The pilot whale drive


Pilot whales are taken for food in the Faroe Islands. Both the meat and blubber of pilot whales have long been and continue to be a part of the national diet. Catches of whales are shared largely without the exchange of money among the participants in a hunt and residents of the local district where they are landed. This also means that the economic value of pilot whale meat and blubber does not appear as a part of the GDP of the Faroes, but its significance can be measured against the economic and environmental costs of importing the same amount of food.  

The pilot whale hunt in the Faroes is, by its very nature, a dramatic and bloody sight. Entire schools of whales are killed on the shore and in the shallows of bays with knives which are used to sever the major blood supply to the brain. This is the most efficient and humane means of killing these animals under the circumstances, but it naturally results in a lot of blood in the water. It is also understandable that there have been many strong reactions to media reports and pictures of the hunt in other countries, especially in urban communities, where most people have never actually been witness to the slaughtering processes from which their own meat derives.