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What would make a beautiful blonde Afrikaans girl with a university degree and a good job, give everthing up to fight against the slaughter of marine mammals?
Animal Voice asked Rosie Kunneke to give us a glimpse into her soul...
Rosie, you hit the headlines back here in South Africa in July after it took three policemen on a beach in the far-off Faroe Islands to tackle you to the ground in your bid to put yourself between a pod of pilot whales and their killers. We would love to know more about you. For starters, what part of South Africa are you from? Where did you go to school? Who is Rosie Kunneke?
Rosie: I was born in Namibia, got my degree in Bloemfontein and am currently living in Cape Town. After 12 years working in the corporate world (Financial) I decided to pursue my passion for animals. I quit my job, sold my Mini Cooper and started going on campaigns for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Back in Cape Town, 3 friends and I started our own NGO called TinCanTown doing animal rescue work in the very poor informal settlement of Blikkiesdorp (close to Delft). I firmly believe that all species have the right to live their lives free of pain, suffering and exploitation, and murder by another species.
You are Land Team Leader for Sea Shepherd. What prompted your involvement with Sea Shepherd?
Rosie: After watching the documentary called “The Cove” I was very distraught about how we humans treat animals. I turned vegan and decided to dedicate my life to helping animals. I was looking for organisations that actively protect animals and our oceans and that is how I got to know about Sea Shepherd. I have been to Taiji twice for Sea Shepherd regarding the slaughter of dolphins and was supposed to go for a third year to lead the campaign, but was denied entry into Japan. I was on board the Sea Shepherd Vessel Bob Barker down to Antarctica for their anti-whaling campaign in 2010-2011, and was also part of
Sea Shepherd’s anti-seal clubbing campaign in Namibia for two years. Last year I was the land crew leader in the Faroe Islands – and again this year.
Animal Voice: Please tell us more about the plight of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.
Rosie: I have been on the Islands since 15 June. Although the Faroese can kill dolphins and pilot whales any time of the year, their summer months are notoriously the high season for doing this brutal, unnecessary and cruel massacre.
The Faroese people herd migrating dolphins and pilot whales onto shallow beaches and then brutally kill them with knives and spinal lances. It is absolutely horrific and although the Faroese will claim the pilot whales die within 2 seconds, our footage shows animals suffering in agonising pain for up to a minute (or more).
These highly intelligent, self aware sentient mammals get slaughtered in the presence of their family members, swimming in their blood…you can hear their cries. The Faroese claim this is a tradition and they do it for the meat, but there is NO need to do this anymore – they have well stocked supermarkets and have one of the highest per capita incomes.