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Faroe Islands PM says role of dolphin hunts will be examined after killing sparks outcry

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By Euronews  with AP
White-sided dolphins lie dead on the Eysturoy beach after the slaughter on Sunday, September 12.
White-sided dolphins lie dead on the Eysturoy beach after the slaughter on Sunday, September 12.   -   Copyright  Sea Shepherd via AP

The Faeroese government has said it will review the role hunts of Atlantic white-sided dolphins play in society after a mass killing drew widespread criticism this week.

The release of gruesome video footage showing the slaughter of nearly 1,500 dolphins on Sunday sparked a global outcry.

The extent of the slaughter was so large — much higher than in previous years — that it appeared participants had not been able to follow the regulations to minimize the creatures' suffering.

In a statement on Thursday, Faroe Islands prime minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen said: "We take this matter very seriously.

"Although these hunts are considered sustainable, we will be looking closely at the dolphin hunts and what part they should play in Faeroese society."

Residents of the 18 islands, located halfway between Scotland and Iceland, kill white-sided dolphins and pilot wales for their meat and blubber.

Neither is an endangered species, but activists nonetheless rail against the practice on the basis of cruelty. A total of 1,428 dolphins are understood to have been killed on Sunday.

Sea Shepherd, the group that filmed the slaughter, did not immediately react to Thursday's announcement.