Faroe Island: The Grind

The majority of North Atlantic cetaceans give birth to their calves in the warm waters of the equator before migrating past the Faroe Islands to feed in the nutrient rich waters of Svalbard and the Arctic. Long-finned pilot whales pass by the North Atlantic islands while pursuing squid, their main source of food. The local community heads out in small boats loaded with stones, hooks, ropes, and knives. Once they’ve approached the pod, the boats form a small half-circle behind the pod. Small rocks attached to lines are thrown into the water to create a wall of bubbles to reflect the sonar of the pilot whale. The cetaceans interpret the bubbles as a cliff wall that they must steer away from – because of this, the small boats are able to herd the cetaceans towards a low-lying shore. As the pod approaches land, the boats continue to harass and frighten the mammals until they’re washed up on the shore. Once beached, a knife is used to cut through the veins and arteries that supply blood to the pilot whales head. Some pilot whales suffer for as much as 30 seconds while others can take up to four minutes to die.

http://www.seashepherd.org/grindstop/about-campaign/the-grind.html