Faroese folk metal band Týr are currently touring Europe following the release of Hel, their eighth full-length studio album.
From a Týr point of view, the tour has not exactly been a bed of roses as three of their shows have been cancelled, as reported by Local.fo last Sunday.
Týr vocalist/guitarist Heri Joensen has openly defended the practice of whale hunting in the Faroe Islands, and this has led to pressure from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Sea Shepherd activists have urged fans to boycott Týr and write to concert halls in Europe and call for the cancellation of the band‘s upcoming appearances.
It appears that a couple of concert halls have heeded this particular call, including MusikZentrum in Hannover, Germany.
Týr were supposed to play in Hannover last Friday, but the show was cancelled. According to Týr lead singer Heri Joensen, who spoke to Kringvarp Føroya this morning, a lot of their fans are disappointed and want their money back.
“This is a financial blow for us, but at the moment it hard to say what impact this will have. It is probable that this (Sea Shepherd) campaign will generate good PR in the long run,” Joensen pointed out.
This is not the first time music venues have ditched Týr. In 2016, several Týr shows were cancelled, and following these cancellations Heri Joensen went public to defend the Faroese point of view with regards to whale hunting (see video above).
In this video, Joensen first and foremost pointed out that “a certain misguided group of people are arranging campaigns to make venues not book his band, and to cancel shows that have already been booked.”
He stated that this campaign “began when he shared a picture of himself on his Facebook page (see picture below)”.
“I was helping in the slaughter of a long-finned pilot whale in Hvannasund in the Faroe Islands, the day after it had been killed, along with another 130 whales. I also participated in the hunt the day before, although I never killed a whale myself. For that you need to attend lessons, and get a license, and I have not done that,” Joensen explained.
“Since more than 80% of the world’s population is not vegetarian, I think it should be fine to share pictures like this, because people should see how meat is produced. But it is actually very rare to see pictures from inside slaughterhouses, so people get this Disney fairy-tale like relation to meat, where livestock is willingly and painlessly slaughtered behind closed doors and wildlife is sacred. Ethically, I do not see the difference. All animals have the capacity to suffer. If you can slaughter livestock then you can slaughter wildlife for food.”
Joensen also emphasized the importance of the non-commercial side of Faroese whaling:
“The Faroese whale hunt is non-commercial and organized at a community level. Nobody goes out actively searching for whales. When a pod of whales happens to be seen close to land, a hunt may or may not be undertaken. It is the decision of the whaling foreman.
It (whale hunts) may look gory on pictures, but it is really no worse than what you would see in any slaughterhouse. As any modern country we have animal welfare legislation and there are strict local regulations on how to conduct a whale hunt. It is illegal to cause the unnecessary suffering of any animal, and it is illegal to attempt to kill a whale before it is properly secured on the beach, and it is illegal to drive whales anywhere without the explicit permission or orders from the whaling foreman,” Joensen said.
Joensen, who has made two songs against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (‘Rainbow Warrior’ & ‘Grindavísan’), could not resist aiming a dig at Paul Watson, the Sea Shepherd founder.
“An organization called the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society consistently misrepresent(s) the issue and demonizes the Faroese people, all for the financial gain of Paul Watson, who is their founder. They pretend to care about the welfare of marine mammals, and by gross misinformation they exploit people who actually do care.
Paul Watson has been in legal trouble many times. He is wanted for prosecution by several governments around the world and his entire organization has been labeled the very embodiment of piracy by a US court. In the Faroe Islands we know first hand that he does not care about the truth, and that he has a blatant disregard for the safety of human life.
Because of the dishonesty of Paul Watson there is a certain small, but very loud group of misguided people who cannot be reasoned with, and for that reason they should be ignored,” stated Heri Joensen.
Watch the entire video above.