Anti-whaling activists vandalized Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue, painting her blood red this week. On the ground by the statue, the vandals wrote, “Denmark defend the whales of Faroe Islands.”
The Faroe Islands are a self-governing set of 18 islands that are part of Denmark. Each year, its inhabitants hunt pilot whales—which are not endangered—by driving them into a shallow bay and knifing or spearing them.
Known as the grindadráp or grind, the tradition stretches back more than five centuries. At this year’s first grind, held last week, islanders reportedly killed 84 whales.
Last month, a marine-conservation charity, the Sea Shepherd Netherlands, submitted a complaint about the grind to the European Commission; the group claims to have the “formal support” of 27 members of the EU parliament.
The whale hunt offends some locals—but so does anti-whaling vandalism, especially when it targets an iconic statue, inspired by the Danish author Hans Christian Anderson and sculpted by a Danish artist.
“National treasures like this should be left well alone,” the head of Copenhagen’s culture and leisure committee told local media. “Regardless of whether it’s vandalism or politically motivated, this is well out of line. … Vandalizing the Little Mermaid is as stupid as you can possibly get.”
But this isn’t the first time the Little Mermaid has been vandalized. She’s been painted, knocked of her rock in the Copenhagen harbor, dismembered and even beheaded, according to the Associated Press.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.