WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT: Horrifying images have emerged amid the slaughter of close to 1500 dolphins in the Faroe Islands.
An entire "super pod", estimated to consist of 1428 white-sided dolphins was herded 40km into waters off the self-governing Danish archipelago late on Sunday (local time), according to reports.
Moments later, dolphins can be seen thrashing as they are slaughtered in shallow waters turned red with blood, in video uploaded to social media by activist group Sea Shepherd.
Boats bob up in the water surrounding the surviving animals, preventing them from escaping.
Blood splatters into the air as a dying dolphin thrashes its tail against the surface.
Men, women and young children walk among the carcasses piled up along the beach as far as the eye can see.
Dolphin bodies are three-deep along the sand and one can be seen writhing on the ground long after having its neck cut with a knife.
Campaigners concerned about children witnessing dolphin slaughter
Sea Shepherd Australia's managing director Jeff Hansen told Yahoo News Australia the footage is the "most shocking and disturbing" he has seen since joining the group in 2007.
Describing the scenes as "the stuff of nightmares", he has urged the global community to call for an end to the annual hunt.
"I feel sick to my core seeing such cruel, heartless, barbaric and prolonged suffering of such highly intelligent socially complex beings," he said.
Mr Hansen added he was particularly concerned about children witnessing the bloodshed, adding the violence is worse than films they would be restricted from viewing.
"There is no classification on earth for this sort of disgusting monstrous behaviour that we see the Faeroese children encouraged to watch," he said.
"The impacts on these young innocent minds can lead to all sorts of catastrophic events later on in life.
"There is zero duty of care here, to the dolphins or the young Faeroese children.”
Key facts about dolphin slaughter on the Faroe Islands
Dolphin and whale slaughter knowns as "grindadrap" translates as “murder of whales”
Sea Shepherd has been campaigning against the hunt since the 1980s
The grindadrap likely dates back 1200 years
Modern aids like motorboats are used today to help islanders herd whales and dolphins
'No words': Dolphin slaughter outrage spreads online
The Faroe Islands along with the Taiji prefecture in Japan, are the last two major strongholds of mass dolphin slaughter.
Each year, residents living in the island slaughter hundreds of dolphins and whales in what’s known locally as the “grindadrap”.
Many on the islands consider the slaughter an important part of their culture, and a necessary food source.
With under 50,000 residents living across the islands, environmental campaigners Blue Planet Society have questioned why residents felt the need to kill so many dolphins on Sunday.
“It's unlikely they will be able to process 1428 dolphins,” they wrote on social media.
“This is comparable to the American bison.”
Outrage on social media has been swift, with many taking to Facebook and Twitter to share their disgust.
“I have no words just tears,” wrote one person.
“I'm absolutely outraged by this. What on earth are they thinking?” added someone else.
More on dolphin and whale slaughter
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