”

        I am sorry, Denmark has absolutely NO SAY in what goes here, neither politically, socially or financially. The only say they have is in regards to the emigration, adoptions and defence. The millions you keep on hanging on are partially paid for the institutions they don’t want to give up, like the court or police. Maybe you should also mention the millions Faroese people pay TO Denmark, as the result of the financially abuse performed by the Danish when they “saved” Faroe Islands from the economical crah of the ’90′s. Millions that are, conveninetly, never mentioned.

        And for your information: Faroe Islands has also a Faroese coast guard ship and one which is actually very modern, so it’s not only Denmark who defends the country. And Faroe Islands IS NOT Denmark – there is no wordgame in that. It is not even a “colony”, because a colony implies foreign gouvern, foreign politics and this isn’t the case. It is a self gouvernated autonomus region. Stop trying to imply the opposite, you don’t win anything insulting everybody.

        As per the pilot whales, as much as I know there is an entire controversy among the biologysts. Some consider them dolphins, like you, some whales. So everybody is entitled to use both of the names. At least till your people will agree.

        JT: Uhm, nope, there is ZERO controversy on the subject. They are dolphins, clearly so, by anatomical features, behaviors, etc. Orcas aren’t actually “killer whales” either. It just makes for a more sensational phrasing to say “Come pay money to see the trained KILLER WHALE!” See my previous comments for the rest.

      • JT, you just don’t want to get it, do you?

        1: Your use of ‘dolphin’ as a countermeasure for our insisting on specifying our grind to the species Pilot Whale, which is its name (or Globicephala’s if you insist on being specific), is getting tiresome, and I must wonder if you don’t repeat this for comparative effect only.
        They are named in english ‘Pilot Whales’. We call them whales in our language, we don’t call them dolphins. If they belong to the dolphin family or not is irrelevant to us. We don’t hunt dolphins. We hunt Pilot Whales.

        JT: If you think it’s tiresome to see me pointing out the very relevant differences, imagine how fed up I am of having to remind you cheeky sods that you’re conveniently calling it by an inaccurate term. You call them Whales because that elicits less sympathy than calling them dolphins as they rightfully are. They are MISNAMED in english, and the difference is important. Below is a picture of 11 pilot DOLPHINS, what you slaughter. They’re not dead, just beached… and the people in New Zealand were ecstatic to have been able to refloat them and save their lives. (The most certainly don’t do all of that so you can kill them later!)
        11 Pilot

        Meanwhile, your use of the term Whale conjures up images such as the one below:
        Depiction of Moby Dick

        Clearly, it’s a more favorable impression on you to call them whales. Fact is, killing either a dolphin or the much larger, much more alien-appearing “whale” are equally despicable.

        2: We are Faroese. Calling us danes is an insult, and is only getting us mad at you. Yes, our two countries are associated, but we are no longer a colony, read up on the history of these two countries before lecturing us on our own national status. If the basis for national identity is based on the level of outside influence, then there is hardly a country on earth that can call itself by its own name. Denmark does provide us with naval and military support, but only as long as we want it. The next time you decide to come here, it could just as easily be the Norwegian fleet patroling our seas. Denmark does pay us for the local departments of the danish governmental jurisdiction, but only as long as we want them to. It is not charity but payment for danish interests and offices on our islands. Yes, we have two seats in the danish parliament, along with two mp’s from Greenland, but we do not involve ourselves with danish politics (nor are we expected to), only those that affect our own geographical areas. The danish parliament has no judicial say in the running of the Faroe Islands, neither politically nor financially. It was not the danish fleet that kicked Watson’s ass, the last time he was here. They escorted him out of our waters, after the faroese had gotten him to tuck tail and run away. It was Faroese men, who boarded his vessels and arrested his crewmen for their illegal activities. Had it been up to the Faroese, then he would not have gotten away that easily. He therefore needed their help in escaping from his own mess.

        JT: I’ve heard these protestations for months. Frankly, if I had it to do over again, I’d have taken Denmark up for their continued support of the Faroe Islands separately, if only to keep you and the Danes from whining so much. But I haven’t EVER used the two nations interchangeably (though some readers have done so.) I’ve always been aware of the distinctions. I’m also aware that you BOTH overplay that distinction very conveniently. To admit you have two seats in Danish parliament, and then say you don’t involve yourselves in their politics is an oxymoron. I have zero love for Paul Watson, so don’t even bring him into the discussion, okay?

