The blood of the whales is on Danish hands

Danish Faroese whale hunters in a sea of red. Photo: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd.
Danish Faroese whale hunters in a sea of red. Photo: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd.

Faroese-Danish whale hunters in a sea of red. Photo: Eliza Muirhead / Sea Shepherd.

Hundreds of pilot whales were slaughtered in Faroes waters last week alone, writes Captain Paul Watson. But in 2011 no whales were killed while Sea Shepherd vessels patrolled. The difference? Since 2014 the Royal Danish Navy has defended the whale hunt.
Why would the Danes be so eager to be accomplices with the killers of the Faroes? Why are they so eager to jump into this toxic pool of blood to frolic alongside the savage killers of these gentle creatures? The answer may well be oil.

Last week 142 pilot whales were slaughtered on the beach at Torshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. 1,100 people and more than a hundred boats participated, backed up by two Danish Navy warships, the Triton and the Knut Rasmussen.

Earlier in the day, more than a hundred pilot whales were also slain in an orgy of slaughter on the island of Vagur.

Four Sea Shepherd crew members were arrested at Vagur, two on the beach by the Faroese police and two arrested at sea by the Danish Navy. Last night another volunteer was arrested at Torshavn and a second had his camera taken and the video deleted.

These people are volunteers driven to action in the face of abject cruelty. They are opposing this atrocity with only two 'weapons', their cameras and their bodies. They have been abused, their human rights slapped aside, and five of them have been locked up in a Faroese jail on charges of willful compassion. In the Faroes, empathy is a crime and kindness is ridiculed.

The Faroese have been celebrating their lethal victory over the whales. With between 200 and 300 corpses lying on the beaches, their bellies ripped open, their guts spilling onto the sand and the waters stained with blood, the Faroese appear to be gloriously happy, almost drunk with the thrill of slaughter.

What has changed? The Royal Danish Navy

In 2011 not a single whale was slaughtered while Sea Shepherd patrolled the waters of the Faroes. In 2013, when Sea Shepherd was not present, more than 1,300 whales were slain. Last year in 2014, when Sea Shepherd returned, the kill was 33.

Why is it different this year? Why are so many whales dying this summer? The answer is the Royal Danish Navy. There was no Danish intervention in the years prior to 2014. They did not send their warships in the past. They are doing so now. Despite the fact that killing whales is illegal under European Union law, the government of Denmark has thrown their weight behind the killers.

Sea Shepherd, as a non-governmental organization that practices non-violent intervention, is at a complete disadvantage against two Danish warships, their helicopters and their small flotilla of commandos in fast small boats plus the boats and officers belonging to the Faroese police. In addition, the Faroese have passed discriminatory new laws that target any opposition to the killing of whales.

It is a contest between compassion and courage on our side and power and cowardice on their side. The utilization of tens of millions of Euros in military assets is astoundingly shocking.

Denmark has chosen to exercise a policy of overkill to protect the savage interests of their vassal group of vicious islands where a population of some 50,000 people demand the right to spill the blood of defenseless and innocent sentient beings.

Why would the Danes be so eager to be accomplices with the killers of the Faroes? Why are they so eager to jump into this toxic pool of blood to frolic alongside the savage killers of these gentle creatures? The answer may well be oil. With oil exploration promising possible profits in the future, Denmark seems quite willing to ignore their own laws protecting the welfare of animals and the EU regulations that outlaw the killing of whales.

Why would the Danes be so eager to be accomplices with the killers of the Faroes? Why are they so eager to jump into this toxic pool of blood to frolic alongside the savage killers of these gentle creatures? The answer may well be oil.

The killers will never be convinced. But Denmark can be

The Faroese are bragging about their 'victory'. What I saw was a mob of blood-thirsty killers descending on pods of stressed pilot whales with knives and spears.

This 'tradition' utilizes such traditional tools as motorized boats, hydraulic winches, radios, sonar and warships. It is a perversion of a culture in which whales were once killed for necessity by people in need and are now slaughtered for amusement and sport by a people who today enjoy the highest per capita income in Europe, thanks to the welfare payments given to them by the European Union.

Convincing the killers of the Faroes to stop whaling may not be possible. It is like trying to reform serial killers. Psychopaths have no remorse, no conscience and no recognition of right from wrong.

