In Asia, eating shark fin soup demonstrates wealth and status, but it also signifies callousness and a cruel disregard for life as 73 million sharks are brutality attacked each year to supply this luxury. As a result, some shark species have declined by a whopping 98 percent over just the past fifteen years, and more than two hundred other shark species are now listed as endangered by the International Shark Foundation.
People often think of sharks as vicious, but just wait until you hear what our species does to these sea dwellers for a mere delicacy and fleeting delight of a meal. First, humans rip them from the sea for a single body part they possess – their fins, which are sawn off in barbaric fashion as they writhe and thrash in pain. The sharks don’t die in this ordeal – no, they sustain much worse. Once their fins are detached, the rest of their bodies are simply thrown back to sea, discarded like hunks of junk, where in their incapacitated states they are left to “drown, bleed to death, or be eaten alive by other fish,” explains Oceana.
These activities are illegal in U.S. waters; however, the United States still plays a role in this brutal trade by permitting shark fins to be bought and sold within our borders. In fact, Savannah, Georgia is a huge port for shark fins. But right now, we have an opportunity to stop this because a bipartisan group in Congress recently announced the introduction of the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act (S.3095/H.R. 5584), which would make it “illegal to possess, buy, sell, transport, or trade shark fins or any product containing shark fins” in the United States.
According to a new report from Oceana, “a nationwide ban on the trade of shark fins would reduce the international fin trade, improve enforcement of the current finning ban, and reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation.”
Please, don’t let a fear of sharks stop you from taking action, supporting this bill and speaking out for sharks today. Although the media likes to draw on our terrors and amplify stories of human suffering due to shark attacks, the reality is that we are far more deadly predators than they are. On average, there are perhaps 70 to 100 shark attacks that take place in the world each year, and of those, only five on average end in human tragedy. Compare that to the millions of sharks humans massacre each year, when in fact, more Americans die from toilets, or buckets and pails, or room fresheners each year than they do because of sharks.
Moreover, sharks are keystone species – they keep the ecosystems they inhabit in a sustainable balance – and we desperately need that because healthy oceans are necessary for a healthy world.
So do the world a favor by speaking out for these critical species before it’s too late. First, contact your Congressional Representatives and urge them to support S.3095/H.R. 5584: the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act. Then share this information, along with the “Extinction Soup” documentary, to educate others about the cruelty and harms of the shark fin trade and to discourage everyone you can reach from eating shark fin soup.
Take action for sharks!
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