Faroe Islands: Activists slam killing of hundreds of dolphins

The traditional annual killing of whales and dolphins sparked controversy on Tuesday after it emerged that over 1,400 of the marine animals were killed in this year’s event, according to Danish media reports.

The so-called “grindadrap” hunt has been going on for over four hundred years on the small North Atlantic islands that belong to Denmark. But the large number of animals killed on Sunday has raised fears of tarnishing the islands’ reputation.

The environmental organization Sea Shepherd posted a long video on Facebook showing the slaughter of the 1,428 white-sided dolphins, calling it the largest group of animals killed in one go on the islands.

The Switzerland-based marine organization OceanCare also criticized the practice, saying “a line has been crossed here and a new dimension of hunting has been reached.”

The Switzerland-based marine organization OceanCare also criticized the practice, saying “a line has been crossed here and a new dimension of hunting has been reached.”

Excessive killing

The islanders usually kill up to 1,000 sea mammals each year. Last year, they only killed 35 white-sided dolphins.

Several people involved in the hunting tradition have since distanced themselves from this year’s killing, with the former chairman of the Faroese association for pilot whaling telling a local broadcaster that it was excessive.

The foreman of a different group that drives pilot whales toward shore on another island said that he had not known of the large dolphin drive and “strongly dissociated” himself from it.

The islands’ Fishery Minister Jacob Vestergaard told the radio broadcaster Kringvarp Foaroya that the dolphin hunt had been done by the book.

Neither pilot whales nor white-sided dolphins are endangered. The hunt usually focuses on the whales rather than the dolphins.

The animals are driven into shallow waters where they are then cut with knives. The killing is regulated by local laws. The meat and blubber from the animals is shared out among the community.

EC announces bypoll for Mamata Banerjee’s home constituency, 3 others in Bengal and Odisha

The Election Commission Saturday announced the bypoll for the Bhabanipur constituency — Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s home turf — in Kolkata. The bypoll is set to be held on September 30 while the votes will be counted on October 3.

The seat fell vacant after veteran Trinamool Congress leader and minister Shovandev Chattopadhyay’s post-poll resignation.

Apart from Bhabanipur, elections in West Bengal’s Samshergunj and Jangipur and Odisha’s Pipli constituencies will be held on the same day.

The commission held meetings with Chief Secretaries and Chief Electoral Officers and took their opinion. In a statement, the poll panel said, “He (Chief Secretary of West Bengal) has also informed that in view of administrative exigencies and public interest and to avoid vacuum in the state, the bye-election for 159-Bhabanipur AC, Kolkata from where Ms Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister intends to contest elections may be conducted.”

The commission added Covid protocols will be maintained during the whole process. In indoor campaigns, not more than 30% of the capacity and in outdoor campaigns not more than 50% of the capacity will be allowed.

The number of star campaigners has also been restricted and regulations announced for door-to-door campaigns, road shows, street corner meetings and other means of campaigns.

The silence period before the poll will be for 72 hours. No motorcycle or cycle rallies will be allowed and only those who have been fully-vaccinated will be allowed for poll duty.