Niagara Gazette

Columns

September 22, 2013

SINGER: Saving the sharks

Niagara Gazette — Libertarianism has positive value, but not for poor sharks who badly need government on their side. “Poor sharks?” Isn’t that an oxymoron?

No way. Thankfully, for sharks knocked off gruesomely in huge numbers, New York — impelled by State Sen. Grisanti’s forthright sponsorship of a bill — has done the right thing; but by a law unfortunately going into effect almost a year from now, still not matched by many other states, and vulnerable to restaurants suing. The law prohibits shark fin commerce or use here. i.e., no more fin soup in these parts, Syracuse, Albany, and most importantly, in the Big Apple. If it makes it against legal challenges, thank the Lord ...

I know — we’ve long thought of sharks as horrid things (think of Spielberg’s “Jaws”), and I realize they’re still featured on popular shows as terrors of the sea, not least, via the Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week,” recently viewed by nearly 30 million people. The term “shark” has also been synonymous with ruthless business types. But what’s being done to actual ones in waters around the world is repulsive and heart-rending, and should be considered beyond the pale, even to attorneys looking for a buck.

I can already hear this retort: don’t you eat fish? Haven’t you had a scallop or haddock dinner?

The answer: sure I’m hypocritical, few aren’t in this regard, and I admit I’m guilty each time I open a can of Alaska salmon, thereby procuring Omega-3 fish oil. The only people who can say they’re acting fully on principle are outright vegetarians, refusing categorically to eat what a good friend of mine calls “dead creatures.”

For this fine nurse, we’re all in the chain of life together, and not what a celebrated philosopher once dubbed us — “lords and possessors of the earth.” Of course you might retort that animals, particularly in the Northeast, have been doing well of late, especially Bambis (to the point where there are some 4,000 auto-deer accidents each day in the U.S.!)

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