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Celebrities Join Fight Against Faroe Islands Dolphin 'Grind' [VIDEO]

Aug 05, 2014 12:20 PM EDT
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A handful of celebrities are flocking to the Faroe Islands to join the fight against Denmark's annual dolphin "grind," a highly controversial mass slaughter of pilot whales.
(Photo : Flickr)

A handful of celebrities are flocking to the Faroe Islands to join the fight against Denmark's annual dolphin "grind," a highly controversial mass slaughter of pilot whales.

Actress Pamela Anderson, famed ballet dancer Sylvie Guillem and sailor Florence Arthaud, both of France, are just a few joining 500 volunteers who are part of "Operation Grindstop." The Sea Shepherd environmental group founded the campaign in an effort to stop the killing of about 1,000 pilot whales, which are among the largest members of the dolphin family.

The practice, which Sea Shepherd describes as a "brutal and archaic mass slaughter," involves Faroe Islands fisherman herding the cetaceans into the bay's shallow waters and butchering them with hooks and knives.

The Danish people argue that the grind - which literally means whale slaughter - is necessary for survival. It has been a longstanding tradition hunting these whales for food, but campaigners believe there is no longer a need for this "cultural right" to take place.

"This is not for survival. There are very few things that happen like this that are so brutal," former Baywatch star and animal rights activist Anderson said in a statement Friday.

"We have to put this behind us and move on, and let the whales swim freely. And I think it's much more important for us in the future to save our oceans and the biodiversity of our oceans that the whales are very important to."

"A culture and tradition that does not belong in the 21st century should be abolished," added Rosie Kunneke, who is leading the campaign for Sea Shepherd.

Kunneke, Anderson and a host of other volunteers will intervene and stop the grind from taking place using land, sea and air tactics. Just this week they were able to safely guide a pod of pilot whales back out to sea, away from the Faroese killing bays.

Since records began, more than 265,000 small cetaceans have been killed in the Faroe Islands, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. This worries conservationists because no one really knows for sure how many pilot whales exist.

"The truth is that we don't know how many pilot whales are out there," Lamya Essemlali, president of Sea Shepherd France and GrindStop2014 Offshore campaign leader, said in the statement. "When you look at the way the number of dolphins have dropped in the Mediterranean Sea, it's very scary."

Sea Shepherd says its campaign will continue throughout what it says are the "traditionally bloodiest months of the hunt season" - from June until October.

The following is a graphic clip of the Faroe Islands dolphin grind in 2013:

[Credit: YouTube/Zacharias Hammer]

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