Two-thirds of consumers in the UK, Denmark and Germany would be willing to boycott or support economic sanctions against whaling nations, according to a new survey commissioned by the Stop the Grind conservationist coalition and eco-activists Sea Shepherd.
The OnePoll research was exploring Europeans’ views on the annual Grindadrap or ‘Grind’, in which Faroe Islanders slaughter hundreds of pilot whales and other dolphins for consumption.
According to the findings, 74% of those surveyed had no idea that dolphin hunts and commercial whaling remained legal in the Faroes and other European nations Norway and Iceland. And 69% said that they would support government trade sanctions against these countries, while 62% would back consumer boycotts of products, services and leisure travel to them.
Sea Shepherd has been fighting to stop the Grind since 1983, but the self-governing Faroes, though dependent on Danish military and police, have declared their independence from EU laws against killing cetaceans.
Last September the islanders set a grim record and drew international condemnation with the slaughter of a super-pod of 1,492 Atlantic white-sided dolphins, including pregnant females and juveniles.
That prompted Sea Shepherd UK to team up with communications consultancy Shared Planet to form Stop the Grind, an international coalition of animal-welfare groups, European politicians and celebrities, to raise global awareness and organise political and economic pressure to end such hunts.
Much of the Faroes’ income derives from tourism and salmon exports, so it depends on consumers from countries in which cetacean hunting is illegal.
More than 100,000 British citizens have signed a petition calling for the government to suspend its £5.5 million trade deal with the Faroes until the Grind ends. Globally more than 1.3m people have now called for the killings to be banned.
In January the EU and member-states that are party to the International Whaling Commission (not including Denmark) called on the Faroes to “immediately stop the outdated practice of whale and dolphin hunting”, and called the September massacre “cruel and unnecessary”.
Although the Faroese government stated that it would evaluate hunt regulations 10 months ago, Sea Shepherd says that no action has been taken.
This year already, the organisation says that 182 pilot whales have been killed, not including unborn calves. Sea Shepherd UK has sent another land-based crew to the islands to document the hunts and help to raise awareness to this issue. The survey results are summarised here.
Also on Divernet: Faroes Big Night Out: 1428 Dolphins Dead