Illegal commercial sale of whale meat uncovered on the Faroe Islands.
For the first time animal activists have shown proof that an open and a black market in whale meat exists on the Faroe Islands. The animal protection activists Andreas Morlok (Project Whale Protection Action - ProWal) and Juergen Ortmueller (Whale and Dolphin-Protection-Forum) discovered on these islands, under the pretext of being anglers, that the pilot whale hunt nowadays has nothing to do with the old traditions which the hunters claim to be following.
Morlok (ProWal) maintains:” Contrary to the insistence of the Danish and Faroe governments that there is no trade in whale meat, we did uncover that the whale meat is not only available to the population living there at no cost, but that there exists a lively trade in pilot whale meat. Pilot whale meat can be ordered in restaurants like “Marco Polo” and in the four star hotel “Hafnia” and can be openly purchased in the fish market of the capital Thoershavn. Anybody can buy and consume whale steaks there and this at an exorbitant price of 40 to 50 Euros per meal.”
By being undercover anglers, the two activists, furthermore, uncovered that there also exists an additional “grey” market for whale products. WDSF-boss Ortmueller says :”Since after a hunt every inhabitant has a right to whale meat at no cost, there is a very strong temptation to sell the marine mammal meat to people who will pay for it.” The two incognito anglers were offered whale meat in the restaurant of the hotel Sjoemansheim in Klaksvik, a specialty that the chef had “acquired “ since the private freezers are full to the top after the slaughter of over 800 whales during this hunting season.
A guy who has boats for hire sold the activists half a kilo of marinated whale meat.
In the capital of Thoershavn the biggest supermarket SMS with a footprint of more than 10.000 square meters sells minke-whale meat imported from Norway as a delicacy at a price of 43 Euros per 2,5 kilo. Up to now Norway maintains that the whale meat is only for their own consumption and that they only export whale products to other whaling countries like Japan and Iceland.
The two activists think that it is a dangerous neglect to omit the fact that whale meat is contaminated to a high degree with mercury and PCBs. The Faroe government only
mentions that children and pregnant women should maybe abstain from eating whale meat.
Morlok of ProWal thinks that today‘s whale slaughter is unnecessary. ”This has nothing to do with the old traditions. There are plenty of groceries to be had on the Faroe Islands. By way of daily ferry and airline service consumer goods are imported and readily available. The living standard is well above average. Every family owns their own home and is motorized. Motor boats, yachts and jet-skis are predominant in all of the many harbors. There are several movie theaters, museums and three hospitals for the around 48.650 inhabitants of the Faroe Islands. Super modern underwater tunnels connect some of the islands and there are helicopter taxis available. To top this the motherland Denmark gives the Faroe Island a nice annual subvention injection of 125 million Euros, which affords the Faroese a very nice life indeed. The pods of whales are nowadays detected through expensive satellite detection devices. The unregulated hunting quotas add, furthermore, to an overkill so that the whale meat ends up on the open market. More than nice pocket money for the Faroese.”
Ortmueller of WDSF maintains that today’s whale hunt in the Faroe Islands is nothing but entertainment following an old tradition and there are many other forms of animal cruelty manifested. “Rabbits are being shot with lead pellets although that renders them inedible. The catching and cooking of young waterbird chicks unleashes great enthusiasm. The birds are being scooped up off the ground with net catchers at a time when they are unable to fly and are heavy from a good summer feeding. In November they start the annual hunt for herring shark, which is authorized by their government. This hunt is just sheer entertainment which brings high prizes for the best catch as we were told by the administrator of the local Natural Science museum. The hunters are not interested in the fact that the sharks are endangered as per the IUCN and should not be hunted at all. I asked one of the Faroese hunters provocatively, why they do not eat any dogs and he answered that there were not enough of those around. “
WDSF and ProWal are sharply criticizing the government of the Faroe Islands and are demanding an immediate halt to all whale hunting. The two organizations warned; “We will inform the responsible police departments on the Faroe Islands as well as in Norway and shall advise the supervising authorities of the Danish motherland of the active commercial trade in whale meat.”
