The Grind

The Grind

2015, Environment  -   37 Comments
Ratings: 8.92/10 from 131 users.

"We have an outdoor slaughterhouse," a voice informs us in the opening moments of the new documentary The Grind. In the Faroe Islands, which lie in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Norway, the majestic blue oceans often turn crimson with tides of blood. With little agriculture and wildlife at their disposal, the Faroe Islands have long looked to the sea for their main source of nourishment and commerce. This results in the widespread slaughter of whales and other sea life in a practice known as "the grind." While the grind has been a tradition on the islands for nearly a thousand years, it has recently spurred the ire of animal rights activists all over the world, who look upon the murder of these beautiful creatures with great disdain and protest.

One such activist is Lamya Essemlali, who serves as president of Sea Shepherd France, an organization that patrols the waters in the region in an effort to protect whales from such abuses. Joined by hundreds of additional volunteers from all over the world, they formed a campaign called Operation Grind Stop. "What's happening here is something that's easy to stop if we have the will," Lamya says. But rallying that willpower among the locals proves to be a great challenge. Most are vehemently opposed to what they view as the group's unwelcomed incursion upon their way of life and means of survival. "You are not activists, you are terrorists!" cries one protester during a town hall meeting.

While The Grind makes the brutality of whaling jarringly clear from reels of footage dating back many decades, the film also offers the opposing point of view from the Faroese people themselves. "Grind is a part of a much bigger picture," says Kjartan Hoydal, a marine ecologist and native islander. "We only have the sea to depend on and we can't accept that the world goes in a direction that we can't use those resources."

The Grind is a thoughtfully assembled examination of the battle between what some view as a necessary way of life, and the pursuit by others to promote ecological and humane responsibilities.

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37 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Pie

    I wouldn't mind if it was just fish, but these creatures are sentient beings with high intelligence. your cultur and way of life is wrong. stop be conservative about your bad culture and adapt please. We made our black pete's non-black too (so now all the kids recognize its their dad so it not work at all but hey) if we can do it you can do it too!

  2. Jabba LeChat

    It's food...

  3. Matthew Adams

    Beautiful film about community coming together for the common goal of providing for each other. Amazing!

  4. Max

    Made me wanna harpoon vegans

  5. Bob

    It's no wonder our culture(s) are so barbaric. Stop slaughtering animals, from the sea or the land. Until we live with the animal world and stop exploiting it, we are on a path to complete destruction of all nature, including ourselves.

  6. Christine Holman

    I like this documentary. And although, I think the point was to get you to think the grind should be stopped, I think that the life these people live is far more sustainable then the life of the majority of the world. They are a community, they get what they need from the land, they look out for everyone in their community. Honestly, I think we need to be more concerned with people who don't have food or with the mass industry of slaughter-houses that are polluting the land and water around the world. To live, something must die. It is apart of the life cycle, and the natural food web. The people of this island, I think this could be of less concern and are fine.

  7. Erez

    Funny how no one mentioned the mega ships that kill the ocean every day. That the real problem is the mass slaughter of the world's oceans by the other mass consumers. Countries like China, Japan kill more fish in one day that this entire island for the entire year. Japan is busy overfishing now and cryo freezing the harvest to have for later since they know global shortages are less than 50 yrs away. Take care of the bigger problems, real problems that will produce real solutions. The oceans are full of drift nets that kill more fish each day again than this entire island. Commercial fishing is a barbaric unbias killing machine with over two-thirds of all fish killed in trawlers are not even eaten and just thrown overboard. These guys eat everything and let nothing to waste. The Sheppard should find a real battle to fight. This documentary was a joke. The people of the island are already advice not to eat as much whale meat for health reasons by their doctors.

  8. Me

    So these French go to another country to tell them how to live? They do not kill just to kill. They dont kill them to profit to point that they make the whales die out. They say themselves that the Grind is a very small portion of slaughter of the whales. Since they cannot fight BIG FOOD suppliers, lets just come over here and bug the few who arent really hurting anyone. Even with the amount of whales they kill, I bet that whole region's carbon foot print is substantially smaller than the protesters. Leave them be. They are not primitive or horrible. Theyre slaughtering whales! OH NO! Um, billions of animals are slaughtered and mutated to feed us. Who is wrong?

  9. Rahul

    people who support this killing has just one reason to justify it.. TASTE.. animals are not the only food resource.. watch Earthlings documentary and peter singer videos before deciding about food resource..

