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Photo Credit: Erik Christensen

Sea Shepherd Global, an oceanic wildlife conservation group, has launched a campaign to stop the brutal killings of whales and dolphins by asking consumers to boycott seafood products from the Faroe Islands, specifically salmon sold by Costco Wholesale Corporation. 

Hundreds of long-finned pilot whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins are killed each year, typically between July and August, in the shallows of the Faroe Islands archipelago located in the northern Atlantic between Iceland and Norway.

This gruesome practice, called grindadráp or grind, has been going on for centuries. The small island nation historically claimed that eating whale and dolphin meat was necessary for their survival. However, in modern times, the country no longer needs to consume these cetaceans to survive.

The Faroe Islands are “a self-governing nation under the external sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark.” Although whaling is illegal in the European Union (EU) and Denmark, the Faroese claim that the same laws don’t bind them (although they do receive EU benefits*). 

Atlantic White-sided Dolphins, on a concrete-floored dock at a small port called Hvalba in the Faroe Islands. (Photo Credit: Erik Christensen)

Atlantic White-sided Dolphins, on a concrete-floored dock at a small port called Hvalba in the Faroe Islands. (Photo Credit: Erik Christensen)

Sea Shepherd has attempted to stop the culling practice for years, but the Faroe government, “in the interests of maintaining law and order,” banned Sea Shepherd’s vessels from “disrupting” the whale killing tradition.

Prohibited from acting at the scene of the crime, the marine conservationists and a group of celebrities, including actors Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver), Eric Balfour (Haven), Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Ross McCall (24: Live Another Day), Cliff Simon (Stargate SG-1), Clive Standen (Vikings); actresses Shannen Doherty (Charmed and Beverly Hills, 90210), Perry Reeves (Entourage) and Red Hot Chili Peppers front man Anthony Kiedis; are targeting the country’s economy by sending a joint letter to one of its wholesale buyers, Costco.

Fish exports drive 95 percent of the Faroe’s GDP and “Costco can apply economic pressure to end the atrocity [of cetacean killings],” by stopping “all purchase and sale of salmon” from the islands, reads the letter.

In an email to Planet Experts, Costco’s Seafood and Service Deli representative, Bill Mardon, responded to the boycott with the following statement:

“Costco Wholesale buys a tiny portion of its farmed salmon from the Faroe Islands. Because of our progress in sourcing from other countries (including Norway), we previously determined that our members would see better value if we discontinued the Faroe sourcing. Pre-existing commitments to the Faroe supplier, which we are advised has not participated in the whale fishery, are being honored but not renewed. We express no view on activities of the citizens of Faroe that are unrelated to our product sourcing.”

Although the Faroe Islands will lose Costco’s business, additional political and economic pressure will likely be required to stop further slaughters of whales and dolphins.

Read More: Sea Shepard Halts Illegal Chinese Driftnet Fishing Fleet

*The Faroe Islands receives subsidies, roughly equal to four percent of GDP, from Denmark (a member of the EU), which also provides the island nation with military security.

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73 Responses

  1. sylwia says:

    I want to die…..

    • Peter says:

      So they stop buying from the Faroe Islands but source the same stuff from Norway which condones and indulges in the practice of whaling? How is that better?

  2. christinr edwards says:

    Shame on you Faroe peoples.

  3. Linda says:

    I want them to die

  4. Linda says:

    This needs to stop!!!

  5. This is a big crime! No to the murdere of inocente animals! If Oceanas died we died!

  6. Karen Fitzsimmons says:

    Oh please stop. Children are brainwashed into thinking this is ok. It’s not ok and it’s not necessary. Especially the way is done. Slowly an calously. You are barbarians.

  7. Sally says:

    Every restaurant I went into in South Carolina had Faroe Isnad salmon on the menu ( also called “Atlantic” salmon). Most people have no idea what they are eating and don’t bother to ask.

  8. theodore fairhurst says:

    Great job to end this wholesale slaughter. What primitive behavior. Fortunately we have the moral commitment of individuals and Sea Shepherd to go the distance to save such wonderful creatures.
    Bravo.

