Archive for August 20th, 2008

I’m usually writing about the mundane in this blog; about what it’s like living in the Faroes, about my hikes, fishing trips… and even about my new coffee mug! But today, I’m kind of angry. Angry about all those lies there are about the Faroe Islands and whale hunting!

At first, I want to express my deepest respect to all people and organisations working for a better environment, for helping endagered animals, working to stop global warming – the list is endless, and so are the list of people and organisations that really do something about these issues.

But some goes too far. And the recent years, terrible lies are being spread about the Faroe Islands.

Like for instance: Faroese people kill pilot whales as a sport, killing them with chain saws, and let the bodies rotten on the beach.

That statement is kind of amusing though, because chainsaws in combination with water? Nah. And the rotting whales? Nah. Which village would like the smell of that for weeks, and not only that – let their children play at the beach between rotting whales and maggots.

In old times those whales were the difference between plenty and starving. Remember, no vegetables grows in these islands, and whale blubber contains all they needed for surviving. Even today, everyone is written on a list when they are born, to get their share.

Another lie: Faroese people hunt them in huge boats at sea
Nope. Actually, they would never go out to sea, hunting them. If whales are spotted in a firth or bay, they would send several small boats out, and chase them up on the beach. And of course – that doesn’t happen often.

And again, they claim: “the pilot whales suffer a long and painful death, being cut up alive!”.
No. Let’s say if 200 whales are gathered at the beach: that takes 5 minutes. By cutting their spine, it’s dead in seconds.

And the list of lies continues:
THOUSANDS of whales are brutally killed every year. Wrong again. Maybe 1000 whales becomes human food every year. And the pilot whale is not an endagered specie, there are about 400.000-500.000 of them in the North Atlantic. Much more than the 48.000 inhabitants of the Faroe Islands can eat!

Theres a much bigger threat to the animals, that those people and organisations should fight against, rather than those islanders. Pollution. It is so bad, that the whales aren’t even suitable for food any longer, as their meat is filled with heavy metals. It’s so sad. I tasted dried whale meat and blubber once – tastes good, but not fantastic – and I was sick for 24 hours. Really, really sick. Vomiting non stop for that long is NOT funny. And I even did it twice! (because I thought my illness could have been caused by something else – now I know, it is the polluted meat that makes me ill).

I know – the hunt doesn’t look pretty. Blood and water looks disgusting, and everyone who have accidentaly cut themselves and cleaned the wound in water knows: the water becomes red, and it looks like blood. Kind of nasty. So of course, the view of a red bay looks disgusting. And I’m sure, that outsiders watching that, must be shocked – which gives birth to the many myths about the Faroese.

Some may ask why they eat it if it’s polluted, and why I get ill while they don’t. And I must admit: I don’t know. But they grow up with it, and it’s new to me. So maybe my stomach is “weaker!” But I do know, that many do get ill – many elderly people in the Faroes suffer from Parkinson’s disease. And the high prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in the Faroe Islands is connected to their diet: whale meat/blubber. (for anyone interested in reading about that, check this page out: http://lib.bioinfo.pl/auth:Wermuth,L )

So in the future I have to say when I’m offered some meat: no thanks. I know it’s good food in the rough winter, but it makes me sick. 😦

Anyway, I’ll stop for now – anyone who would like to know a bit more about these islands can watch this documentary by Journeyman Pictures (20 min.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oou3N5ylvdI There are some beautiful pictures in that film, also of drunk Faroese people chain dancing in the streets (been there, done that!) 😆

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