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Shark Attack Survivors Call on Senate to Ban Shark Hunting

Shark Attack Survivors Call on Senate to Ban Shark Hunting

This week a group of nine shark attacks survivors traveled to Washington, DC. Their goal? Lobby the US Senate for greater protection for the sharks who attacked them. Many of the survivors are missing limbs, fingers, and have other lasting injuries. Nonetheless, they see urgency in protecting these wild animals from US fishermen.

Survivors See Past Their Attacks
Chuck Anderson of Alabama was one of these survivors. In 2000 he was diving in the Gulf of Mexico, looking to get a close-up glimpse of sharks. In a sudden attack, a 7-foot bull shark slammed into him, chomped off some of his fingers, bti into his stomach and then entirely took off his right arm. He survived the attack and after doing some research concludes that he cannot blame the shark for his attack. “They’re vicious, and they’re mean,” Anderson said in an article featured in the Washington Post, “But, you know, I don’t have any right to be angry at the shark.”

From Vindictive Shark Hunter to Shark Defender
Not all shark attack survivors are as understanding as Anderson. Before joining the shark protection group, one member often hunted sharks in an effort to get retribution. For years after his attack he hated sharks. He would go on fishing expeditions where he would attract sharks with bait, shoot them from his side of his boat, cook them, eat their flesh, then save their jaw bones as trophies. Now years later, he is among the group calling on the Senate to enact laws that would outlaw that very practice.

Sharks Attacking Humans, Humans Attacking Sharks
Shark attacks are very, very rare. The International Shark Attack File, based in Florida, calculated the odds: 1 in every 11.5 million beach visits result in a shark attack. Humans, on the other hand, are hunting sharks at a devasting rate.

The Goal: Outlaw Finning
The group is in DC this week to lobby the Senate for a bill that would outlaw shark “finning” in U.S. waters. Finning is a practice where fishermen sever a shark’s fin and toss the rest of its carcass overboard. The fin is often sold for use in shark fin soup. The bill has already been making some headway. It passed the House of Representative. In order to become law it must pass the Senate, then be signed into law by the president.

Let’s all hope this important bill moves forward.

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photo cred: http://www.flickr.com/photos/candiche/299061448/

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48 comments

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6:11AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

... this is more than I could bear to watch - after 30 years of my vegetarian lifestyle, I feel this vt should be compulsory viewing to all carnivores/omnivores. Everybody eating meat should take some responsibility for this carnage. It is shameful ....

6:09AM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Thanks for sharing.

2:58PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

it is great that they can look past their injuries and come to the sharks need..

2:02PM PST on Feb 1, 2010

.thanks

6:22AM PDT on Aug 21, 2009

Shark Finning should be banned world-wide. It's a horrible practice. Wack on a shark's fin and throw back into the water to die - disgusting. If you wish to eat the full shark, than catch it, kill and give it the respect it deserves. As a one-time SCUBA person, I support the ban on shark finning 100%.

9:13AM PDT on Aug 7, 2009

Its very great to know that one who killed sharks and ate them before, is now trying to save them from the fangs of extinction. Shark attack, like mentioned above are very rare. Less than a hundred happen every year. While shark deaths, caused by humans, are countless.

Sharks play a very important role. They eat dead fish and maitain the balance. The oceans need sharks. And just because they attack one point in time, does not mean fishermen can out to the seas, the sharks' home, and kill them not even having any proof if that particular shark did the attack.

5:25AM PDT on Aug 7, 2009

It is indeed good to see that we are turning things around bit by bit and respecting those awesome, scary creatures

12:19PM PDT on Jul 22, 2009

This is amazing and heartwarming... The fact that people who have been injured by sharks, are still strong and awesome enough to actually defend them! Absolutely amazing!

While it's obvious that humankind itself is the most cruel and destructive species on the planet... It's people like these, who step above revenge and grudges, defending the sharks... that give me hope for humanity.

We're not ALL hopeless killers. These remarkable human beings are shining examples of what ALL of us could be! While humankind has fallen very low, we're all CAPABLE of so much more! Seeing this only gives me more hope that someday we can all realize our potential!

Let's of course acknowledge our shortcomings... but let's not see it as inevitable. Let's instead aim for the goal of being as thoughtful and amazing, in our actions and deeds as well as intentions, as these wonderful heroes stepping up for shark rights.

It's not hopeless. More and more things are being done for animals and the planet, slowly but surely! We've gotta keep the momentum going, and keep an eye on the world as we will someday get it to be, healed and beautiful.

10:36AM PDT on Jul 21, 2009

I'm with you. Lisanne. I have infinite respect for animals and very little for humans. When an animal attacks there is usually a reason, ie instinct for survival, abuse by humans. But people premeditate murder and intentionally hurt others, including innocent animals. There are very few people that I trust.

11:33PM PDT on Jul 20, 2009

What gets me is that when a human is attacked and/or killed by another human, we don't killing other humans for revenge. Just like when Steve Irwin was killed by the stingray, people started killing stingrays. Now when say John Lennon was killed, people didn't go around killing other people- to take their anger & upset out on them. We all need to realize that animals are not premeditating their "crimes", they are just acting out of instinct. I will never have to worry about a shark breaking into my house and killing me in my own bed, or other asinine crimes that "human beings" commit against other human beings. Just think of Charles Manson- why in the heck is he still alive???

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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