Calls for UK to suspend trade deal with Faroe Islands after dolphin bloodbath

Other Animals

THE UK should suspend its free trade agreement with the Faroe Islands until it stops its whale and dolphin hunts, a leading animal welfare campaigner has demanded.

Campaigner Dominic Dyer has launched a petition calling for the Government to put its trade deal with the North Atlantic archipelago on hold following an outcry over the killing of 1,428 white-sided earlier this month.

The slaughter was part of the tradition known as the grind which has been practised by the islands for hundreds of years.

Mr Dyer, policy adviser at the animal charity Born Free, urged the Government to use its free trade agreement with the Faroe Islands as “leverage” to bring an end to the whale and dolphin hunts.


He told the Express: “We can all say how terrible it is but it will not stop.

“The only way this will stop is if the trade issue becomes crucially important to the Faroe Islands’ economy.”

Imports to the UK from the Faroe Islands – mainly seafood – were worth £253 million in 2019, according to figures from Defra, while British exports totalled £41 million.

Mr Dyer, who has protested against with Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie and father Stanley in the past, warned the Government cannot “turn a blind eye” if the UK is to be a world leader in the protection of marine mammals.

Dominic Dyer is calling for the UK to suspends its free trade deal with the Faroe Islands (Image: SEA SHEPHERD)
Dominic Dyer is calling for the UK to suspends its free trade deal with the Faroe Islands (Image: SEA SHEPHERD)

His petition, which has been backed by TV presenter Chris Packham, has been signed by more than 25,000 people since it was launched on Tuesday.

It is due to receive a response from the Government as it has passed 10,000 signatures and it will be considered for debate in Parliament if it reaches 100,000 names.

The slaughter was part of the tradition known as the grind (Image: SEA SHEPHERD)
The slaughter was part of the tradition known as the grind (Image: SEA SHEPHERD)

The grind sees pods of whales and driven by boats into shallow waters to be killed.

The Faroese government says the tradition is an important part of its food culture.

But a record number of were slaughtered on September 12 sparking a backlash.

The outcry prompted the Faroe Islands to announce it would review the dolphin hunts.

A record number of dolphins were slaughtered on September 12 sparking a backlash (Image: SEA SHEPHERD)
A record number of were slaughtered on September 12 sparking a backlash (Image: SEA SHEPHERD)
Mr Dyer warned the UK cannot “turn a blind eye” (Image: SEA SHEPHERD)
Mr Dyer warned the UK cannot “turn a blind eye” (Image: SEA SHEPHERD)

Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands, Bárður á Steig Nielsen, said: “We take this matter very seriously.

“Although these hunts are considered sustainable, we will be looking closely at the dolphin hunts, and what part they should play in Faroese society.”

On Wednesday, 53 pilot whales were slaughtered in the Faroe Islands in a fresh bloodbath less than two weeks after the dolphin massacre.

Mr Dyer has protested against whaling with Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie and father Stanley (Image: GETTY)
Mr Dyer has protested against with Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie and father Stanley (Image: GETTY)

Environment minister Zac Goldsmith described the killing of almost 1,500 earlier this month as “one of the most sickening spectacles I’ve ever seen”.

In a Twitter post, he added: “It shames our species.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “The UK is strongly opposed to the hunting of any cetaceans and continues to call on all nations, including the Faroe islands, at every appropriate opportunity to cease their whaling activities in favour of well-managed, responsible tourism, such as whale-watching.

“We recognise there is a long tradition in the Faroe Islands of killing pilot whales and for meat and other products and we wish to continue our frank conversations relating to cetacean conservation, to encourage them to stop these hunts.”

This article by Katie Harris was first published by The Express on 25 September 2021. Lead Image: The killing of 1,428 white-sided sparked an outcry earlier this month (Image: SEA SHEPHERD).


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