I know that every week I preach to all of my trusty readers about how terrible the shark massacres across the world have proven to be. I talk about how it needs to stop, about shark finning, and about how disturbing the deaths, or should I say MURDERERS, of these sharks are. But I have left many questions, basic and complex, unanswered up until this point and I would now like to answer these questions.
So what is shark finning? Let me preface this questions by telling you that in order for sharks to breathe and survive, they must continue swimming in order to have water constantly flowing through their gills. Now that I have explained the absolute basics, let me begin to answer your questions. Shark finning, as defined by stopsharkfinnning.net is:
“…the practice of slicing off the shark’s fins while the shark is still alive and throwing the rest of its body back into the ocean where it can take days to die what must be an agonizing death”
Webster’s Dictionary defines it as:
“to cut off the fins from (a fish); carve or cut up, as a chub.”
Although one definition is obviously more compassionate towards the suffering of sharks, both say the same thing – finning is the act of cutting body parts off a shark or fish. Webster’s conveniently forgets to include “while it is still alive and then either discarding the body as waste, or what is more commonly practiced, throwing it back into the water.” As I already said, a shark cannot breathe if it is not moving because it needs water circulating through its gills. With no fins to propel the shark’s body through the water, the shark is unable to breathe and drowns in the only place that it has ever felt safe and called home.
I advise you to watch the short film that I have posted below. However, I would like to forewarn you that there is footage of finning in the video that those who do not have strong stomachs may not want to watch. I honestly advise all to watch anyway it because I think it makes shark finning, and the gruesome murder that it is, extremely real…
With the question of “What is Shark finning?” now answered, more questions arise. One of the most trifling being “What use of the fins could be so important that people find the need to kill hundreds of millions of sharks a year?” I wish that I could say the fins were used for medical research, for some kind of cure for cancer, or even for a necessary source of food. However, the frightening truth is that a selfish species of animals called humans use these fins for soup. That’s right, SOUP. Shark-fin-soup. What does shark fin taste like that could be in such a high demand? Nothing. The fins are not used for taste, but rather for their texture. Stopsharkfinning.net states,
This Asian delicacy kills 100 to 200 million sharks a year just to add a certain consistency to a soup. Seems a little absurd if you ask me. If puppy paw pies were an ancient Mexican specialty, I do not think that the citizens of the United States would allow over 100 millions puppies to die terrible, disturbing deaths each year just to make some pies. However, when it comes to shark fin soup, people shield their eyes from the truth and will sometimes pay as much as $350 for one bowl! I know that personally do not have hundreds spilling out of my pockets – being a working college student. But if I did, I would never pay $350 for one course of my meal. Apparently others treasure the soup enough to pay that outrageous sum. But these ARE the same people who fund the massacres of millions of sharks so it is not too surprising that we don’t agree on some of the same things.
So what do we do? What have I been telling you every week to do? FIGHT BACK! We need to put a stop to these murders and get shark-fin-soup banned from all restaurants all over the world. We need to teach people the consequences of their actions before it is too late! We need to save the sharks!
1. I realize that stopping the sale of shark fins all over the world isn’t exactly an easy task, especially in places that consider it a traditional meal like China and Japan. However, the best place for each person to start is in their own neighborhood, city, and state. The Animal Welfare Institution has made this step as easy as possible for you. They have composed a list of all of the restaurants that sell shark -fin-soup in every state across the U.S. Just click on your state, find the restaurants and make a call. If enough people call and say that they will no longer eat there unless they rid their menus of murder, a change will happen!
2. Move on to the state next to yours, and then the three near that one, and then the ones all the way across the country. Some states have already passed bans, like Hawaii and Oregon. Do your part to help other states ban the fins and eventually these magnificent creatures can live and thrive in their natural habitat free of fear.
3. Sign petitions. There are hundreds of petitions all around the world to stop this barbaric butchering. Sign your name to them! With enough signatures, bans can actually become an option.
4. DO NOT EVER EAT SHARK-FIN-SOUP!!!!!!! (I hope this one was a given, but I thought I should mention it just to be safe) One bowl tells restaurants that people want the soup. One restaurant tells one supplier that a demand for the soup still exists. One supplier goes to the dock and purchases fins from a fisherman who kills millions of sharks a year. Stay away from the soup. If everyone were to do it, there would be no demand for their fins and no more need to kill my fintastic friends.
I hope that after reading this you are informed enough to make the decision NOT to support the shark fin market and you use your voice to speak for the sharks who cannot speak for themselves. The biggest problem is that most people do not fully understand the implications and negative complications that follow shark finning. Keep reading my posts to learn more about bans that have occurred, bans that have yet to pass, the true side effects of shark fin soup, and (of course) what you can do to help sharks become friends and not food.