Press Release of September 02th 2010
Dolphin Murder in Japan and The Faroe Islands - Legal Action by WDSF/ProWal gets reaction.
In spite of worldwide protests the annual slaughter of dolphins has started in Taiji, Japan. The same is happening on the Faroe Islands in the European North Atlantic. But now the legal authorities of the Faroe Islands have to deal with a legal suit presented by the dolphin-protection organizations “Whale and Dolphin-Protection Forum (WDSF)” and “ProWal”.
Just like in the Japanese Taiji, annually hundreds of dolphins are cruelly slaughtered by means of hooks and knives on the Faroe Islands. The dolphin activists of WDSF/ProWal are cooperating with the “Flipper” trainer, Richard O’Barry, who was awarded the Oscar for his documentary “The Cove” showing the dolphin slaughter in Taiji.
Recently O’ Barry protested against the dolphin murder in Tokyo. Very few of the 128 million Japanese are aware of the atrocities going on in their own country. It is a different story, though, on the Faroe Islands, which together with Greenland belongs to the Danish alliance. There the around 48.000 people participate in the consumption of the dolphin meat, which is heavily laced with mercury and PCBs. Tourists are also able to order dolphin meat in restaurants.
The two activists of WDSF, Juergen Ortmueller and Andreas Morlok, were pretending to be anglers and infiltrated the Faroe fishermen. Listening to their stories the activists uncovered horrible malpractices during the dolphin hunt. In two dolphin hunting locations too few hunters were available to slaughter 421 dolphins, and the surviving animals had to suffer the whole night long tied up in the bloody water, in which their family members had been slaughtered , only to also be cruelly killed the next morning. Dolphin babies and pregnant females were also made to suffer until the early morning hours.
Therefore, WDSF and ProWal initiated legal proceedings for animal cruelty against the Faroe police authorities. Yesterday the Faroe television and the news media reported about the legal suit started by the animal protectors. ( http://www.kringvarp.fo/index.asp?s=49&Id=72228 ). According to the report the legal authorities of the mother country Denmark will get involved. Maybe there is a glimmer of hope for the wale-slaughter in Europe, while in Japan the slaughter has just begun.
Media report - August 31st, 2010
Poisoning and Impotence caused by consumption of contaminated whale meat on the European Faroe Islands.
On the Faroe Islands, which are located in the North Atlantic and which are a part of Denmark, deaths and illnesses occur amongst the population from consumption of contaminated whale meat. The marine mammal protectors Juergen Ortmueller from the “Whale and Dolphin-Protection-Forum (WDSF) and Andreas Morlok from “Project Whale-Protection Action” (ProWal) are now uncovering health threats with horrible consequences on the islands.
Andreas Morlok (ProWal): “Through natural occurrences, like rivers flowing into the ocean, poisons like mercury and PCBs, which are produced by humans, will end up in the ocean. The whales are at the end of the food chain and they end up taking in these poisons through food. The marine mammals cannot dispel these poisons and consequently these toxic substances are stored in their meat and blubber. In spite of this high contamination whales are being hunted and consumed by the population of the Faroe Islands.“
The two leading representatives of these animal-protection organizations were conferring with contamination expert and researcher Pal Weihe, from the “Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health” on the Faroe Islands (www.health.fo). Mr. Weihe is given substantial resources by Denmark and the EU for his long term research projects.
From left: Andreas Morlok (ProWal), Pal Weihe and Jürgen Ortmüller (WDSF)
During the several hourlong conversations with this scientist facts came to light that left the activists speechless. According to an old and bloody tradition the Faroese annually slaughter pods of pilot whales numbering around 900 head that get lost in the fjords and then get herded into the bays. Pal Weihe has conducted research on the Faroese for over 20 years ( http://www.chef-project.dk/PDF/Medical_Recom_Whale.pdf). Whale meat is 100 times more contaminated than fish and shows an average of 2 ppm of mercury and PCBs (fish only 0.02 ppm) It takes the human body 10 years to break down PCBs. The World-Health-Organization advises against the consumption of whale meat.