        I’ll repeat my previous advice to you.
        If you wish to come here to educate our young on your views of whaling, then you are welcome. If you come here to insist on us stopping our whaling practices, especially if it turns violent or illegal by our standards in any way, you’ll be denied access to our minds, and you and your likeminded will be forever denied any possibility to influence us and the way we choose to live our lives. Your actions this summer will once and for all show the world if you are doing this for the whales or for publicity and money.

        JT: For someone who is so quick to claim convenient distinctions, Jogvan, you certainly do seem to enjoy lumping people and organizations together when it suits you. Protect The Ocean is not (at all) Sea Shepherd or Paul Watson, nor is it ECO, Pete Bethune or Ady Gil (though I may personally agree with them on many things.)

        I appreciate the invitation to come and educate your young (and old) on the realities. Of course we would be coming to stop the killings. That’s the subtext of all of these discussions, from both sides. Your last sentence is another convenient piece of illogic. Whatever actions people or organizations take this summer will certainly NOT reveal motivations, nor would that be “once and for all.” Please lay off the hyperbole if you want to be taken seriously.

        I appreciate honest dialogue. I DON’T appreciate the word games. Please write honestly and with candor. Don’t try to choose words that have associations and connotations convenient to your position. I write for a living, so I recognize them immediately. Being forthright will do far more for both sides, and keep us on good terms with each other. Concepts like “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” don’t go over as well:)

        JT

        • John, for a man who claims to be highly educated and writes for a living, you don’t seem to research the targets of your convictions very deeply.

          In the Faroese language, the pilot whales have been named ‘whales’ for around a thousand (1.000) years or more. Accusing us of using this ancient name just for convenience says a lot about how little you understand not only our practise of localiced whaling but also the way we speak and write. We speak our minds, in the clearest terms we can think of in the moment.
          We, the current generations of Faroese, are the end result of more than a thousand years of traditions, cultural development and eating the foods provided by nature. I certainly don’t expect you to understand this, as you have not given the impression of having a thight bond with your native country.
          We are proud of our heritage and traditions. Most Faroese know their ancestry for several generations back. I have records of mine as far back as the 14th century, and I know several people who know their ancestry a couple of hundred years further back. Our fathers and grandfathers teach us the traditions of our country, and also teach us to respect the animals we kill. We all know ancient ballads dating from the Viking era by heart, amongst other things. But we are still in front of many european countries when it comes to music and fashions. This is the way we have shaped our lives. We live in a country where there is hardly no crime. A place where people don’t lock their doors when they leave for work. In our minds, we live in the last real paradise on Earth.
          We consider it our duty to ensure that no animal suffers needlesly or for a period of time any longer than absolutely necessary, before it dies. We see absolutely no distinction between the animals we eat, other than taste, as they all live free in the wild. Only difference is on land, where we have fenced the sheep, so they don’t wander to far of. But even then, they have an abundance of space to wander around in. We abhor the living-conditions and treatment that industrialized nations have for their livestock. But we still kill all of these animals for food, and see nothing wrong in doing so, as long as it is done as quickly and painless as possible. In our eyes, it is you and your fellow eco’ists that are delusioned and have no understanding of life on our planet. On the issue of whaling in our nation, our views set against yours are as white vs. black or day vs. night.

          As for lumping you all together, we most certainly do. You all represent the same conviction, that we see as a direct attack on our country and way of life. The only difference will be, if you act as Pete and Ady, when they where here, which means we will tolerate you and talk to you as we would anyone else, or if you’ll act as Watson and Sea Shepherd, in which case we will consider all of you as terrorists, and respond accordingly. It really is that blatantly simple in our eyes. If any activists act violently here, then we will view it as a terrorist action on our soil, and respond accordingly. Even now, before any of you have arrived here, most people are considering what actions to take against you, if you turn to violence or public dissorder. Currently, shown by some of the latest polls taken, you face the opposition of 95% of our population, that simply want to turn your lot around at the customs gates. If it turns violent, it will become 100% of our population that support your removal from our country.

