«MANY FAROESE PEOPLE HAVE STOPPED EATING PILOT WHALE», says Faroese Chief Physician

21. Nov 2013

According to Pál Weihe, who is chief physician at the Department of Occupational and Public Health in the Faroese Hospital System, pilot whale is no longer fit for human consumption.

The Faroese people eat considerably less pilot whale than they did 30 years ago. Young women in particular refrain from eating pilot whale, and many Faroese children don´t know what pilot whale tastes like. The fact that the Faroese have rejected the traditional diet of pilot whale is reflected in research conducted to determine the concentration of mercury in their blood: The (mercury) contamination of pregnant women, children and young people no longer exceeds what one would find in other countries.

The story behind the recommendations that have changed the dietary habits of the Faroese people is long and chaotic. The main character is medical doctor and researcher Pál Weihe who has been criticized for daring to say anything negative about the traditional pilot whale hunt, which has kept the Faroese alive for centuries. In the mid-80s, Weihe worked together with Philippe Grandjean who is Professor of Environmental Medicine. Their aim was to investigate if Faroese children had been harmed by their mothers´ consumption of pilot whale. Weihe did not envision that the research would show any harmful effects, as the Faroese people have been eating pilot whale throughout thousands of years.

For the full story please open the attached PDF or click here.

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