Horrific Footage Shows 1,500 Dolphins Slaughtered in Largest Massacre Ever Recorded

Almost 1,500 dolphins were horrifically slaughtered off the coast of the Faroe Islands during a "hunt" on Sunday night.

The massacre is believed to be the largest single hunt of cetaceans—a group comprising whales, dolphins and porpoises—ever recorded worldwide, marine conservation and activist group Sea Shepherd told Newsweek.

The hunt, known locally as the "grindadráp," saw whalers target a massive pod of white-sided dolphins, herding the animals into Danish waters where they were cornered and brutally stabbed to death.

Under Faroese law, the hunt—a long-lasting tradition in the region—is deemed legal, although many dispute the practice as unsustainable slaughter and unnecessary suffering.

Dolphins massacred Faroe Islands
According to reports, the foreman of the grindadrap did not authorise the hunt of as there were "too many animals and too few men to avoid unnecessary suffering," volunteer group Blue Planet Society told Newsweek. Sea Shepherd

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A total of 1,428 dolphins were killed in "the largest ever single hunt of dolphins or pilot whales in Faroese history" and possibly the "largest single hunt of cetaceans ever recorded worldwide," Sea Shepherd U.K. Ambassador Helen Taylor told Newsweek.

"To get a sense of scale - this massacre at Skálabotnur approaches the quota for the entire 6-month dolphin killing/capture at Taiji in Japan - and actually exceeds the numbers killed in any recent years of the Japanese 6 month dolphin killing/capture season," Taylor added. "For such a hunt to take place in 2021 in a very wealthy island community just 230 miles from the UK with no need or use for such a vast quantity of contaminated meat is outrageous."

Blue Planet Society, a group campaigning to end the overexploitation of the world's ocean, described the massacre as a "population level slaughter."

Dolphins massacred Faroe Islands
1,428 Atlantic White Sided Dolphins were massacred at Skálabotnur during a hunt in the Faroe Islands on Sunday. Sea Shepherd

A massacre.

An estimated ONE THOUSAND white-sided dolphins cruelly slaughtered in the Faroe Islands last night.

Read more here https://t.co/yc2Gkx3am3

📷 Palli Asbjornsson Justesen pic.twitter.com/J7UvTVY2bi

— Blue Planet Society (@Seasaver) September 13, 2021

"In sheer numbers it's comparable to the mass slaughter of the North American bison and we all know what happened then," volunteer John Hourston told Newsweek. "Denmark and the EU can't turn a blind eye to this one. We're talking about a population level slaughter, a massacre of a protected species," he added.

According to Norwegian Sea Shepherd volunteer and activist, Samuel Rostøl, the pod was driven over 45 kms to a beach by Skalabotnur where the beached dolphins were slaughtered for over one hour.

Rostøl shared graphic footage of the event with Newsweek. "You'll see dolphins who have been partially stabbed, bleeding to death while shivering in pain," he described. "You'll see dolphins not stunned, but cut open via their necks to bleed them out. Some of them get their spine severed, which renders them immobilized but not unconscious. You'll hear people laughing. You'll see kids playing. You'll see blood splashing as the dolphins fight for their lives. You'll see young dolphin calves dead on the beach."

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Piled up like trash and soon to be dumped. It's unlikely they will be able to process 1428 dolphins. This is comparable to the American bison. 📷via Paul Watson. @VSinkevicius @EU_ENV @denmarkdotdk pic.twitter.com/lXknZrPtCb

— Blue Planet Society (@Seasaver) September 13, 2021

This is hard to write.

The reckless, idiotic, irresponsible Faroe Islanders wiped out a superpod of 1428 white-sided dolphins in the hunt last night.

If Denmark and the EU don't act after this then they're complicit in the unsustainable massacre of protected species. @Tinganes

— Blue Planet Society (@Seasaver) September 13, 2021

Rostøl said the hut traditionally began as a slaughter of pilot whales, and the dolphin hunts are a much younger practice. The Blue Planet Society said records of the hunts date back to 1584.

"This hunt was ill-prepared, with far too few people taking part in it, which prolonged the suffering of these animals who - for many of them - were simply stranded on the beach, unable to leave, for a long period - while their family members were slain around them," he explained.

Many justify the hunt as a cultural tradition and an example of "indigenous whaling" as the mammals were traditionally hunted as a food source for the local population.

However, activists question how many of the animals are actually sold for meat and how many are killed to maintain a vital supply of fish to support the highly lucrative fishing trade, noting the Faroe Islands has a population of just 53,000.

"The different kinds of dolphin-hunts on the Faroe Islands is no longer an important food source," Rostøl told Newsweek. Sea Shepherd ambassador Taylor agreed, adding the hunt occurred "towards the end of this summer when the Faroese have already killed 615 long-finned pilot whales and their freezers are already full."

A massacre.

An estimated ONE THOUSAND white-sided dolphins cruelly slaughtered in the Faroe Islands last night.

Read more here https://t.co/yc2Gkx3am3

📷 Palli Asbjornsson Justesen pic.twitter.com/J7UvTVY2bi

— Blue Planet Society (@Seasaver) September 13, 2021

Video footage shared by the activist groups shows the dolphins being herded towards their deaths as boats surround the terrified animals while they thrash helplessly against the spears and propellers of the boats.

The bloodshed caused the sea to turn red as dolphin carcasses washed to the shore and piled up on the sand.

"Piled up like trash and soon to be dumped," the Blue Planet Society wrote alongside one particularly gruesome image. "It's unlikely they will be able to process 1428 dolphins ... There is absolutely no excuse for a modern, wealthy country to be continuing with such archaic and barbaric animal cruelty in the 21st century."

The group is urging the EU, as well as the Danish authorities, to force the autonomous region to end the practice, which they described as "reckless, idiotic and irresponsible".

"Denmark and the EU need to start talking seriously with the Faroe government. If that fails then sanctions must be considered," Hourston said. "This blatant disregard for protected cetaceans cannot continue."

The Faroese Minister for Fisheries, Jacob Vestergaard, has not condemned Sunday's hunt which an increasingly vocal Faroese community is labelling cruel, archaic and barbaric.

Dolphins massacred Faroe Islands
The pod was herded 40km into Danish waters before being rounded up and killed. Sea Shepherd
Faroe Islands slaughtered pilot whales
The waters of Torshavn harbour in the Faroe Islands is red with the blood of slaughtered pilot whales seen on 11 October 1947. The hunts reportedly date back to 1584. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Correction 9/14/21, 12:30 p.m. ET: This article was updated to remove the incorrect statement that Blue Planet Society was at the scene of the hunt.