Ethical issues

The Faroese realise that the pilot whale hunt may seem dramatic, even violent. Research has also shown high mercury levels in pilot whales

While whale hunters and animal rights activists disagree on whaling in general, people in the Faroes also debate the future of the pilot whaling.

The focus of the debate in the Faroes today relates to research showing that high levels of certain contaminants, such as mercury and PCBs, are found in pilot whales. The Faroese health authorities have therefore recommended that people limit their consumption of whale meat and blubber and that pregnant women refrain from eating such foods.

The general recommendation is not to consume whale products too often because the contaminants in whale meat and blubber may have detrimental health effects.

Since these findings were first published, people in the Faroes have debated whether the time has come to stop hunting pilot whales altogether.

Some think that pilot whale hunting belongs in the past. However, polls have shown that the vast majority are in favour of continuing to eat pilot whales.

Faroese Food and Veterinary Authority - Dietary recommendation on the consumption of pilot whale meat and blubber