Thousands of Dolphins Were Killed During Faroe Islands' Annual Controversial "Grind"

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Sep. 15 2021, Published 10:59 a.m. ET

In many cultures, dolphins are considered sacred — though sadly, they're now heavily endangered due to water pollution, overfishing, and the effects of global warming. That's why conservationists are enraged after upwards of 1,400 dolphins were slaughtered during the Faroe Islands' annual "Grind." The footage from the day-long hunt is gruesome, to say the least, and it's drawn tremendous controversy from both Faroese and global activists worldwide.

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"It's an absolute disgrace," British animal rights activist, Dominic Dyer, told CBS News. "And Denmark needs to be held for account for this... It's disgusting. It shames the world."

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Why were 1,400 dolphins slaughtered in the Faroe Islands?

The Faroe Islands' Grind is a controversial, annual whale and dolphin hunt that's held within the Danish Territory, to provide food to locals. According to, which provides information on dolphin and whale hunting in the Faroe Islands, it's super regulated with strict laws, but according to The Guardian, even locals were horrified by this year's killings, as it was the largest massacre of its kind in history – surpassing numbers from one season in Japan's infamous "Cove." .

Hunters slayed a "superpod" that consisted of about 1,500 dolphins, and branches of local animal rights organizations such as Sea Shepherd were absolutely devastated.

"On Sunday night a super-pod of 1428 Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins was driven for many hours and for around 45 kilometers by speed boats and jet-skis into the shallow water at Skálabotnur beach in the Danish Faroe Islands, where every single one of them was killed," reads a tweet from the nonprofit.

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And although it's a known "rule" of Grind to kill the animals quickly, the dolphins were lured to Eysturoy's Skálabotnur beach where they were left writhing, before they were ultimately slaughtered. The chair of Grind's hunting association, Heri Petersen, said the event was executed improperly and irresponsibly this year.

“I’m appalled at what happened,” he stated, as per The Guardian. “The dolphins lay on the beach writhing for far too long before they were killed.”

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Locals and global activists alike are shocked over the results from this year's Grind.

Nauseating photos of the blood red waters, and videos of dolphins being slaughtered with knives, spread like wildfire across Twitter. And once it came out that 1,500 dolphins were killed in only one day, local and global activists started speaking out against the annual event.

Twitter user @MR_Pellett commiserated over the dolphin massacre when news broke regarding the slayings on Sept. 15. "1,500 slaughtered," they wrote. "This tradition needs to end."

Likewise, Twitter user @MatthewPope said, "1,428 dolphin slaughtered in one day. That's unconscionable overkill and I hope it leads to sanctions and change."

@MissLarryLamb also chimed in, saying: "Not an expert but from what I've read it started out centuries ago as a way of hunting for food but the slaughter of an entire pod of 1,500 dolphins in 2021 has gone way beyond this. Many Faroese are also shocked by the scale of the massacre, and the cruelty of the slow deaths."

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Hopefully the controversy inspires a change within the annual tradition, for the sake of having any dolphins left swimming through Mother Earth's oceans.

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