  10. Veljko

    Hi, guys. Here's a word form future enviromental and GIS analysist - In the past humans didn'e eat meat so frequently because it was a bit hard to catch your prey in that period, so meat was considered a special meal for special occasions. Nowdays, you can get meat on every step (?!). When i heard the population of Faroe Islands is 15000 and that they killed 1300 whales (whos population is about 800000) for FOOD in 2014., i thought it was fair. It's hard to live on an island where you can't grow anything and only thing you do is herding sheep. There's no doubt that Sea Shepard meant only good, but it's BIG Trawler ships they should be after, not few countrymen which are trying to survive another year. And, for the end, do you vegans and vegeterians think that lion should not kill and eat zebra or that wolf should not kill and eat deer? Is there a need for prohibition laws for all carnivores in the world so the nonecarnivore beings may enjoy their life? I think meat should be eaten only on special occasions or once-twice a week, if you have various choices of food... if not, you're not going to starve, that's for sure. Cheers!

  11. Steve

    The islanders should just eat the sea shepherds, problem solved....

  12. jiggajigga

    what kind of uppity fools would go to someone else's country and try and interfere with their cultural traditions? ignorant french fool of a woman, she should stay in france and protest all the barbaric things the french do to animals, for example force feeding birds fat in tubes down their throats until their livers explode, and then eating them. stupid hypocrites. these people are killing whales for food, they don't torture them, unlike the birds used in foie gras.

    1. Elizabeth Sohler

      Uppity fools have been doing this for centuries. It's not new.

  13. Lisa

    This documentary is about the Faroe Island Grind, located north of the UK, near the Arctic Circle. The Falkland Islands are off of the East Coast of South America, literally across the world. Sorry to nit-pik but it's sort of a big deal.

    As far as the Grind is concerned, what I saw didn't appear at all "barbaric." They caught and killed 33 Whales in a very civilized fashion. They cleaned, cut, and split the meat for food. Nothing went to waste and detailed records are kept. Do I think that killing thousands of whales is unnecessary? Yes. But there is no reason that a the people of the Faroe shouldn't be granted the right to continue their tradition. A reasonable compromise would be to put a cap on the number of whales they are allowed to fish and a limited time frame in which to do it.

  14. Merino

    Just last week they were 900 Pilot Whales killed in a grind, Those who commit these killings and the one's who support such act's are in my eyes Total M*ron's.
    I don't care if it's part of there culture there is no way in hell to justify this.
    Long Live Sea Shepherd !

  15. FollowTheFacts

    ...amazingly well done documentary...I gave it nine...short and intense and hard to watch...Gave a good glimpse, also, of what is probably the most "tribal" form of living, "nordic style" in existence, so, very interesting for me as a scandinavian from that perspective as well...not a place I would want to live...Färöarna...
    The fact that something has been done for "hundreds of years" is not an argument that impresses me, but I have seen how animals are treated "on land" in scandinavia as well, so it's a difficult topic to try to sort out...
    In california, where I live, things are certainly not better, but in most respects worse from what I have witnessed...
    A fine documentary this is....

  16. TomazZzz

    So I understand that it is important to protect whales... but this is this peoples way of life, its their food.. Why don't this whale shepurths go to japan where they kill that much of whales per day?? just for the fat? the rest they toss over the board.. why?
    Because its much more easy to screw around with few thousand then few millions, thats why.

    1. Todd Morrow

      Because the situation has changed. Those people have the internet, phones, they are just being stubborn. They don't need to kill whales to survive. Just go to the grocery store! smh

    2. gus

      And get whale killed by someone else...

  17. Native

    Unfortunately, what I see in the comments is mostly ignorance of history, sustainable lifestyles, indigenous native life. Because the educational systems in some parts of the world is so lacking when it comes to other cultures around the world, most people know nothing of what it means to the future of this planet to have knowledge of indigenous living. Many catastrophes have happened throughout the history of this planet and scientists believe we are overdue for another and since they are cyclical in nature for the most part, it is not a question of if but when. If that happens, where will you be with your technology, your supermarkets? Not as well off as the ones who live close to the earth and sea I would venture to guess.

    1. dewflirt

      Morning Native :) Wondering how big your catastrophic event is? Seems to me that we barely get from one years end to the next without some sort of natural disaster wiping out hundreds, if not thousands of people. Those that survive the event and its immediate aftermath do so because the world chips in and gives aid, because of technology, medicine etc. What exactly do you mean by sustainable lifestyles? Do you mean we should all eat less and grow more food for ourselves, that sort of thing? I dare say most people would love to do that, if they had the land to do it. Not sure how the hunting and fishing would work out, can't have millions of people lined up along river banks hoping for trout, and its just not safe to let them all loose in the woods with weapons of fluffy destruction - though that might be a way to reduce the population a bit ;) I do agree that we all take more than is necessary and want more than a fair share but I don't at all believe that we have to give up all of the good stuff (bubble bath, coffee and WiFi) in order to live better. Oh, and I'm not giving up nail varnish either, sorry :)

