The mass slaughter of whales and dolphins on the Faroe Islands is laid bare by these gruesome photographs.
The images were taken by volunteers from conservation group Sea Shepherd Global posing as tourists on the islands.
According to the group, its volunteers documented nine separate hunts, which date back to the late 16th century and involve residents to drive herds of pilot whales into shallow waters.
They are then killed using a ‘spinal lance’ that is injected through the animal’s neck to break its spinal cord.
Sea Shepherd U.K. director Rob Read told Fox News 18 volunteers from the U.K. and France took part to highlight ‘the continued barbaric killing of dolphins and pilot whales by the Faroese’.
The group said they counted the deaths of 198 Atlantic white-sided dolphins and 436 pilot whales.
One Sea Shepherd Global volunteer, whose identity has been withheld by the organization, described hunt at the Faroese village of Hvannasund,
‘Witnessing a grind first hand was truly an eye-opening experience,
‘As the pilot whales were driven to the shoreline by the small boats the intensity of the thrashing bodies grew.
‘Hooks were sunk into the blowholes and the whales were dragged onto the shore in a sadistic game of “Tug of War”.
‘We witnessed whales seemingly bashing their heads against the stones in a frenzy.’
The pictures were taken in the summer when the hunting takes place but have only appeared now.
Another unidentified eyewitness also described a hunt at the village of Bour where 29 long-finned pilot whales were reportedly killed.
‘We recorded children attempting to remove the teeth of several whales with nothing more than a pocket knife as well as removing slices of what appeared to be a tumour on one whale’
The Faroe Islands government said around 1,700 pilot whales and white-sided dolphins have been caught this year.
It condemned Sea Shepherd saying it ‘will go to any lengths to paint a negative picture of the Faroese’ as ‘sadistic psychopaths’, with the aim of inciting anger and outrage against the island.
‘They have chosen an easy target, as whale drives in the Faroe Islands take place in the open for anyone to watch and document.’
The government noted that whale meat and blubber of pilot whales have long been a valued part of the Faroes’ national diet and is hunting sustainable.
‘Catches are shared largely without the exchange of money among the participants in a whale drive and residents of the local district where they are landed,’ it said.
‘Each whale provides the communities with several hundred kilos of meat and blubber – meat that otherwise had to be imported from abroad.’