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1,428 dolphins killed on Faroe Islands in traditional hunt

Reference: CBC News

WARNING: Readers may find some of the content of this story disturbing.

The international animal rights group Sea Shepherd said this week it hopes that pressure will build from within the Faroe Islands to end its traditional drive of sea mammals into shallow water, where they are slaughtered for their meat and blubber.

A local activist published gruesome video footage of Sunday's slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins on the central Faroese island of Eysturoy in the North Atlantic archipelago. The number of dolphins was so large — much higher than in previous years — that it appears participants may not have been able to follow regulations to minimize the suffering of the mammals.

"It was a complete disaster, completely unprecedented in fact, it could even be the largest single hunt of cetaceans in documented history anywhere in the world," said Robert Read, campaign director for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Environmental activists have long claimed the practice is cruel. But this year even people on the Faeroes who defend the four-century-old practice have spoken out amid fears that this year's slaughter will draw unwanted attention.

"We must admit that things did not go as we would like to," said Hans Jacob Hermansen, the former chairman of the Faroese association behind the drives. "We are going to evaluate if anything went wrong, what went wrong and why, and what can we do to avoid that in the future."

Sea Shepherd says it is hoping for "much tighter restrictions" around such hunts and, if not, "at least a ban on the killing of the Atlantic white-sided dolphins."