Some time ago in Japan over 1000 people died from the consumption of highly contaminated dolphin meat, which was contaminated through a chemical accident. To date there are still handicapped people and disfigured children around.
Scientific studies are now showing that on the Faroe Islands children are afflicted with learning and movement disabilities as well as disruptions of the central nervous system. Infants are ingesting the poisons through the mother’s milk, which is a carrier of the most concentration of toxins worldwide. The number of people suffering from Parkinson’s Disease is double the amount here on these islands compared to those for instance on the Danish mainland. The meat of smaller pods of whales is distributed gratis among senior citizens homes.
Dry meat from pilotwhales
Recently two young people died on the Faroe Islands and the cause was assumed to be the deficit of the vitamin L-Camitine, which is produced by the body. But the two marine mammal protectors think that there is a connection to the consumption of contaminated whale meat. They warned the people not to consume any of these contaminated products. The primary newspaper “Sosialurin” published the warning of WDSF and ProWal in conjunction with their visit. But the Faroese did not heed the warnings and continued to slaughter whales.
As per EU regulations whale meat should be disposed off as hazardous material. On the Faroe Islands, a non-member of the EU, the whale meat is still considered a delicacy. The Faroe government has not issued a declaration of prohibition for the consumption of whale meat. Only recommendations are in existence that people should consume whale meat only once or twice a month and that pregnant women and those who want to become pregnant should abstain altogether.
The activists asked around the islands and discovered that people eat whale meat several times a month. The meat is either frozen or marinated in salt to keep from spoiling. The harvest from around 900 whales amounts to abt. 450.00 kilos of meat and blubber. This means that if 32.000 of 48.000 inhabitants consume whale meat, every person gets to eat 14 kilos of meat annually, all gratis.
Furthermore, Pal Weihe could prove that the quality of semen is being considerably lowered by methyl-mercury and PCBs. But even this fact is being shrugged off by the Faroese men. The fishermen told the two German visitors that they are of the opinion that whale meat is increasing their potency - possibly a grave and far-reaching misconception.
Animal Rights Activists uncover scandalous whaling practices on the Faroe Islands.
At the beginning of August the two whale-protection activists Juergen Ortmueller of the Whale and Dolphin-Protection-Forum (WDSF) and Andreas Morlok of PROWAL accessed the Faroe Islands situated in the North Atlantic disguised as anglers. On these islands hundreds of pilot whales are being cruelly and bloodily slaughtered by the people and their fishermen every year.
The activists uncovered through actions and research further scandalous practices during the whale slaughter, which the Faroese and the government agency would rather like to bury. On the island of Sandoy the local chief of police authorized the slaughter of whales, which should never have been permitted to have been performed in this horrible manner.
Whale meat and blubber are being consumed by these people, whose forefathers were the Vikings, but the meat is also offered on the open market for sale. That there is commercial selling going on was always denied by the Faroe government and by the Danish motherland, but has now come to light thanks to the activists.
On July 9th 2010 a pod of 193 pilot whales was herded by boats onto the beach of the town of Husavik on the island of Sandoy. This town has only a population of 126 people and there were not enough hands available to kill the whole pod at once. Since at the end of the day not all of the whales were beached and slaughtered, the surviving whales were, contrary to the Faroe law, tied to boats by ropes fastened around their tails. Thrashing about in panic and trying to make contact with their family members the 24 surviving whales spent the whole night tied to the boats in the bloody water before they too were slaughtered the next day.
