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The Faroe Island Pilot Whale Hunts Should Be Illegal

Hundreds of innocent whales are being brutally slaughtered. In the Atlantic Ocean halfway between Iceland and Norway there lies a tiny group of mountainous islands called the Faroe Islands. But behind the beautiful scenery and the pleasant weather, hundreds of Pilot Whales are being mass murdered, and it needs to stop. The Faroe Island hunts, or Grindadrap as referred to by the local people, should be illegal because the hunts are cruel and unnecessary, whales create a healthy ocean environment, and whales have emotions and feel pain just like people.

One reason the Faroe Island Whale Hunts should be illegal is that the killings are brutal and unnecessary. Wordpress.com says, "They throw rocks to scare the whales and surround them with their Power Boats, driving them towards the shore where the whales often beach themselves out of fear or confusion.The whales who do not beach themselves are violently stabbed with a bullhook and pulled towards shore.  In 2012 this hooking practice was deemed ‘inhumane' by the local authorities and since then, they have used a blunt hook called a gaff to pull the whale by the blowhole to shore" The whales are sent into a panic and forced to beach themselves and suffocate. "Metal hooks are driven into the stranded mammals' blowholes before their spines are cut," the Campaign states. The whales are dragged into the beach by hooks and suffocated on the beach with no way to defend themselves or escape. According to Independent News "Whole families are slaughtered, and some whales swim around in their family members' blood for hours." Along with the devastating scene of the Grindadrap, the waters run red with the blood of innocent whales that were doing nothing more than following their instincts and migrating North to breed. IceNews says, "The images from the hunt are gruesome and the sea turns red with the blood of the whales. While in the olden days the hunt was an essential source of food for the Faroese, in present days, the killings are more about tradition and a traditional way of life, for which those wild animals are killed. The hunt is clearly no longer a necessity for the Islanders, but there are also some unfair misconceptions regarding the killings."q11 The Native people of the Faroe Islands told Fox News:  "Sea Shepherd representatives will go to any lengths to give a bad reputation to the whale hunts as ‘barbaric', ‘unnecessary', ‘evil' and ‘lunacy' describing Faroese as ‘sadistic psychopaths', with the aim of inciting anger and outrage." The protesters are not allowed to interfere with the hunts but instead have to watch while hundreds of whales are mass murdered.

Another reason the barbaric hunts should be stopped is that without the Whales, the ocean's ecosystem would plummet. When protestors were asked about the effect the annual hunts have on the Pilot whale population they said, "There are around 1 million long-finned pilot whales and 200,000 short-finned pilot whales. Although they are not endangered species, campaigners say a lack of regulation around such traditions in the Faroe Islands could see significant reductions in whale populations." Oceana.com states, "The long-finned pilot whale has a curious distribution.  It lives in temperate and colder latitudes of the North Atlantic Ocean and throughout the entire Southern Ocean. Though it does not commonly live in the tropics, its bipolar distribution implies that at least some individuals must transit through the tropics from time to time to connect the populations. It is also possible that these two populations actually represent separate species. Another population formerly existed in the temperate and colder latitudes of the North Pacific Ocean, but that population is now regionally extinct. Scientists believe overhunting to be partly to blame." There once was another whole population of Pilot Whales that existed, but now are extinct possibly due to overhunting. If the Faroe island tradition continues then this extinction very well may happen again, leaving our oceans destroyed. On Weebly.com, which is a site open for the public to display their opinion about the Grindadrap, James Lian, and Kevin Lu say, "Whales are vital to sustaining healthy marine life by regulating the food flow of the ocean. They are a key part of the ocean and play a key part the energy flow and biological pump of the overall marine life. Whaling is definitely affecting the world's ecosystems. It has decimated the great whale population, especially in the southern hemisphere. The whales are vital to the food chain, stabilizing the food flow and maintaining a healthy ocean so the rapidly decreasing number of whales are going to have major effects on the ocean's ecosystem." Many people believe that because they might be alive to see any major changes happen, that they don't need to care about our oceans fragile ecosystem. When a whale dies naturally, the body sinks to the ocean floor and creates a food source for hundreds of ocean dwellers. If the cycle were to ever stop because of the disappearance of Pilot Whales, the animals dependent on them would have to find a new food source which would offset the delicate balance of the ocean food chain. The ocean's ecosystem is sent farther and farther into issues regarding the Food Chain, plant life, and it's overall habitat in general. CNN.com says, "A new report from the World Wildlife Fund indicates a nearly 50% decline in marine life populations between 1970 and 2012." According to CNN almost half of the oceans marine population has decreased in a matter of 4 years. In order to increase the population of marine life overall the first thing that needs to happen in the ban of the Grindadrap. Pilot Whales are not the only marine life affected by the hunts, it isn't uncommon for white-sided dolphins to be brought into the shore and killed as well. If this pattern continues due to the loss of Pilot Whale population then the whole ocean ecosystem is in danger. When the Whales are gone, the ocean will be too.  

Pilot Whales feel pain and have emotions just like humans, giving the world yet another reason to stop the hunts. Independent News states that according to the PETA campaign, "Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent creatures and feel pain and fear every bit as much as we do"  People can forget that because they are only,"animals", that they don't have to treat them with respect Onegreenplanet.org says, "Lori Marino, a neurobiologist who helped co-write "The Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans," finds the limbic system of whales to be the most intriguing part of their brains, as they may be more complex than our own."  The Limbic System is responsible for bringing emotions, this suggests whales may have stronger friendship connections than humans. When these whales are killed they may lose lifelong friends. Natinalgeographic.com states, "Smart and often sociable, whales forge tight bonds with one another. Now it's clear that those bonds can be stronger than death itself.More than six species of the marine mammals have been seen clinging to the body of a dead compatriot, probably a pod mate or relative, scientists say in a new study. Such findings add to the debate about whether animals feel emotion—and, if they do, how such emotions should influence human treatment of other creatures.'' It has been scientifically proven that whales mourn the loss of a loved one, just as humans do, but yet the Grindadrap tradition still continues. According to BBC, Earth News, "Humpback whales form lifelong bonds with other whales, just like humans do." many people don't think that they have emotions, but they do, when the whales are separated they may become sick from sadness. Which, believe it or not, is an actual thing, whales can experience depression, this occurs in many other whale species as well, including Pilot Whales. "Pilot whales are often found in captivity. They have been trained by the US Navy to locate military equipment from deep ocean depths for retrieval," says MarineBio.org, they are very intelligent animals and deserve to be treated with respect. The way the Whales are killed is so traumatizing for such intelligent animals, who are mammals just like us and feel pain and have families. Just because they cant voice their opinions doesn't mean humans can take advantage of them. Natinalgeographic.com says, "In one case, short-finned pilot whales in the North Atlantic Ocean made a protective circle around an adult and dead calf. In another case, a spinner dolphin in the Red Sea pushed a young animal's body toward a boat. When the vessel's occupants lifted the carcass on board, the entire group of dolphins nearby circled the boat and swam off." When the Islanders have the annual tradition they are causing the animals grief and pain just like humans experience. This can be very traumatic for the whales, it is not only at the time of the Grindadrap that they go through pain and suffering. Yes, it is true that the Grindadrap has been a tradition of the Faroe Islanders for hundreds of years, but, the Islanders have many more resources than just the pilot whales. Think of the pain and suffering that the Whales go through. They are emotionally and physically traumatized, and with every hunt.

 



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