States asked to condemn ‘barbaric slaughter’ of sea mammals in Faroes

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CONDEMNING dolphin killings in the Faroe Islands could encourage the Danish territory’s trading partners to reconsider business agreements and help end the ‘barbaric’ practice, according to a former Economic Development Minister.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham has lodged a proposition asking the States Assembly to condemn the Faroe Islands’ government’s annual ‘grindadrap’ hunts in which whales, dolphins and porpoises are ‘indiscriminately slaughtered’.

If approved, Chief Minister Kristina Moore would then be asked to raise concerns with the UK government, with a request that those concerns are forwarded to the government of the Faroe Islands.

Deputy Farnham said the move could encourage trade action to help stop the ‘unnecessary slaughters’.

He first raised the issue in 2021 after a 1,428-strong pod of white-sided dolphins was driven into shallow waters at Skálabotnur beach and butchered.

He brought the matter to the fore again earlier this year when he said the Faroe Islands’ ability to participate in the Island Games – which is to be hosted this summer in Guernsey – should be reconsidered as a result.

In the proposition’s accompanying report, the Deputy stated: ‘Words cannot express the cruelty displayed in a tradition known as the Grind, or Grindadrap in Faroese.

Deputy Lyndon Farnham

‘The hunting of sea mammals, primarily whales and dolphins, is a tradition that has been practised for hundreds of years in the Faroe Islands.’

He noted that the large slaughter in 2021 had left many Faroe islanders ‘in shock’.

‘We all live in an island community surrounded by the sea and we all have a great deal of respect for our rare and valuable marine environment.

‘We must protect and preserve our oceans and not allow them to be plundered,’ he continued.

‘Although disapproval alone will not stop this cruel and barbaric practice, I respectfully ask the States of Jersey Assembly to condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the continuation of this cruel and barbaric practice, which is carried out largely in the name of tradition.

‘Members of parliaments all over the world are beginning to see these issues as a key part of their environmental agendas. We must all very soon start backing our condemnation with trade action.’

Speaking to the JEP, Deputy Farnham added: ‘Ultimately, the only way we can increase pressure is to encourage larger trading parties of the Faroe Islands to reconsider whether they want to continue doing business with a government that allows these unnecessary slaughters to take place.

‘For example, the UK has a trade agreement with the Faroe Islands and, as such, has enormous influence that one would hope could make a difference.’

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