An outraged Andreas Morlok says: “This hunt was doomed from the beginning. There were far to few helpers signed up for this event and the police chief responsible for this disaster knew exactly that the people living in this town are over age. 25 % are over 65 years of age and most of them could not participate in this exhausting hunt. Only 1.334 people live on the whole cluster of Sandoy islands. In contrast there were 1.870 participants in the hunt of 108 pilot whales which took place at Thorshavn, (19.873 inhabitants) the capital of the Faroe Islands and all the whales were slaughtered within minutes according to the whale hunt guidelines. It is not the truth and it is not comprehensible why the Danish and the government of the Faroe Islands still maintain that the whale hunt is performed according to animal rights guidelines in this partially autonomous country.”
Juergen Ortmueller, CEO of WDSF, is calculating that the 193 pilot whales slaughtered in Husavik, would amount to about 96.500 kg of meat and blubber. So every person living on the island of Sandoy would receive a share of 70 kg, which would be enough for a year’s supply if every person eats a steak weighing 200 gram per day. The chief of WSDF continues:”The government of the Faroe Islands strongly suggests to consume whale meat and blubber only once or twice a month because of high contamination by mercury and PCB’s. Small children and women who are or want to become pregnant should totally stay away from whale meat. The mountain of meat in Husavik cannot be consumed by the small amount of people living on Sanvoy and we have documented that the meat and blubber are being sold in open and black markets, which fact to date has been denied.
Both organizations have sued the police in charge of the hunt on the Faroe Islands for animal abuse. The goal of the two animal rights organizations is the prohibition of all whale hunts on the Faroe Islands. In the following weeks WDSF and ProWal are going to expose more discovered scandals while undercover. For their own safety the two activists disclosed their undercover activity to the authorities and in Kopenhagen they presented a list of almost 60.000 collected signatures against the whale slaughter to the Faroe parliament, Danish Prime Minister and the Queen.
New Zealand/Faroe Islands/Hagen - August 20th, 2010
Last night 58 beached pilot whales died in New Zealand and animal rights activist are desperately trying to save the surviving 15 marine mammals.
While in another part of the world, namely in the Faroe Islands hundreds of pilot whales are being brutally hunted and slaughtered.
Kimberley Muncaster, head of the New Zealand whale protection organization, reported that the surviving whales were in bad physical condition. Since most of the animals beached during the night, nobody was around to help them and, therefore, most of them died .This was the opinion of Carolyn Smith, member of the Environmental Protection Agency. The bad weather at that point, although hindering the efforts to save the whales was on the other hand beneficial by not letting them dry out.
While in New Zealand animal lovers try their utmost to help the beached whales, two German whale protection activists visited the Faroe Islands, located in the North Atlantic, to protect whales there. During the months of June and July almost 700 pilot whales were hunted in a barbaric manner and cruelly slaughtered for meat and blubber.
The unused portions are filling the freezers.
Juergen Ortmueller (56/tax accountant) and Andreas Morlok (44/author and management consultant) flew onto the Islands camouflaged as anglers to mix with the local fishermen. The Faroese are following their own laws which are passed down by the local authority which controls the hunting of whales. The two pseudo anglers from Germany, however, could uncover several scandalous acts performed by the local fishermen. In July, the inhabitants of Husavik, a village with a population of 125 people, tried to kill a pod of pilot whales 193 head strong. Because there were not enough hunters available to participate in the killing, the fishermen had to halt the slaughter at night. To prevent the whales from escaping they tied the tail flukes of the remaining 24 whales to boats and then continued with the slaughter the following morning.
On hearing about this, the two German activists chartered a speedboat and sank electronic devices emitting sounds that imitate the call of an orca in the waters offf the Eastern coast of the Faroe Islands. Pilot whales are deadly afraid of killer whales and stay away from them. This way the pilot whales were discouraged to go near the islands. Since this action not a single whale was sighted near the east coast of the Faroe Islands.
