Saturday, August 21, 2010

Butchering The Whales


No, this is not the visual of any 'one-of-its kind red coloured sea'. The red colour that you see, is that of the blood of calderon dolphins. The dolphins have been brutally slaughtered by the Faroe islanders in the kingdom of Denmark.

The Faroes reportedly kill around 1000 dolphins every year in the name of a cultural practice called grindadrap. It is a rite of passage custom marking the entering of adulthood for boys. As the dolphins are massacred inhumanely, men, women and children look on in enjoyment, as it makes for an interesting spectator sport. This practice has been going on since centuries, but was first covered by the media in the 1980s. For mor details and pictures, do follow this link.
So the grindadrap  in such a barbaric way, celebrates the coming of maturity of boys. Quite ironic, isn't it?

The Faroes however, quite aggressively defend this supposedly honourary ritual of killing whales and dolphins, stating that it is completely non-economic in nature and the whale meat would be distributed equally to all Faroe families, free of cost. But then, reports also show that these dolphins are heavily contaminated by high levels of mercury. Its consumption is then considered to be especially dangerous for pregnant women and children and can lead to physical and mental deformities. So how could you possibly uphold the act of distributing food so toxic in content, whether you are doing it for free or not? Here's a link to an interview about a doctor in Denmark on his views and findings on the issue

So, Dr.Weighe, like any other Faroe islander, stands in full support of this practice. The other reasons that are cited to defend this custom are firstly, the pilot whales in that region are not endangered are estimated to be around 800,000 in number in the North Atlantic region. Secondly, they claim to kill the dolphins in a quick and painless manner. The second reason isn't true as is evident in news report and videos. Do go through this blog by Philbee

And what have the Government, legal authorities and civil societies been doing? Well, they have tried their bit in stopping it. But either they haven't been strong enough about it or they are facing real stiff opposition from the Faroes who are really proud of their cultural tradition.

Why do the Faroes do it after all? They are not deriving any economic gains out of this adventurous activity. It could be because these whales are predatory mammals, who feed on mackarel and other small fish. Maybe to control the population of the small fish, the whales are being killed, in the garb of this horrendous ritual.
By no means, am I trying to justify this malpractice. I am merely trying to look at the other side, as I assume that there is usually an underlying meaning or motive behind every custom. I may be wrong. But my point is, your objective might be important and relevant, but the means matter too. The Faroes are indeed killing the otherwise friendly dolphins and whales in an inhumane and merciless manner. It is a ritual fanaticism that has to be stopped and changed. The change can only come in with change in their ideologies and attitudes. The whales can no longer be victimized to their cultural insensitivities.

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