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There Are Better Ways the Faroe Islands Can Attract Tourists Than Live Whale Butchering


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Look, the bottom line is pretty simple, really: If you’re that upset about it, don’t eat whale. What could be simpler?

This was the takeaway from what recently became Reason No. 492,484 why ocean cruises are a bad idea. Unless you like ocean cruises of course, in which case knock yourself out.

“A British cruise line has apologized to passengers who witnessed the slaughter of nearly 80 pilot whales in the Faroe Islands on Sunday,” The Washington Post reported, after “Ambassador Cruise Line guests arrived at the port in the capital of Torshavn, where a traditional hunt had turned the sea red. Hunters used motorboats and a helicopter to corral the whales in a beach nearby before dragging them with hooks and butchering them with knives.”

Oops. This is like taking a holiday cruise up Antietam Creek on Sept. 17, 1862. You don’t want that.

“We were incredibly disappointed that this hunt occurred at the time that our ship was in port,” Ambassador tweeted. (We) have offered our sincere apologies to all those onboard who may have witnessed this distressing occurrence.”

Of course you could say that a “distressing occurrence” happens every minute of every day in an American Tysons Foods plant, but I guess it’s different on a cruise, where your stomach is already distended to the breaking point, and a sea of blood and guts can rapidly get everything moving in the wrong direction.

Still, if your company is forced to tweet about slaughter on a Sunday morning, you know that somewhere a marketing director has broken his pledge about day drinking.

But no more so than the Faroe Islands visitors bureau, which is working to promote the archipelago as a destination for hiking, nature and sustainable tourism, and proudly features this unfortunate quote from a travel piece by Jo Ellison of the Financial Times on its website: “Everything about the Faroe Islands is extreme and slightly bonkers.”

Jo appears to have nailed it.

The tourism office didn’t respond to a request for comment, probably because it is passed out on its break room floor, but the Faroese government tried to straddle the issue by suggesting that, while the public butchery might not be the greatest idea in these modern times, it’s OK because it’s a tradition that dates back to the 1500s.

Right, and so does the iron maiden, but we’ve sort of, you know, gotten past that.

The government issued a statement saying that tourism and whaling taking place side by side “does not cause concern for the government, although whale drives can be a dramatic sight for spectators unfamiliar with the slaughter of mammals.”

Yikes. Implying that this whole affair is the fault of a bunch of woke cruise-ship sissies with weak stomachs probably isn’t going to win you a lot of repeat visitors. 

The cruise line went a bit further, saying that far from being what the government calls a “community event,” (like a Black Friday sale, but with less blood) it is “becoming commercial, with meats sold in local supermarkets,” which it urged people not to buy.

So that’s one more wholesome, family activity that’s been ruined by Big Whale.

And yet … without endorsing whale killing, I can feel for the local population of the Faroe Islands who were minding their own whale-butchering business when a shipload of tipsy, overstuffed Wayne Newton fans shows up, getting a collective case of the vapors over what the native islanders view as their heritage.

Some far-flung communities in remote global outposts have figured this out, trading in, say, cannibalism for alpaca mittens, which allows them to cash in on the visiting hoards instead of sending them away reeling at unsavory native customs.

Is that somehow better than effectively giving cruise lines the middle fin and telling tourists to like it or lump it? 

In the end though, both sides have the same message: Stop your blubbering.

Source: Herald Mail Media


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