These two activists, who also participate in actions for the Dolphin and Whale Protection Forum (WDSF) as well as for the organization PROWAL have uncovered several more scandalous acts on the islands of the whale murderers and have taken about 1000 photos and undercover video and audio recordings. They are now in the process of presenting this devastating material to the mother country Denmark so that this horrible cruelty toward the pilot whale population may finally come to an end.
Pressrelease August, 18, 2010
As soon as pilot whales are sighted in the waters off the Faroe Islands the hunting frenzy takes hold of the about 48.000 inhabitants. Boats are launched and pods of whales are herded into the next official hunting bay. There in the shallow waters the killers are waiting, who are overwhelming the helpless animals with hooks and knives and turning the water into a sea of blood. Two animal rights activist from Germany have now managed to temporarily put a halt to this slaughter.
The two activists Juergen Ortmueller (56/tax accountant} and Andreas Morlok (44/ author and management consultant) went undercover equipped with angler’s gear and were accepted by the Faroese as equal. They presented the government of the Faroe Island with a petition by their organizations named Whale and Dolphin-Forum (WDSF} and “ProWal” with almost 60.000 signatures to stop the slaughter.
This fake angling expedition was mainly set up, though, to directly protect the present whales. Unobserved the two activists chartered a speedboat and motored around the island putting “pingers” into the water which emit electronic noises mimicking
the call of killer whales. Pilot whales stay away from orcas because they fear their attacks. Since June of this year almost 700 pilot whales were slaughtered by seven “Grinds”(slaughter location) , but the whale-protection operation in early August was very effective and since then there were no more whale sightings and no more killings in the eastern part of the Faroe Islands.
The local whalers were bragging about their whaling successes and told war stories about the feats witnessed by the two activists. They told them that in July the slaughter came to a head when pods of whales numbering several hundred animals where herded into a very small bay only 10 x 20 meters in size. There the animals, which even included pregnant cows, suffered until the next morning.
The undercover anglers could have bought fresh pilot whale meat in restaurants, although the whale meat is supposed to be only for private consumption and is not meant for commercial gain.
The activists demand of the EU-motherland Denmark that they share the responsibility with the non EU-daughter state Faroe Islands. All documentation depicting the cruelty of whaling will be presented to the Danish government with the goal of finally banning all whaling.
Pressrelease August, 11, 2010
Activists uncover whaling scandals in the Faroe Islands
(More than 700 whales killed)
Protest action on hotel roof in front of Parliament
(Tórshavn on Faroe-Island – 08/11/2010) The bloody slaughter of up to one thousand pilot whales and other dolphins takes place every year in the European Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic, situated on the same latitude as Norway between the Scottish Shetland Islands and Iceland.
The founders of the Whale and Dolphin Protection Forum (WDSF), Jürgen Ortmüller, and the Pro Whale organisation (ProWal), Andreas Morlok, uncovered numerous scandals surrounding the whale slaughter during their stay in July and August in the Islands. The Faroe Islands are not part of the EU but still remain part of the kingdom of Denmark. They have their own legislation and are largely independent. Denmark itself adheres to the international whaling ban.
As soon as a pod of pilot whales is sighted by fishing boats, helicopters or by ferries between the 18 islands, the message spreads like wildfire by SMS, phone and radio amongst the Islands with about 48,000 residents. Recently speedboats and jet skis have also been used for these drive hunts, even though the Faroese people still attempt to justify the cruel practice of whaling based on 'tradition'.
In order to throw the whales into panic, fishermen use Pinger (Fastakat) which are dragged behind boats on ropes and emit siren-like sounds. Stones are thrown into the water to produce an artificial wall of air bubbles, which interferes with the animals' sonar.
This year alone, approximately 800 dolphins, most of them pilot whales, have fallen victim to the bloody massacre in different parts of the Islands. However in Klaksvik, which is located in the North-East of the Faroe Islands and has about 4.850 inhabitants 228 pilot whales were slaughtered in July.
The two whale activists, who pretended to be anglers, asked residents and shopkeepers about the exact nature of the slaughter at the port of Klaksvik.
