On Tuesday, the authorities of the Faroe Islands, an autonomous Danish province, faced outrage over the culling of more than 1,400 white-sided dolphins in a single day in what was described as the northern archipelago's single largest hunt.
“There is no doubt that the Faroese whale hunts are a dramatic sight for people unfamiliar with whale hunts and slaughter,” a government official told AFP.
“However, the hunts are well-organized and fully regulated,” he remarked.
The North Atlantic islands, which have a population of roughly 50,000 people, have traditionally hunted pilot whales rather than dolphins, according to the spokeswoman.
“There are usually a few of them in the ‘grind,' but we don't normally kill such a large number,” said Hallur av Rana, a local television journalist.
The "grindadrap" is a technique in which whale hunters surround them with a large semi-circle of fishing boats before driving them into a harbor to be beached and butchered.
“It appears to be quite extreme, and it took some time to kill them all, which is unusual,” av Rana said.
On social media, photos of the bloodied bodies of over 1,000 Atlantic white-sided dolphins on the beach provoked outrage.
Despite the fact that 53% of the population of the islands opposes the "grind," there are no plans to end the practice, according to av Rana. Authorities claim that it is a sustainable hunting method.
Sea Shepherd, a group that advocates against whale and dolphin killing, called it a "barbaric practice."
Local estimates put the number of pilot whales in the waters around the Faroe Islands at 100,000, with 600 killed last year.