The killing of hundreds of dolphins in a hunt in the Faroe Islands has caused outrage among environmentalists.

The autonomous government of the islands belonging to Denmark on Tuesday defended the traditional hunting practice known as "Grindadrap", which is "well organized and fully regulated".

Within one day, hunters drove more than 1,400 dolphins into a fjord and then killed them.

"There is no doubt that whale hunting in the Faroe Islands is a dramatic sight for people who are unfamiliar with hunting and slaughtering mammals," said a government spokesman for the AFP news agency. Normally pilot whales and not dolphins are hunted in the “Grindadrap”.

A local television journalist said that so many dolphins were killed in this hunt is unusual. “It took some time to kill them all. Usually it goes pretty quickly. ”As the Danish radio reported on Tuesday, even the former chairman of the Faroese Association for Pilot Whales said the killing of such a large number of dolphins was excessive. The current head of the association feared for the reputation of the Faroe Islands. It is time to seriously discuss whether the hunting of dolphins should remain permitted, he told the online medium

The environmental organization Sea Shepherd posted a long video on Facebook showing men pulling animals from blood-red water onto a beach. The organization spoke of the largest herd of marine mammals ever killed in a single action in the Faroe Islands. A dolphin school is something beautiful that you should admire and not drag onto a blood-soaked beach, wrote one user. “The hunt is pointless and, according to eyewitness reports, caused great animal suffering. Here a limit has been crossed and a new dimension of hunting has been reached ”, criticized the marine protection organization OceanCare.

Whaling in the Faroe Islands dates back to the Viking Age. The animals are driven into a bay by ships and boats, where they are slaughtered and the meat is then distributed to the participants. Mainly pilot whales are hunted, but sometimes also dolphins. According to Faroese census, a total of 576 pilot whales and 35 white-sided dolphins were killed in 2020. The number of over 1,400 dolphins killed is therefore exceptionally high.