          I’ll accept to forego the discussion on our ties to Denmark, if you’ll stop using it in your argumentation, as it’s clear to me, that you don’t understand our political systems.

          • Jogvan,

            I’m getting really fed up of the personal attacks. How about you put yourself up for personal scrutiny and I tear into you?

            You’ve used this excuse endlessly, that it’s a thousand years of traditions. But you are not your ancestors. You managed to adapt to cell phones, televisions, power boats, GPS, cars, etc. just fine. So now you can adapt to a more mature perspective of your role on this planet.

            Your word choices are in ENGLISH, not your old tongue. Spare me the BS. Even when corrected, some of your countrymen tried to tell me I was wrong, or suggest that it’s in question. Pathetic, really.

            You yourselves have said that some years you have no Grind, or a small one. KILLING CETACEANS IS NOT FOUNDATIONAL, NOT A CORE OF YOUR EXISTENCE, NOR OF YOUR “WAY OF LIFE.” The excuses are think at best. The rest of your bragging about no crime, etc., is entirely irrelevant. So you’re peaceful towards each other but barbaric towards other sentient, sapient beings who are unfortunate enough to swim near your little “paradise”? What you call Paradise, by your own statements, is hell for an existence. Your SOCIETY may be crime-free, but that’s entirely separate of your many complaints about wind, weather, soil, etc.

            I’m fed up of you and your justifications and excuses. Your countryman, Jens, says he’ll listen with an open mind, while already pre-determining that whatever we would provide would “have to be unbelievable”, which is either an oxymoron o r a Catch-22, and in any case demonstrates that you don’t WANT to accept that you’re killing more than a clever fish.

            What you miss is that the vast majority of the planet sees YOU as the perpetrators of violence, the initiators of force. YOU attack cetaceans with lethal force… and so we feel the need to come to their defense. I’ve written this before, and you refuse to even address it. You just claim we have “no understanding of life on our planet.”

            Since you insist on telling us all about what we do or don’t understand… do you realize you’re telling biologists, scientists, that they don’t understand life on this planet? Do you realize that you’re telling a falconer of 40 years that he doesn’t understand predation? Do you recognize that you’re telling people who have spent years in the peaceful company of these beings that we don’t know what we’re talking about, while the only real encounters you have had with them have been while you were trying to hunt them and end their lives?

            While I’m enlightening you, my ancestors were in Armenia for at least 4,000 years, more likely closer to 6,000 years. I think I understand a bit about culture. I also understand a bit about slaughter, and genocide, and barbarians who treat other sentient, sapient beings as lesser creatures, who abuse and kill those beings because it is expedient, convenient, and to get what they want from them. Let me ask you something: What makes you so much more important than any other human or person, that you can end their lives just for a certain taste? Yet you cry to the heavens about possible “violence or public disorder.” How do you define “public disorder”? Is that any expression of disagreement with your killings?

            I am fully prepared to demonstrate, to prove that you have failed in your duty, that the cetaceans are NOT truly dead in 3-6 seconds, as you claim.

            If you will only “tolerate” us while we do not object to your killings, then you aren’t actually willing to do anything but take our money as tourists. If you’ll actually LISTEN, then that may be something different. Watson is not a friend of mine, nor do I much care for him. But if you try to get all pushy about it, make 3-mile limits for everyone’s presence, turn everyone around at the customs gate, as you say, you will be giving honest, caring people little choice but to protect those cetaceans in other ways. You are a nation of 50,000. It would take very little for Europe to devastate your economy. So you must also have a care that you employ diplomacy, that you are listening, LEARNING, and changing accordingly too.

            It is not in the best interest of your people that you continue killing cetaceans. It is not healthy, and it brings harsh scrutiny upon your nation — scrutiny that could easily become a significant economic and political loss to your country. Ady, Pete, and myself, unlike Watson, have come to this matter with you, speaking with you far more politely and respectfully than you would, if you saw the cetaceans you’re killing in the way that we do. I would appreciate it if you were to extend me a bit more respect than you’ve been demonstrating lately. Avoid the personal insults and attacks, stick to the subject, and be honestly open and willing to work with us to find solutions for your people that do not include continuing to kill cetaceans. We far prefer win-win solutions, because you are our brothers and sisters, as are the cetaceans.

