‘Sustainable’ Traditions

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The Faroe Islands will limit its annual dolphin hunt after an “unusually” large number of animals were killed during last year’s whaling season, sparking global outrage over the age-old practice, Newsweek reported Monday.

The islands’ whaling season begins in the summer months, a tradition that dates back 1,200 years. During this time, hunters capture and kill dolphins – including pilot whales and white-sided dolphins – for their blubber and meat.

But last September, officials counted an “unusually large catch of 1,423” of white-sided dolphins, believed to be the largest single catch of cetaceans – a classification that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises – ever recorded worldwide.

Because of global criticism, the government conducted a review of the hunt.

Officials said this week that the hunt will now be limited to 500 dolphins per year, adding that the limit will make the hunt more sustainable. They also said that meat and blubber from the animals “provide valuable food with a low carbon footprint, which is distributed for free in communities involved in the hunt.

Animal welfare groups criticized the curb, saying the new rules were just “damage control.”

They added that authorities have failed to take into account the impact of the hunt on the marine mammals, which are known for forming complex social bonds and feeling stress and pain.

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