During my work as a reporter and journalist, I did a story about a celebrity chef and his restaurant in Berlin. I didn’t only spend time in his kitchen. I also visited the small farm he got his products from, fruit, vegetables – and meat. The farmer killed a duck, and ruby-red blood dripped down.
Again and again, the „Red Seas of the Faroe Islands" are a hot topic, not only on social media. Most locals defend the pilot whale catch („grind“), lots of people from other countries condemn it. I won’t do you the favor and take sides here and now. There's no point in that, because what will happen is predictable.
Let us assume that I write: I am against the grind, it's barbaric and it has to stop right now. From outside the Faroe Islands, that kind of statement would enjoy great popularity. Let us also imagine the opposite: I defend the grind, I say it’s sustainable, communal and regulated. Most certainly, I would have to face accusations and emotionally charged insults. That will lead to nothing. Therefore, this blog post is not about opinions. It is about questions.
I won't leave you unscathed. In my view, the way in which the debate on the grind has been held so far, raises a great many questions. Here are some of them. Do you know what’s going on in a slaughterhouse? Big or small, across the globe, in your home country, Asia, America, all over Europe? And do you really want to know?
In case you eat meat: What kind of meat do you buy? What do you know about the food you add to your supermarket trolley and about the way it has been produced? Antibiotic resistance – why does such a thing exist? What kind of a life do animals have in animal farms? And, after all, does any „clean way“ to kill animals exist?
Further: Is there a difference between eating a pig and eating a pilot whale? Some animals: are they „better“ than others, because they look cute, are more intelligent or form social ties? Are pilot whales an endangered species?
Nowadays, eating too much whale meat and blubber has a negative impact on people's health. Questions: Who is polluting the oceans? Should we all go veggie? And could we all go veggie, everywhere? Have you ever checked the prices for fruit and vegetables in a Faroese supermarket, country of origin of the goods included? What about environmental pollution caused by transport? And what about the urban movement to eat local foods?
Let’s assume that you are an opponent of the grind. Insults, mobbing and slander, attacking the Faroese people – where does this lead to? Key word counter-productive: Will any aggressive attitude help you to reach your goal? Besides: Are there only recommenders of the grind in the Faroe Islands? Another one. „What if“ scenario. The Faroese change the manner and method of killing pilot whales. Would that be acceptable for you?
You have all the answers to all these questions, you made up your mind, you have an opinion? Make sure that it's based on trustworthy information. Much has been written about the grind. Truths, half-truths and complete nonsense. Finally, an opinion. To my mind: Taking a quick look at a picture of the „Red Seas“ and being disgusted – well, that’s easy. Honestly dealing with all these questions – that's far more complicated.
The pictures, I took in August 2013 and May 2014. I have watched several grinds in the Faroe Islands