  7. @Poul,

    No, I’m not a member of Grassy Narrows or White Dog. I’m not native but I do have a close family member and extended family who are status Indigenous peoples though, who are concerned about the quality of their drinking water and the food that they hunt. Toxins in waterways or wild meat has recently become a huge issue with many First Nations here and even internationally through organizations that First Nations are member to, like the ICC ( Inuit Circumpolar Council ).

    Big Problem in the Arctic too..

    Take Care,

    PN

  8. John, I think that it is actually very sad that you are so stubbern here. Debate is always a better approach than war, but you ruin the debate when you just reject everything that anyone alse has to say, as being total bullshit.
    We disagree with you! Is that a surprice to you? Come on, grow up…

    Like I have said from the beginning, if there is any reason to think that the pilotwhale is too intelligent to be concidered human food, than edjucate me on that – and stop the rest of your BS.

    One day very soon, we will stop killing whales and eating whalemeat. Not because you made us stop, this approach actually prolongens the process, but becase the meat is so polluted that it is dangerus to eat. This is just a fact that none of us can do anything about anymore, the whales will be saved from our dinnerplates but wil from pollution instead.

    Well, you may think that you have all the answers and that we are unedjucated, but let me tell you this:
    I would much rather be jugded by GOD for killing animals for fod, than killing people for oil and money!
    You really need to clean up the mess in your own front yard, before you start lectureing me on hwat is right and wrong.

    The way I see it, there are two things you should do differently:
    1. Focus on the moneymaking indstries, including the ones in your own country, and force them to stop polluting the oceans – that would be the best thing you could do for the animals that live in it.

    2. Instead of using all your energy on saving whales that already are doomed, start saving people instead. I would be very much ashamed to live in a country that has so much death and destruction as your own. Not only do you gass, electocute and poison your own citisens, you also terrorise the rest of the world with your “freedom” wars.

    This is over and out for me in this forum, it started very posetive but ended with a crash, simply because you really dont have any intention to have a serious debate, you just want a place where you can point your finger at us and say shame on you.

    • Jens,

      I think that’s the most cowardly cop-out I have heard yet. You are “out” because I don’t jump to produce the answers you want immediately? THIS from the guy who claims a thousand year old “tradition”? I’m so sorry that I haven’t stopped my world to give you the answers you CLAIM to seek fast enough. (As I told you, we’re putting together a piece that gives you that information, but we don’t get paid for this, so you’ll just have to wait.)

      If you REALLY wanted to know (weren’t just wasting my time by making me jump through hoops for you, so you can then call the facts “unbelievable,”) you could find scores of information and proof right there with your Internet connection and Google.

      *I* am stubborn? THE WHOLE PLANET DISAGREES WITH YOU KILLING CETACEANS, yet you and yours insist on doing so anyway. Everyone is wrong but your little island nation. We are the ones who don’t get it.

      I’m not about to honor the rest of your rant against the U.S. with a reply. It has NOTHING to do with the subject. (What will you say when you find out that I’m not even a U.S. citizen? THEN what will happen to your little rant?

      I don’t kill anyone for money or oil. But you DO kill cetaceans, when you have other food available to you.

      I’ll end this with a quote from you. Take a really good, long look in the mirror: “This is over and out for me in this forum, it started very posetive but ended with a crash, simply because you really dont have any intention to have a serious debate, you just want a place where you can point your finger at us and say shame on you.”

      It’s YOU who was never sincere about learning the truth about the creatures you kill, and YOU who rants for half a page about the U.S. and me personally, and all the rest of your made-up excuses not to look at what YOU DO WITH YOUR VERY OWN HANDS.

      For the record, I was outspokenly opposed to what both of the Bushes did. I have been taking big companies to task for their polluting for decades, while you sat on your ass waiting to kill another dolphin. So don’t you DARE lecture me about what I did or didn’t do, should or shouldn’t do, when you yourself do NOTHING about any of the problems in the world.

