Marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd Netherlands has submitted a request to the European Commission to launch infringement proceedings against Denmark for facilitating the slaughter of pilot whales and other cetaceans in the Faroe Islands.
The request was submitted “with the formal support of 27 Members of the European Parliament”, according to Sea Shepherd.
The organization said that every year from June through November, hundreds of pilot whales are driven onto the beaches of the Faroe Islands using motor boats, then slaughtered in a practice known as the grindadráp, or Grind. Although there is an EU directive prohibiting member states from all forms of deliberate disturbance, capture, or killing of cetaceans, the self-governing Faroe Islands are a dependent territory of Denmark but not an EU member state and are, therefore, exempt from EU laws.
However, Sea Shepherd pointed out that its infringement claim presents evidence proving that Danish officials, including the police, navy, and customs, have been actively participating in the Grind. This practice is believed to have caused the death of cetaceans in contravention of the EU Habitats Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora, Sea Shepherd added.
“It is forbidden to kill whales and dolphins in Europe,” Geert Vons, Sea Shepherd Netherlands Director, pointed out.
“By supporting the Faroe Islands in the killing of pilot whales and other cetaceans, Denmark facilitates the slaughter and fails to fulfill its EU obligations,” he further said.