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Sea Shepherd crew members released

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A total of 14 volunteer crew members of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s pilot whale defence campaign Operation GrindStop 2014 arrested on Saturday in the Faroe Islands today have been released.

As of Sunday morning, all 14 Sea Shepherd crew have been released. The six volunteers from the land team must return to court tomorrow, Monday, September 1. The eight members of the boat team have been told to return to court on September 25. Postponing the court date until that time allows the police to hold the three Sea Shepherd boats until the end of September, as they are being held for "evidence." All video and still camera data cards were removed by police and are still being held. Sea Shepherd attorneys are working to have them returned as well.

The members of the onshore team led by Sea Shepherd USA and the offshore team led by Sea Shepherd France were arrested as they attempted to protect a pod of 33 pilot whales from the brutal mass slaughter known as the "grindadrap" or "grind."

Sea Shepherd was on the scene immediately, but as the pod was driven in from very close to shore, there was little time to prevent the slaughter. The panicked pilot whales thrashed in the water and could be heard screaming in pain as the water turned red with blood.

"The 14 brave, dedicated volunteers who risked their own safety to put themselves between a pod of pilot whales and their killers have been released today," said Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson. "They are not criminals, but heroes. It is Denmark, an ‘anti-whaling’ EU member nation, that has acted in blatant defiance of the law by protecting this heinous massacre of whales."

Despite being a member nation of the European Union and subject to laws prohibiting the slaughter of cetaceans, Denmark has officially shown its support of - and now direct collaboration with - the Faroese whalers by sending the Royal Danish Navy to defend this archaic, mass slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands alongside Faroese police. Denmark’s Navy seized three Sea Shepherd small boats - Loki, the Mike Galesi, and the B.S. Sheen (sponsored by actor Charlie Sheen) - and their crew were arrested and flown to Torshavn by Royal Danish Navy helicopter.

In another sickening display of total disregard for life, the whale killers have left pilot whale meat and fins, believed to be from yesterday’s kill, to rot on the ground. At the whale processing facility, Sea Shepherd volunteers today discovered discarded whale flesh, as well as tiny fins that appear to be from babies taken from their mother’s wombs, simply left as garbage. The crew described the stench in the area of the discarded flesh as "unbearable." Pregnant female, infant and juvenile whales are often killed in grind hunts, as the Faroese whalers wipe out entire pods and generations at a time.

Sea Shepherd also recently discovered discarded whale flesh from a slaughtered pod of beached bottlenose whales dumped at sea by the Faroese whalers, capturing images and footage with its drone force. Once again, these whalers have shown the deceptiveness of their own claim that they need to eat cetacean meat to survive. If this were true, why would they be dumping whale meat?

Sea Shepherd has led the opposition against the slaughter of cetaceans in the Faroe Islands since the 1980s, and today our goal remains the same: to bring the archaic grind to a complete stop. Launched in June, Operation GrindStop 2014, is Sea Shepherd’s largest Faroe Islands campaign to date. The multi-national land- and sea-based campaign features hundreds of volunteers who will be present in the Faroe Islands over the course of four months to defend pilot whales and other species of small cetaceans from the brutal and archaic mass slaughter known as the "grind."

This weekend’s slaughter was the first grind hunt to take place in the more than 80 days that Sea Shepherd has patrolled the islands. The campaign spans the traditionally bloodiest months of the hunt season.

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