      You can run away like a little schoolgirl who didn’t get her way if you want to. Or you can be a man and own up to the responsibilities for what you yourself and your countrymen do with your very own hands. I don’t expect you to be able to handle the responsibility for your sins. Knew you weren’t seriously going to consider any of the facts from the beginning, when you had to add all those negative caveats to your claim that you would listen. It is indeed sad.

      When I was in my early 20′s, I realized that making a living off of keeping them in captivity was wrong. I stopped doing it then, because it was wrong. That took food off of my table, all the money from my pocket. I had to find another job… but I did so. Your choice is far more easy. All you have to do is choose another food, as some of your countrymen already do. But you’re too much of a coward to even examine the facts and admit you’ve been wrong. Don’t lecture me. Grow up, indeed, and take responsibility for your wrongdoings, and stop doing it.

      JT

      • I think that the open and receptive Faroese and Danish participants left because of how hostile you (JT) were from the get-go.

        ED: They didn’t “left”. I closed the discussion when, after 2 months, the back & forth had become circular and the discussion had run its course.

        It is sad that intelligent creatures die in fear. It happens every second of every day in America, and without the connection or respect that the Faroese have for their environment. I think that’s why you’re attacking foreign nations regarding their policies. Not because of the foreign nations, but to take your tired eyes away from the atrocities that are constantly escalating in America. Considerate, compassionate people are so marginalized there – the weight of seeing other’s pain and the oblivion of the masses towards it is deeply disheartening and spiritually oppressive. Especially if you are an active advocate for animal rights – focusing on a world of harm will outweigh your perception of the good and moderate things in the world.

        How can humanity be the way it is? Are we not better than this? But how does getting angry at foreigners help? It only makes them close their minds to you if you are aggressive. How can we come together and be better than this? All I know, and as we can see from the world around us, is that focusing on pointing fingers and inviting more anger and hate between one another will never work.

        ED: I eat vegan, and am obviously strongly opposed to factory farming or killing of ANY creature. That said, there is a recognizable difference between a sentient, SAPIENT, sovereign marine species and a domestic cow. That you lump them together shows how little you truly see and understand of the nature of the cetaceans.

  9. I have been very sincere in wanting to have a discussion (and hopefully subsequent action) on constructive solutions to the situation in the Faeroe Islands. We had been told that the people of the Faeroe Islands needed the food. They told us of how their soil doesn’t grow, how it’s too harsh a winter, etc. But what we see is that their average winter temps are above freezing (because they are protected by harsher extremes from the ocean.) Their lands are covered in greens, so there is ample moisture, nutrition and sunlight for select crops. The complaints that greenhouses wouldn’t withstand the winds don’t hold up to scrutiny, either, and the Faeroese never even got to some of our progressive suggestions about ways to build the greenhouses partway into the soil, etc. to lower the costs of running them. They tried a chicken farm (or was it eggs? They were never quite certain.) After it failed, most likely due to poor management, they threw up their hands, saying that they “had” to import these things from Denmark (whom they claim to have no real ties with, when it’s convenient to say so,) because somehow it’s supposedly less expensive for Denmark to grow chickens and produce eggs — AT the same northern climates — AND to import those perishable goods all that distance. In the summary, it has been one excuse after another. The productive discussions about solutions ended when we were told that the Faeroese really don’t need the flesh of cetaceans to survive. Then when they were offered other foods in exchange for stopping the killing, it turned to being a matter of pride, autonomy, and some other macho egotistical crap that makes poor excuse for killing fellow sentient, sapient beings.

    In the overall, the Faeroese don’t want a solution. They aren’t willing to change their ways because they’re wrong, and they won’t recognize that they’re killing a being that deserves to be left unmolested in the oceans. Even though the huge majority of the world prohibits such slaughter, these people from the Faeroe Islands claim that WE are the ones who are out of touch, don’t know, don’t understand. Right.

    The offers to come to their country, teach the truth to their school children? I won’t call them liars, but I DO challenge them to be good to their word. Somehow, I doubt they will actually do so. Then they’d have to face the truth of what they do with their own hands.