    2. Native

      Morning dewflirt :) nice to meet you. Immediately what we are
      witnessing, is smaller disasters (altho the people involved probably
      don't see it that way). Global warming, which is a normal cyclical event
      that has happened many times in the past, in fact the whole solar
      system is warming not just Earth, is a gradual event and one of the
      things I have noticed is that instead of accepting it as a natural
      passage, it is seen as a manmade disaster. Humans have certainly shat on
      their earth home with factory farms, pesticde use, and so called
      "fossil fuel", but the warming would have taken place in any case,
      that's no excuse for poisoning our Earth home, tho. Our solar system
      rotates around the central sun of our Milky Way Galaxy and it is
      elliptical in it's rotation thus we are closer to the central sun at
      certain points than at others. Ice core samples have shown us past
      warming cycles. We have ice ages periodically. We have had disasters on a
      huge scale in the history of this planet such as when the dinosaurs
      became extinct. If we were to suffer a disaster on such a scale,
      technology probably wouldn't be of much help. As long as we have enough
      people willing to live close to land and sea, the earth will continue to
      repopulate. Because so many indigenous people have been made to depend
      on civilization in order to survive, they no longer depend on their
      knowledge of living off the land and rolling with natural disasters. In
      my State, I see this. Warming of the planet has caused coastlines to
      change and homes to fall into the sea and thus a whole village must be
      relocated and this is dependent upon government aid. If the people were
      living closer to the land as they were in centuries past, the whole
      village would simply pack up and move further inland but they are now
      dependent upon living in stick built homes and using "fossil fuels" to of the modern world....People who live close to
      land and sea tend to be more in tune with Earth. The things that help
      people survive during worldwide disasters is not technology but knowing
      how to be self sustaining. It is encouraging to see more and more city
      gardening but that alone will not help a city dweller survive. Look at
      what happens in winter months when there is a huge power failure in
      highly populated creates a tremendous strain on resources as
      well as being very stressful to the people who have to go thru it
      because most of them are not prepared. I'm just saying that it might be a
      beneficial thing if people were more conscious of the benefits of
      community living and practicing living closer to earth and sea so that
      when disasters do happen they have the knowledge it takes to survive.
      When people stopped living in small sustainable communities, they lost
      knowledge of survival as a group and as individuals.

  18. edgedweller

    would make sense to move somewhere sustainable, what are they doing living in the middle of nowhere living a life of a common 7th century barbarian? whats the hope on their children? to be little barbarians until they grow up and learn to slaughter animals? bravo...ultimately this is what will hold humanity off from progressing on to our next evolutionary process - we're not even remotely close to activating 'junk' dna, our referal to the unknown as 'junk' says it all really...odds on we'll destroy the world before we do.

  19. dewflirt

    Their recommended intake is so small that I wonder why they bother eating it at all, must have huge freezers to store the leftovers. Its all a bit blood thirsty for my liking but then, is there a friendly way to drag a passing whale from its element and chop its head off? I wonder if there is chat amongst the whale communities about mysterious pod disappearances, do they pass the Faeroes heart in mouth watching for a danger they don't recognise even as it bops them on the head.

  20. June Ribaldi

    very diffcult to watch I am a Ocean girl I AM IN THE WATER DAILY NO i DO NOT EAT FISH OR ANYTHING THAT HAS A BEATING HEART I SUGGEST THOSE who EAT ANIMALS WATCH COWSPIERCY ----- THEY WILL CERTANILY NEVER LOOK AT THEIR STEAKS AN HAMBURGERS AGAIN Thank you all here for posting The Grind Wish some day Cowspieu my messengerrcy is here for te masses to see I have shared it thr and people are thanking me fr sharing

  21. Native

    Where do people think their meat at the supermarket comes from? Do they think it magically appears from some unknown source, that there are not factory farms that keep animals in tortuous conditions, that the beef they eat comes from animals that live in heavenly conditions? Wake up! These people use bounty from the sea as their food source just as the northwest Natives of Alaska do, just as the Natives of Alaska have a yearly whale and seal and caribou hunts not to mention the subsistence fishing. Is not all that a bloody mess, too? Does an animal have to be less than a whale in order to be considered an acceptable food source to the natives of the countries where whale is a food source? If people want to do something about keeping whale populations in higher, healthy numbers then regulate the industries in all whaling countries not the subsistence whale hunts and make sure that as much as the whale as possible is used so that waste is at a minimum in those countries that have industrialized whaling.

