SA woman arrested for standing in way of slaughter

29 July 2015 - 02:09 By Shanaaz Eggington

A Cape Town animal rights activist with marine wildlife conservation organisation Sea Shepherd Global is facing a two-year prison term after breaking the "grind law" on the Faroe Islands. Rosie Kunneke was arrested last Thursday along with several other members of the organisation for interfering with the "Grind" or "Grindadráp" - the traditional culling of pilot whales and dolphins in the autonomous Danish province.The recently passed Faroese Pilot Whaling Act, which extends to tourists, stipulates that visitors to the islands must report all sightings of whales and dolphins to local authorities, so that the cetaceans can be herded into shallow bays and slaughtered with a spinal lancet. Those who fail to obey the law face a fine of up to 25000 Faroese króna (about R41000) or prison time.Kunneke, who is leading the land operations for the organisation's pilot whale defence campaign, said yesterday: "I was aware that there was a strong possibility that I could be arrested, but my only thought was for the whales who were going to be cruelly slaughtered."Pictures of her arrest at Bøur, along with fellow Sea Shepherd Global member Christophe Bondue of Belgium, drew huge support on social media."We were planning to put our own bodies between the whales and islanders, but police tackled us to the ground," she said.It took three policemen to hold Kunneke down as islanders armed with knives, hooks and spinal lances stormed the pod of whales. Her fellow volunteers captured footage of the slaughter of about 150 whales that day.She said: "After our arrest we were taken to Torshavn police station where we were kept in a holding cell until we were transferred to prison on Thursday evening. We were released on Friday afternoon after they interrogated us and confiscated our passports. But I will do it all again in a heartbeat. We need to stand up for these animals."Kunneke believes that, instead of being fined or jailed, she will be deported after her next court appearance.

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