It was reported that the whale hunt was executed with several boats headed from a fjord in the direction of a cove near the port. Due to construction works on the beach that made Klaksvik's traditional whale slaughter site unavailable, five to eight whales each were herded to slaughter in a small rocky harbour about eight meters wide and 20 meters long. An old three metre long blue whale bone, amidst an idyllic picnic spot, formed the backdrop for the whales' deaths.
The remaining whales were surrounded at the dock. In chest-deep water, fishermen and residents repeatedly beat the animals with big whale hooks on ropes (Blástrarongul). The goal was to hit the whales' blowhole in order to then drag him into shallow water, where his carotid artery wwas cut with a specially designed pilot whale hunting knife (Grindaknivur), cutting off the blood supply to the brain before the animal bleed to death. The whales thrashed wildly around, often requiring several cutting attempts, in some cases resulting in near decapitation (see You Tube video on the hunt at Klaksvik: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Pn2Z4Bia1A?v=-Pn2Z4Bia1A ).
According to the national whaling regulations of the Faroe Islands, a whale must be killed within 30 seconds of driving the hook into its blowhole. Within 24 hours of the slaughter, the free distribution of whale meat among participants and interested people must be finished, and the pier where the whales were laid out and dismembered must be disinfected.
Nevertheless, the slaughter of 228 pilot whales in Klaksvik took till late into the night and with decreasing participation; the death and agony endured by some animals lasting far beyond the prescribed time. Contrary to regulations, the carcasses remained on the pier until the next morning. Baby whales were cut from the bodies of their dead mothers, who had been connected by umbilical cord the entire night following their prolonged, painful deaths. Even new born babies were among the dead animals.
The whale meat and blubber was distributed to participants of the slaughter as well as residents. According to a young employee of the local bookstore, tourists could also choose to put their names on lists to receive whale meat. She too eats the whale meat, she admitted frankly.
It is used only the whale meat and the blubber from the eye to the anus. Most of such offal, head, skeleton and fins is contaminated with mercury, PCBs and other toxic substances and will be disposed infront of the islands in the sea and finds its way into the food chain of marine birds, fish and other marine life.
The whale slaughter in Klaksvik should not have been approved, according to critical local media and from the capital Thorshaven because of the size of the whale pot relative to the population of Klaksvik should not have been allowed by the local police chief. The whale defenders learned that a breakdown of the pot was not possible because the entire group is not survivable; they would be missing the not identificable leader.
According to the Faroe government allegedly is no commercial use of whale meat. The two whale defenders from WDSF and ProWal could reveal, however, that it's easy to acquire pilot whale meat for valuable consideration in hotels, restaurants, the fish market and from private persons. In their Hotel in Sjómansheim Klaksvik they can prepare a whale dinner for 130 Danish Kronen. The hint gave them a policeman in Klaksvik.
An elderly Klaksvik reported enthusiastically about his own hundred fold whale slaughters, and that his freezer is filled with whale meat and that’s the same in other houses.
An Employee of a furniture store at the port of Klaksvik urgent advised against fishing in the harbor area because before the whale slaughter many fuel was leaked. He would also eat whale meat, which tastes just like chicken.
Due to the significant contamination of the whale meat with mercury, PCBs and other toxins advises the Faroe government to eat whale meat only once or twice a month. Women who intend to become pregnant and children should completely renounce the consumption. The two allegedly anglers from WDSF and ProWal learned, however, that young people and children would often eat whale meat.
After their documentary about the whale slaughter in Klaksvik, they set off to the capital of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn. There they set up a banner against the whale slaughter on the Faroe Islands at the hotel roof in front of the Parliament of the Faroe government.
Other previously unpublished letters and pictures about other whaling scandals in the Faroe Islands and how the whale activists from WDSF and ProWal saved many whales from certain death in the main whaling season July and August will follow in other press reports, in weekly intervals.--