  9. Liana Dean says:

    We should just bomb the whole damn island. If they go our into the ocean why not just fish instead of having a God Damn slaughter. It’s a barbaric act that should be banned.

  10. Maggie says:

    This prove that humans are number one predator on earth.
    With the highest intelligence that is unhumane.
    Shame on those people doing cruelty.

  11. marilyn corrado says:

    I dont eat salmon but will share the post

  12. Maurice Hinton says:

    Costco, have a conscience, AND act on it.

  13. Jay says:

    I am boycotting Costco in Melbourne as of today, however I doubt they will change a thing as the majority of members in this area are Asian

  14. Mel spenfer says:

    This makes me sick

  15. Costco needs to do it. They have the power to save this unnecessary killing. Boycott Costco until they listen

  16. Gillian says:

    Absolutely brutal and unnecessary. Boycott Cosco and use people power till they get the message.

  17. Patricia Maxfield says:

    what a horrific and archaic practice….and they call themselves ‘human’ beings…disgusting….a ban should certainly be in place

  18. DONE, after watching this gruesome video, I will NO LONGER buy Costco salmon. This is so damn cruel, I can not in good conscience support this.

  19. Cheryl says:

    This is just plane murder!! And must be stopped !!!!!

  20. byung min says:

    Why Costco? Is that particular item Costco exclusive item? I mean is that item only Costco selling? If not you guys making mistake also that is not fair at all. You guys getting so good product so cheap which is getting not only getting good product but also saving a lot of money from Costco after that getting this kind ideas I really don’t know what to tell you. I’ll tell you what if you really believe you got something good from Costco you need something paying back to Costco instead of boycott something. Thanks

  21. Mo says:

    If you read the end of the article you will see that Costco is not renewing their contract to purchase salmon from Faroe Islands. Bravo!

    • John Fiske says:

      People don’t read past a few lines anymore. Welcome to ‘Merca. We have the anti-intellectual conservatives to thank for that.

  22. Ryland says:

    Why are people still eating farmed salmon anyway? Here’s yet another spread on to buy wild, sustainably caught Pacific salmon.

  23. Trygvi says:

    What EU benefits do the Faroes receive?

  24. Staffan says:

    the ppl on the faroe Isands should be treated the same way as the whales. fking c*nts!

  25. judy chard says:

    This is too sad. There is no excuse that it is tradition. Lots of traditions are stopped when we realise we are human and not barbarians !

  26. margaret freeman says:

    why destroy such beutifull creatures

  27. Rhona Shaw says:

    I feel sick after viewing this.

  28. Johanna says:

    Europe!!! Shame on you Brussel? Are you sleeping?

  29. Iris Temmerman says:

    Sadistic Idiots!

  30. Cher says:

    It sounds to me like they’re doing it for money, not for food for their survival like they claim. They’re argument for it is a lie

  31. Lisa says:

    This ‘grind’ is not culturally ethical now it is just plain barbaric and shameful practice

  32. Regin says:

    This article is stupid. As are 90% of all the comments. The islands should be bombed and the faroese people should be killed?
    These whales are not endangered. The faroese people are fishermen. They eat these whales to survive. They would not kill them if they would go extinct. They could eat cows, pigs etc.and let this meat be shipped, and thus use tons of oil.

    And that would be better killing cows and pigs because we do not see this.

  33. Lara says:

    Respect all creatures! Humans don’t deserve more rights than animals!

  34. Eleanor Peterson says:

    It’s a ridiculous atrocity, especially in this day and age! If they don’t need to eat them to survive, they shouldn’t be killing them! All companies should boycott them and governments need to put more pressure on them to stop that brutal insanity!

  35. Pat says:

    This constitutes a level of hypocrisy from the EU that is difficult to even contemplate. Savagery is the thought that comes to mind.

  36. olav nooitgedagt says:

    Skamm dokk! Norwegian for shame on you!

  37. Rock says:

    Aside from the,slaughter, even if you eat Salmon, you have no business putting farmed in your body…unless ya do not care about your health. Pay for “wild”, and be healthier.

  38. David O says:

    Wait, you ask for a boycott knowing that most people will skim the headline but if you read the story you discover that Costco is already ending buying of salmon from Faroe Island fish farmers, who aren’t even involved in the whale/dolphin slaughter.

