Why The Whaling Tradition In The Faroe Islands Must Be Stopped

It can be seen, in recent times, that the controversial topic of the wellbeing and welfare of animals has struck large debates across the world. The Faroe Islands have been a victim of such controversy sparking conversation about its seasonal whale hunts. To understand how this tradition of whaling is unethical, we must first come to terms with it. This unethical tradition with the motive of obtaining sadistic entertainment is done by trapping whales into the bay; however, the unethicality of this event becomes even more apparent when they drag the whales onto the beach and slaughter them maliciously. This cultural tradition must be stopped which stems from three key arguments: health concerns regarding consumption of whale meat, significant trauma to highly socially capable animals and unnecessary exposure of traumatic violence to children.

Firstly, in documentaries such as Blackfish, it can be seen that whales do have a high socially capable brain with research to suggest that they have better social applications than us, humans. With further research being conducted on the mental state of animals, it can be seen that whales experience extreme emotional discomfort when being slaughtered, and since they conduct the killing traditionally, it can be inductively concluded that they use brutal and barbaric ways to kill the whales. Dr Luke Rendell, University researcher studying the whale social behaviour also found that whales have a unique social structure, including moral groundings and the ability to create musical societies. Even with information like this known to the world, the barbaric nature of the tradition protects the unethical ways of slaughtering whales. Therefore, it can be seen from this that, the act of whaling is unethical due to their high intelligence and psychological impact on children. Some people in the community, however, may claim that they isolate an entire community of whales. This claim is highly unlikely as whales have a wide variety of connections and will still experience trauma from the slaughtering.

In addition, the seasonal whaling in the local community of the Faroese culture allow children and encourage them to participate in the tradition of the grind which will cause detriment to their mental wellbeing and perspective of nature. This high level of exposure to violence towards living mammals to children is a detriment as they still don’t understand the social philosophies of the world. It can be seen, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, that in contemporary society, children that are exposed to violence can develop psychological issues such as being fearful, lack of concentration and will learn to resolve issues through violence. From this, children that are exposed to this violence can develop issues pertaining to this. With this, the development of undesired psychological issues in children regarding this tradition of whaling is a key issue within the community which needs to be pursued for change. However, some demographics may argue that children have been participating in whaling for thousands of years and have been fine. This argument, however, is a fallacy as the media is now becoming more unavoidable, containing contradicting views on what they conduct which will cause more psychological damage.

Finally, recent scientific observations suggest that the high concentration of mercury in whales due to water pollution is a detriment to the human body. In recent times, with more accessible technology for scientific research, scientists have come across information which disproves the tradition of eating whale meat. The chief physician of Public Health in the Faroese Hospital System, Dr Pal Weihe, has been researching this topic since 1984. In his research, he has found that pollutants such as mercury, PCBs and PFCs have intoxicated sea mammals in the area and will continue unless the tradition has been restricted or limited. The consumption of these toxins can cause neurological and physical disorders, these include insomnia, tremors, kidney and thyroid damage. It can be seen from this, that the increasing development in toxins in sea mammals will continue to develop, making it unnecessary to continue whaling due to the contamination of dangerous toxins. From this, major health issues suggest that the tradition of whale hunting must be restricted as it is negatively impacting the people of the community overall. People may say that they don’t eat much of the meat and blubber, however, they have stated previously that they don’t use the land near them to grow and gather food so their primary source of food comes from the whales.

The tradition of whale hunting in the Faroe Islands has been in existence for thousands of years. The barbaric nature of the tradition damages the welfare of the whales as they are in a dangerous environment. With recent research, it can be seen that this tradition is one of the dangerous detriments to the welfare of whales as they are a highly socially capable species being brutally slaughtered. The exposure to excessive violence damages the mental wellbeing of children within the community which all accumulate together to become a major social issue regarding the welfare of the whales which needs to be resolved. 

16 August 2021
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