Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 6:28 PM
Subject: NEWS RELEASE - Faeroe Islands: Sea Shepherd Undercover
Operation Exposes Cetacean Mass Slaughter
NEWS RELEASE ** NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 22,2010
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Faeroe Islands: Sea Shepherd Undercover Operation Exposes Cetacean Mass
On July 19, 2010, a pod of 236 pilot whales was ruthlessly slaughtered in
the town of Klaksvik in the Danish Faeroe Islands. Sea Shepherd was able to
document the slaughter through the efforts of an undercover operative who
had been living among the locals in order to capture footage of "the grind."
The grind is a cruel method of whaling that involves stranding pods of
cetaceans in coves before severing their spinal chords with knives.
Sea Shepherd Undercover Operative Peter Hammarstedt, also First Mate of Sea
Shepherd's vessel, the Bob Barker, had been living undercover with the
ferocious islanders for a week when he heard news of a grind happening in
Klaksvik over the radio. He immediately drove to the scene. Grossly
outnumbered and unable to physically stop the grind, Hammarstedt documented the
bloodshed upon arrival.
"Pilot whales are known to travel in pods of 200-300 members. Two hundred
and thirty-six pilot whales were slaughtered last night in Klaksvik: bulls,
pregnant and lactating females, juveniles, and unborn babies still attached
to their mothers by the umbilical chord. An entire pod that once swam freely
through the North Atlantic has been exterminated in a single blood bath,"
The Faroese government claims that the deaths of these whales are quick and
painless, but the newly released grisly footage shows otherwise.
"One whale had five to six brutal chops to her head," reported Hammarstedt.
"The islanders basically used her as a chopping board. Her death would have
been slow and extremely painful. Some whales are hacked repeatedly for up to
four minutes before they finally die." It was equally apparent that the
grind is indiscriminate and ruthless. "Babies had been cut out of their
mother's dead bodies and left to rot on the docks," said Hammarstedt, who
photographed a number of dead infants and fetuses. "Pilot whale groups are
strongly matriarchal; I can't imagine the fear and panic that these mothers
must have felt as their families were wiped out in front of them."
The Faroese pilot whale grind is similar to the annual Taiji dolphin
slaughter in Japan, documented in the award-winning film, The Cove. The main
difference is that there are at least eighteen different coves in the
Faeroes where a grind could potentially take place, as opposed to one cove
in Taiji, making it all the more difficult to anticipate where the killings
will occur or to get there in time to intervene and prevent the murders.
Pilot whales are classified as "strictly protected" under the Convention on
the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. By allowing the
slaughter to continue in the Faeroes, Denmark fails to abide by its
obligations as a signatory of the Convention.
In order to gain access to the grind, Hammarstedt had been posing as a
Swedish film student. Even though considerable steps had been taken to
conceal his identity, he was ultimately recognized by several hunters due to
his role in the Animal Planet TV series Whale Wars. Apparently, even the
Faroese have heard of Sea Shepherd's interventions against illegal whaling
in the Antarctic.
When the whale killers began to follow Hammarstedt by foot at a distance, he
quickly escaped to his car where he fled the scene and uploaded images and
footage to get them safely out of the country. With his identity
compromised, he began receiving threatening messages within the hour and was
instructed by Sea Shepherd HQ to exit the country immediately.
Despite heightened scrutiny and police interrogation at the airport,
Hammarstedt has confirmed that he has departed the Faeroe Islands.
Sea Shepherd has been actively opposing and confronting the Faroese grind
since 1985 and remains one of the foremost advocates for the whales.
About Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an
International non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to end
the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans
in order to conserve and protects ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses
innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action
when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.
By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean
ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future
generations. Founder and President Captain Paul Watson, is a renowned,
respected leader in environmental issues. Visit
www.seashepherd.org for more