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 face accusations and emotionally charged insults. That will lead to nothing. Therefore, this blog post is not about opinions. It is about 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 town, 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 do we have to deal with such a thing? 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 clearly 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? What about 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?
Quote from the official website “Whales and Whaling in the Faroe Islands” (whaling.fo): “Faroese animal welfare legislation, which also applies to whaling, stipulates that animals must be killed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whales are killed on the shore and in the shallows of bays especially suited and authorized for the purpose, under the supervision of locally elected officials and by people with a required license.” Thought – grind carried out according to the rules taken for granted: Are all grind bays currently in use particularly and equally suited?
Thought regarding the strategy of verbally abusive anti-whaling people: Insults, mobbing and slander, offending the Faroese people, putting grind comments all over Facebook pages at random – what is that supposed to achieve? Where does this lead to (the meaning of counter-productive)? In the end: Will any aggressive attitude help you reach your goal? And after all, are there only recommenders of the grind in the Faroe Islands? Associated “what if” scenario: The Faroese whalers advance their killing pilot whales techniques. Would that be acceptable for you?
Whaling: a heated debate and a lot of questions. You have all the answers, you made up your mind, you have an opinion? Make sure 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 – that’s easy. Honestly dealing with all these questions – that's far more complicated.
I have watched several grinds in the Faroe Islands. The article gets updated periodically.