    1. edgedweller

      this is a prehistoric mindset, this is part of our past, not future

    2. TheUprising

      LOL what a condescending comment. Prehistoric to kill your own food? Maybe prehistoric to grow your own vegetables, maybe marry the opposite sex?

      Sure sure no worries, you will live great on tube food and vitamins.

    3. edgedweller

      Killing sentient beings is part of the past. Mind over matter. Those with small minds will not see it - will not be sustainable. The age of light is upon us after 26000 years of darkness.The evolution of consciousness is unrelenting.

    4. TheUprising

      No, killing "sentient beings" (which includes vegetables) continues to this day. People with retarded, distorted, bleeding heart minds cannot see this. As to what consciousness is evolving, that is pure speculation, but looks to me it is evolving to thin skin, frail minds, square eyes, and a denial of facts heretofore unsurpassed.

  22. alvin v

    plain and simple --food-- gotta eat--don't like it --don't eat it

    1. Native

      I agree. As long as it is their food source and is not slaughtered as a commercial enterprise that has no care for protecting and regulating the whale source, it should be left alone. Regulate the hell out of commercial whaling but leave the subsistence hunters alone!

  23. Richard Neva

    This film is too disgusting to watch! Those poor creatures and so human like to me I cannot take it. What a shame that those people do that!

  24. AprilOneal

    This is the best kind of doc... they show both sides and leave me to decide what my take is. I get the feeling the people of the Falklands are closer to, and more a part of nature than western culture, and either they aren't understood, or they are slowly being willfully forced to westernize. If only tribes like these had foreknowledge of their future suppression, and done something to stop the pollution of their beautiful way of life.

  25. Nickolas

    hmm interesting they have to do it because there is nothing else to eat while drinking a BEER! What a liar! Something tells me that beer was not made from wild plants on the bay. Also whales are not organic, they contain 10,000 plus industrial chemicals. I hope these people die off soon, sadly the whales will die off first.

    1. Blodbadet

      Dont be too sure bout that! Never underestimate the human stupidity..

    2. heros_r_pigs_too

      yeah never underestimate human stupidity. a-la your comment. the "liar...drinking a beer" made it clear that they try to get their food locally and his point as to the ecological impact of eating local as opposed to shipping in larger and larger amounts of industrial agricultural products is as valid as any made in the documentary. yeah he has a beer but he also didn't sound too happy about the infiltration of western/technilogical culture as a whole. again he has a beer but i would tend to agree that food independence is number one. you can live with out beer if need be, so why talk about something like that with as much immediacy as something that if industrial agriculture ceased to operate you would die without (i.e beer vs a sustainable food practice). your point about the 10,000 industrial chemicals in a whale is pointless, we are putting industrial chemicals in EVERYTHING, including the food that would need to be shipped in, so don't blame this guy for wanting to eat a whale and not a rbgh cow etc etc.

      you and sea sheperd sound pretty facist to me, you want them dead and sea sheperd "doesn't give a damn" who you are and why you are eating whale they want "illegal" whaling to stop. the implication that if it is a business/government sanctioned "reasonable" and "legal" slaughter or through the apparently unavoidable and unchangeable pollution, sea sheperd doesn't really see any reason to try to effect that. rather attack a small traditional culture. so clearly he likes some whaling just not the kind that oppose globalized food systems .

      glad you guys are gonna solve the ecological problem with oppression and homogenization. i applaud sea sheperd as they attack japanese industrial whaling but they are targeting people who are practicing a 1000 year old tradition and they think they are gonna effect overhunting?

      and again this woman saying we can't stop the "accidental" death of whales through pollution and your "10,000 industrial chemicals" but we can stop them, underneath the liberal activism reads: sea sheperd and people like you aren't willing to give up your comfortable industrial food system so instead of taking responsibility for the destruction that the industrial food system puts on the earth they want to go out and stop a few thousand people on an island who hunt whales once a year and force upon them industrial agricultural products.

      i'm sure all the people in the southern half of the globe who lose their ecological systems, food independence, ways of life, culture, and homes to help nurture our food dependence, will be happy to hear they have to feed another 50,00 people and not their own.

      the logic you follow leads only to fascism that herds millions of people into identical cities in very specific locations in order to increase the efficiency of control. ever see the studies with rats and monkeys when you put too many in small areas? lets just say its shockingly relevant. and just because a person (or other animal) kills an animal it doesn't mean that they are destroying the ecological balance. and for what its worth i am a vegetarian.

      jesus christ i was about to end my post but then i heard pam anderson talking and i don't want to talk about what she said because its too loaded but i mean come if more kids are out hurting animals than are inside playing games or on their phones. sounds like she might have crossed her cause and effect wires. seems to me pam that when people had more interaction with nature they had more respect for it and human life.