We need to focus on those who enable this perversion and that means we have to focus on the nation that provides the warships, the subsidies and the political support for these atrocities.

Denmark and the Danish people have sanctioned this cruelty and this despicable slaughter, and no matter how much they claim this is out of their hands, that it is a Faroese responsibility, the fact remains that between those who attempt to save the lives of the pilot whales and dolphins, and the blood being spilled on the beach, sit the Knut Rasmussen and the frigate Triton, both symbols of Danish power, Danish complicity and Danish involvement.

Now the outrage is global!

Over the last few days, the story of the slaughter of the pilot whales has been carried throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North and South America. There is increasing global awareness and we have no intention of allowing the world to forget the horror of the Grind.

We need to keep the pressure on. More Sea Shepherd volunteers may be arrested, more boats may be seized, but what is at stake here are the lives of intelligent, self-aware, beautiful, socially complex, living, feeling, and sentient beings. They deserve the risks we must take and the sacrifices we must endure to stop this carnage.

The Faroese try to cast themselves as the victims, constantly saying they kill the whales for meat, and thus implying that they depend upon this slaughter for survival when nothing could be further from the truth.

The Faroese enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. They have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. They have an industrialized fishing fleet, salmon farms and sheep, and they trade these commodities for all the benefits of a materialistic society. They want for absolutely nothing, except for their insatiable lust for blood.

They kill whales because they like to kill whales, and they want the support of Danish subsidies and the Danish Navy to back up something that is illegal under the laws of Denmark - and the Danes are doing exactly that. And that is the reason that Sea Shepherd has decided to focus on Denmark.

Denmark must break its silence

For the Danes to say this has nothing to do with Denmark is untrue. Danish warships are defending the hunt with two warships including a frigate, helicopters, small boats and hundreds of sailors, at an enormous cost to Danish and European taxpayers. The Danish Prime Minister has a Faroese wife. The Royal Family says nothing. And not one word of criticism from a single Danish Member of Parliament. These facts speak for themselves.

The Grind is just as much a Danish issue as it is a Faroese issue. And this translation from a Faroese newspaper last week demonstrates that the Faroese and the Danes are concerned about Sea Shepherd's focus on Denmark.

"Sea Shepherd moves the grindadráp to Denmark. According to parliament member Sjúrdur Skaale (he is one of the two Faroese seats in the Danish parliament), Sea Shepherd has put great pressure on parliament members to stand up against the Faroese. Sea Shepherd has been very visible during all the pilot whale kills, which have recently occurred in the Faroe Islands, whilst Sea Shepherd has been there this year.

"But it's not just on land, that Sea Shepherd are visible. Their plan to stop the grindadráp is so big, that they go up against Danish politicians, because these days all the Danish members of parliament are receiving hundreds of emails from Sea Shepherd supporters, asking the parliament members to stop the grindadráp.

"According to parliament member Sjúrdur Skaale of Javnadarflokkinum, Sea Shepherd is attempting to put the Faroese and the Danish up against each other. Before Sea Shepherd turned against the Faroese. But now they have changed their tactics, and are also leading their attention towards Denmark.

"'It is Denmark who is evil. Denmark should be boycotted. The logic is: Denmark has responsibility over the Faroese. It is Danish police. It is Danish authorities. The police are financed by Danish tax money. Because of this it's the Danish, who should stop what's happening', says Sjúrdur Skaale about the message from Sea Shepherd.' ...

"Sjúrdur Skaale says, that neither him, nor the parliament members he has spoken to, has ever experienced such aggressive storms of emails ever before."

We need to keep the pressure on Denmark, and the message must be that the civilized world will not tolerate this horrifically cruel and ecologically destructive slaughter. When the beaches of the Faroes run red with blood, the world must respond with the red-hot passionate anger of outrage and disgust.

With this obscene abomination they call the Grindadráp (the murder of whales), the Faroese whalers disgrace not only Denmark, but all of humanity.



Captain Paul Watson is founder of Sea Shepherd.

This article combines two commentaries by Paul Watson on the Sea Shepherd website.

Petition: 'End the Faroe Islands' Whale Slaughter!'

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