    So Costco isn’t involved – the fish farmers aren’t involved – Costco is already going to stop buying from the fish farmers – but I’m still supposed to boycott Costco?!?!

  39. Linda Bonner says:

    IF YOU PUT THESE PICTURES ON COSTCO’S WALLS, NO ONE WOULD BUY THE SALMON. NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THIS. IT NEEDS TO STOP!

  40. SalmonEater says:

    I love salmon fuck you watson. goto hell all of you fucker.

  41. SalmonEater says:

    go to hell watson hope all of your crew fucking die horrorble deaths

  42. Jon says:

    I’ve got to agree with Regin. These comments are little more than rank hypocrisy. You guys are okay with the wholesale slaughter of salmon, cows, pigs etc and some of you are calling for murder. Read about this practice from other sources before commenting. This hunt is done in a sustainable way and the food gathered is shared among the islanders, at no cost.

  43. Kristjan says:

    They are simply Fishermen trying to feed their family. It seems they don’t kill more then they can use.

  44. Lonnie says:

    Bill Mardon, responded to the boycott with the following statement:
    “Costco Wholesale buys a tiny portion of its farmed salmon from the Faroe Islands. Because of our progress in sourcing from other countries (including Norway), we previously determined that our members would see better value if we discontinued the Faroe sourcing. Pre-existing commitments to the Faroe supplier, which we are advised has not participated in the whale fishery, are being honored but not renewed. We express no view on activities of the citizens of Faroe that are unrelated to our product sourcing.”——Costco has stringent standards & would never support a supplier that did this! Why do we need to boycott Costco when they refuse to deal with suppliers that participate in this brutal practice! Why aren’t we boycotting the companies that do get their supplies from them?!

  45. Dick Hulls says:

    Boycott or not it should still be stopped. We are slowly killing this planet and everything in it.

  46. Disgusting! I can’t even look at it for a long time. It’s extremely sad some people still don’t realize in 2016 how intelligent these animals are and how lucky we are to be able to share this planet with them and to admire them. I hope this sensibilization and boycott campaign from Sea Shepherd will raise awareness and change the mentalities in the Faroe Islands.

  47. daliatauber says:

    My goodness

  48. Ian M says:

    This isn’t the most horrific crime, although it must rank near the top. We kill our own kind AND waste the meat.

  49. Eric says:

    Speak up against the practice of indiscrimate killing of whales and dolphins!
    If Costco is really no longer involved they should speak up publicly or get boycotted!
    They deserve the boycot for their previous irresponsible support of these money making practices. We need and we want responsible consumers and responsible corporations, non responsible deserve to go bust.

  50. Boycottheignoranthypocrites says:

    People are such hypocrites. Once it’s an animal that isn’t a cow,pig or chicken it’s barbaric and the whale fishers must die? Damn, yall be complainin about animal cruelty and boycotting a a tiny islands tradition while eating your mcnuggets and steaks.

  51. ladan says:

    We need to stop this brutal killing of these sacred animals. How can we start a petition to stop this?

  52. judy Jenner says:

    Some humans wont be happy until they’ve completely wiped out our beautiful wildlife, kill the murdering humans offers i say any fees them to the fish

  53. corinna fountoukidou says:

    Omg please stop this…its so crule..please stop it..

  54. Tia says:

    Thank you Costco for your action to discontinue buying Faroe Island salmon. This is the only way we can save the whales and dolphins. We pollute the oceans and now we humans slaughter the beautiful creatures that try to survive in the oceans.

  55. Ben Cathey says:

    The author doesn’t bother to mention what alternative the Faroese have as an island people. They harvest these animals, I assume, from the seas surrounding their (is)land. Just like people all over the world do both wild and farmed animals.

    I purposely chose NOT TO WATCH the heart-rending videos of these magnificent creatures, because it’s an emotional control effort. I prefer not to be manipulated by a one-sided reporter.

    I’ve been a certified diver all my life, and love the creatures. Where I have a problem is with people who do stupid things like fun sharks for soup, kill elephants for ivory artifacts, Tigers for penises coz it supposedly makes a man stronger sexually. That is condemnable.

