THESE horrifying images show blood-soaked pilot whales strung up in front of locals gathered to celebrate the traditional massacre in the Faroe Islands.
Authorities in the remote spot have defended their actions after the graphic new images showing an entire pod of whales being massacred were released.
Last week, shocking footage taken by a British tourist captured hundreds of pilot whales being driven into a bay, where villagers waited with hooks and lances, eager to begin the bloodbath.
The whole ordeal – which turned the bay in Sandavágur red with blood as more than 180 whales dead were cut apart – lasted around an hour-and-a-half.
Children as young as five were snapped lending a hand, using hooked ropes to pull in the highly intelligent marine mammals and then jumping on the carcasses.
And new photos – taken by marine conservation group Sea Shepherd on Thursday – show the community in Hvannasund carrying out their own hunt, butchering around a dozen Atlantic white-sided dolphins as well as more than 80 pilot whales.
The practice has caused widespread disgust, with many campaigners claiming it should no longer be necessary in the 21st century.
But the Faroese government has since defended the ancient custom.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “Whaling is a natural part of Faroese life.
“There is no doubt that the pilot whale hunts are a dramatic sight to people unfamiliar with the hunts and slaughter of mammals.
“The hunts are, nevertheless, well organised and fully regulated.
“Faroese animal welfare legislation, which also applies to whaling, stipulates that animals shall be killed as quickly and with as little suffering as possible.
“All meat, including whale meat, involves the slaughter of animals. In the Faroe Islands, people are familiar with the local processes by which whales and sheep are killed for food.
“Faroese children grow up with an intimate knowledge and understanding of their natural environment, and it is considered natural for them to see and understand where the meat on their dinner plates comes from.”
He added: “It has long since been internationally recognised that pilot whale catches in the Faroe Islands are fully sustainable.
“Scientists estimate that the pilot whale population in the eastern North Atlantic is above 700,000 whales, with approximately 100,000 around the Faroe Islands.
“The long-term catch of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands has been around 800 a year.”
Pilot and beaked whales are massacred en masse in bays across the Danish-owned Faroe Islands annually as inhabitants prepare for the harsh winter months ahead.
The Faroese use boats to drive whole pods of the marine mammals towards the shore, where metal hooks are rammed into their blowholes and their spinal cords are severed using a lance.
In the latest footage, hunt participants – many of them young children – were snapped covered in the blood of their prey, the entire beach turned red.
Marine conservation group Sea Shepherd documented the slaughter – known as Grindadrap – carried out by the community in Hvannasund on Thursday.
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organisation whose mission is to try and defend the oceans and their inhabitants.
One watching crew member said: “As we waited for the pod to be driven onto the beach, local participants on the shore laid out line after line of rope with blunt hooks that would soon be used to drag pilot whales out of the water to be killed.
“The level of excitement amongst the locals was clear to see. Young children ran around playing as parents talked and laughed which seemed to be in total contradiction to the events that were about to unfold.
“As a whale was pulled from the water in front of me by multiple men that appear range from as young as 15 through to late 40s or older, the cries broke out.
“The sound of fear and panic was clear for all to hear, yet fell on deaf ears of the participants who continued to laugh and take pleasure from the brutality.
“Watching in horror as whale after whale was dragged from the water, crying and fluke kicking out to try and escape a death that appeared neither compassionate, humane or respectful.
“Witnessing this brutal macabre scene is soul destroying for anyone with even the smallest level of compassion for a sentient being.”
Another commented: “Today has been the hardest day I’ve endured.
“To have to stand by whilst around 100 pilot whales and white-sided dolphins are forced to shore then brutally killed in such a cruel and agonising way.
“I thought I was prepared with this not being my first visit to the Faroe Islands but how wrong I was, nothing can prepare you for this.”
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.