Niagara Gazette


September 22, 2013

SINGER: Saving the sharks


Niagara Gazette — But the oceans are definitely being vacuumed of their fish, and when it comes to sharks, unnecessary, sadistic harm massively directed against too many species requires prompt attention. As it does in the disgusting bear paw or elephant tusk trades abroad, among other horrors.

So — what organization should one join to help these sharks? When I lived in the Pacific Northwest, my wife and I were members of Sierra Club (clear-cut forests and endless stumps constant elbow-tuggers as you drove through mountain country); and my daughter remains a member. Now I’m thinking of something like World Wildlife Fund, though that would help many other beleaguered animals, too (think chimps, lions, etc.). When it comes to an emphasis on sea creatures alone, there’s organizations like Oceana, and that may be my choice.

Now I must briefly describe or reiterate what some of you already saw in the papers a little while back, and what I find so abominable I can hardly face this sad reality.

Millions — as many as 70 million — sharks per year are slaughtered for their fins, and far too frequently, tossed back into the ocean flipper-less, unable to swim or defend themselves, and therefore, doomed to perish. Where’s the new Sir Paul to do a “Blackbird”-type song on this? Where’s the outcry? Why are too many states and countries still going along?

When you’re decimating whole species, and affecting many others in ultra-vulnerable, already polluted oceans, being politically correct shouldn’t work into it. There are simply things one can do without.

Sure, rarefied pianists playing for dukes and duchesses circa 1900 could somehow ignore the massive slaughter of African elephants, just so they could tinkle the ivories on works by Chopin. Again, there’s been plenty of hypocrisy in this regard, and no one’s quite immune, and fingers can always be pointed back, agreed.

But do we really need shark fin soup so badly? One picture of a huge pile of these fins like a mass of discarded rubber tires filling a junk yard should make you agree that we don’t.

B.B. Singer has taught at several colleges in the area, including Niagara University.

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