  56. KIRSTIE JORGENSEN says:

    Boycotted them along time ago.

  57. SCP says:

    There actually is quite a difference between killing these animals and the cow, pigs, chickens etc.,
    Our ‘domestic’ animals are raised in an environment meant for food production with carefully controlled methods of reproduction, growing and processing. We know that food production has a large environmental cost that is coming to light more and more, but the effect to complex ecological life cycles is minimal. In other words, our domestically produced food animals do not participate in or have direct effects on ecological lifecycles of other species.

    These wild caught killed dolphins and orcas DO have significant impacts on ecological lifecycles and as top predators their impact is far reaching. The oceans are changing in ways we are not able to fully appreciate and while populations are estimated, the real impact of harvesting these species is just that, an estimate. We are acidifying the oceans, polluting them to points of great stress and this delicate web of interconnectivity is quite complex and not well understood.

    So yes, there is a difference between a cow, pig, chicken and wild caught dolphins.

    The stress to these intelligent animals during the kill is horrifying and I for one do not agree with it.

    However, Costco is not the bad guy here and they have addressed the concerns and taken steps that are commendable.

  58. Just to inform you all, that SS nor it´s mentally ill leader, the fake “captain”, the deported convicted criminal danish/canadian Paul Watson has nothing what so ever to do with COSTCO´s switch from Faroe Islands to Norway!

    Please take a look which date this article is published:

    http://addictedtocostco.com/2015/03/26/costco-moving-farmed-salmon-contracts-to-norway/

  59. SCP: Ignorance isn´t a mental state -it´s a choice!

  60. Ignorance isn´t a mental state -it´s a choice!

  61. Rhys hughes says:

    Organic, free range, wild caught. All sounds good to me. As they say, pollution and environmental degradation are of greater effect than the grind. I noticed an awful lot of polypropylene, plastic and petrochemical products in use. Notice the lovely timber boats of the Faroe islanders? We really have to ask who is going down the wrong path here.

  62. Rhys says:

    SCP, your comment that domestically raised animals don’t have impact upon wild stocks is absolute rubbish. What are farmed salmon fed? Wild caught pilchards. You poor fool.

  63. mike says:

    The faroe islands have a population of 50k. That’s not much more than my small rural town. Now I would agree this tradition is unnecessary and marine mammals need as much help as we can give but this small industry has no comparison to the destruction our society does on a daily basis.

  64. Anyone ever see what Japan does to the whales? The Sea Shepherd & their other ships used to follow the Japanese ships in order to disrupt the brutal killing of these beautiful animals. Ever see what they do to the sharks? While were at it, we should ALL be concerned about the habitat we are forcing our sea life to live in. That is killing more than the whales & is mostly preventable . Anyone who is concerned about what is happening in our oceans, or to their occupants should watch “SONIC SEA at sonic sea.org/learn That will really give you something to think about. It really made me think.

  65. Kimberly Allen says:

    QVC is selling salmon from the Foroe Islands, I just saw the segment on air.

  66. FUck Feroe says:

    I hope ISIS kills all feroe people. They dont deserve to live. Kill them with eye balls out of their sockers, tongue cut and burn them to the stake. !!!!!

  67. May God Almighty bless the efforts of Sea Shepherd’s crews, staff and supporters to stop all of this wanton needless killing of cetaceans in the Foroyar/Faroese archipelago. Trust the locals will open their hearts and realize the Grindarap is as morally wrong as present day Bullfights,… I feel this change is not far away, but meanwhile the pressure by means of boycott, exposure in the media, campaingns must continue,… Pls remember that Sea Shepeherd is the only NGO that tackles these abominable practices hands-on and head-on,… Support Sea Shepherd !! Who else is out there to carry the fight for the sake of victimized cetaceans ??

  68. chicken says:

    you don’t know what you have till its gone

  69. Don’t buy ANY Atlantic salmon! Most of it is farmed and the rest is unsustainably caught. My preference is wild Alaskan salmon because although the fry are hatched and raised in hatcheries they are released to the wild to mature at sea and are harvested mostly by small purse seiners not long net ships as you see here. Since the Pacific salmon return in schools there is very little by catch.

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