Five anti-whaling activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) have been sentenced to time in prison or ordered to pay fines for their role in attempting to disrupt the annual whale hunt on the Faroe Islands.
The activists were arrested for protesting the event on July 23 and attempting to hamper and document the horrific mass killings of the pilot whales on beaches in Bøur and Tórshavn on the Danish-owned islands.
Marianne Baldo of Italy, Kevin Schiltz of Luxembourg, Christophe Bondue of Belgium, Xavier Figarella of France and Rosie Kunneke of South Africa were all found guilty of violating the Faroese Pilot Whale Act, which prohibits putting obstacles in the way of whaling.
On Friday, a court ruled that the activists must pay between 5,000 and 35,000 Danish kroner (£475-£3,300) or spend 8-14 days in prison. The SSCS were also fined 75,000 kroner (£7,100).
The activists intend to appeal the verdict.
Speaking to AFP, Rosie Kunneke said:
We are immediately appealing the verdict and the sentences. If we fail in our appeals, we would rather do the time than pay a fine which would imply that we accepted the Pilot Whale Act.
Every year, an average of 800 pilot whales are slaughtered for their meat and blubber in the Faroe Islands, as fishermen use harpoons and knifes to hack the animals to death. Images from this year’s event taken by the SSCS were circulated widely two weeks ago, and many were outraged by the scenes.
The non-profit, marine wildlife conservation group Sea Shepherd have attempted to disrupt whale hunts on the islands since the 1980s, and we doubt this setback will discourage them from continuing to do so. You can find out more about their cause here.