Brutal slaughter of pilot whales

The disembowelled bodies of brutally slaughtered whales line a dockside just 230 miles from Britain – as families with children wander among them.

More than 200 protected pilot whales were hacked to death with knives and sharpened hooks by fishermen who trapped them in coves on the Faroe Islands.

Disturbing images show deep gouges where whalers hacked at the animals to sever their spinal cords. Others show the bodies of unborn calves torn from their mothers’ wombs.

Crowds of islanders, including youngsters, gathered to watch the slaughter, known as “the grind”.

Anti-whaling activist Peter Hammarstedt, 28, exposed last week’s killings by posing as a film-maker in the fishing town of Klaksvik.

He said: “One whale had five to six chops to her head. Her death would have been slow and extremely painful. Some whales are hacked repeatedly for up to four minutes until they finally die. When I got to the docks it was a truly gruesome sight.”

Swede Peter, a member of activist group Sea Shepherd, said he counted 236 dead whales before he was recognised by a local and made his escape.

Pilot whales are classified as “strictly protected” under EU rules.The Faroes are a protectorate of Denmark and Sea Shepherd says the Danes are failing in their obligations by allowing the slaughter to continue.

Locals kill whales for food. A Fisheries Office spokesman said: “We use the most efficient and humane means of killing.”

But Campaign Whale director Andy Ottaway said: “This appalling slaughter must end. It’s an unfolding tragedy.”