    As I write this, the EU considers embargoes against them and their commercial fishing. Here again, they claim the limits are unfair and unrealistic. Once again, everyone is wrong, they are right. The EU wouldn’t be considering this, cutting off their own supply of fish, if they didn’t already realize that the harvest is unsustainable.

    We came to the table hoping to provide win-win situations. What we found, though phrased as reasonable response, was an inflexible and irrational holding to the slaughter of these amazing beings. The Faeroese people who joined us in these discussions wanted nothing to do with considering that they might be wrong, nor did they want to look at constructive solutions. At every turn, those solutions were summarily rejected. And so, I’m ending this “discussion” with the conclusion that the people of the Faeroe Islands don’t need to kill cetaceans to survive. They just want to do so. Perhaps it’s as someone else suggested, that they don’t have violent crimes in their country because they get out their bloodlust on the innocent dolphins instead. Or maybe that statistic isn’t true either.

    Regardless, it seems pointless to try to continue to have a CONSTRUCTIVE dialogue with these people when they don’t come to the discussion in good faith, looking for ways that they and the dolphins (“Pilot whales”) can coexist at their shores in peace. If new comments come to light that show something different, other Faeroe Island people who are open to the truth of what they’re doing and sincerely interested in working with the rest of the world to find win-win solutions, we may open this subject again. For now, comments are closed; you can leave them, but unless there is something different coming from it, they will not be published.

    Thank you for visiting. Check back in about a week for the “The Case For Cetaceans,” which will provide the facts that Jens and others claimed they would consider. It’s sure to be an eye-opener for everyone, dolphin and whale lovers and cetacean killers alike.

  10. EPILOGUE:

    http://en.mercopress.com/2010/09/16/activists-show-evidence-of-whale-meat-trade-in-the-faroe-islands

    It would seem our Faeroe Island visitors were a bit less than forthright and honest about a few things. Behold! They’re selling Grind flesh for money — 40-50 euros per plate AT RESTAURANTS, and they’re buying Minke whale flesh from Norway at $15-18 USD per pound. Dirty business… and now we have the smoking gun. Tradition? Yeah, right. Tradition at 40 euros a serving!

  11. I’d like to suggest a great new e-book about the relationship between humans and dolphins – http://amzn.to/fYqjgW

  12. Hemlock says:

    Hopefully the People that participate in the “grind” will continue to eat the toxic dolphin flesh and die off. Then we will be rid of these barbarians.

  13. PhilBee says:

    1. I am completely against this senseless massacre.
    2. I am also against knee-jerk reactions that spread like wildfire through the Internet, without due care.

    Don’t misunderstand me – I am very much against this outdated custom. But I warn those who attempt to change the Faroese mindset: it’s a total waste of time swearing and cursing etc. You need a considered approach, perhaps offering solutions, showing a mature understanding of their situation (not AGREEING with them – just being aware of their traditions and thinking). Generate a global groundswell with reason, clarity, purpose, calmness.
    Write to the Faroes Government, NOT the Danish one (it’s not the Danes’ issue, it’s the Faroes’ killings). Aggression will only run off their backs and entrench their behaviour (they are after all descended from Vikings!!).
    Good luck…

    PhilBee, NZ

  14. It’s said that we are the most intelligent species on earth. It means that we are able to come up with creative solutions. But all we can think off is “slaughter”. Slaughter life (women, kids, fellow men, animals) for nothing else in return than money (power). Life has nothing to do with survival at all. It comes back to one universal law: when you honor yourself, you honor life. When you honor life, life will honor you! I am dutch. We have slaughtered an amazing amount of people when we were about to loose our Indonesian colony. So we are not better than the Faroe Islands people. We are recklessly destroying our own habitat. Year after year, after year. This is what we have to understand. There is an industry who is manipulating us to kill and over consume. The current economy fall and therefor the shift will correct this. But Faroe people please, stop your slaughter now. Give us a positive impulse. As there is a seed of self destruction in your deeds and sooner or later you have to pay the bill.

    • Graeme Bregani says:

      Thank you, Glenn.
      We are doing similar things here in Canada. Somehow our ‘civilizations’ seem to have forgotten to honour life.
      I sense the seeds of our own destruction are being sown. Our people are being deceived.

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