Gordon Ramsay Held at Gunpoint by Shark Finners

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was doused in gasoline and held at gunpoint while trying to expose the shark finning industry in Costa Rica.

The practice of shark finning has become a popular issue for animal activists in recent years as stories of sharks caught, de-finned, and tossed back in the water to bleed to death multiplied on the internet in concert with increased demand for the ingredient in delicacy dishes. Chinese shark fin soup is the primary dish that calls for sharks to be finned.

The shark-fin industry is unregulated and illegal in many areas. Many of the people who engage in the trade are criminal thugs; Gordon Ramsay was attempting to investigate some of these gangs and traced them to Costa Rica for his new show “Big Fish Fight.” Ramsay claims that the headquarters for the operations are guarded like military forts with armed guards in towers and barbed wire.

While trying to elude pursuers and get a look around, Ramsay was caught and had gasoline poured on him while being held at gunpoint. Costa Rican police advised Ramsay to leave the country for his safety, saying if he tried to enter one of the compounds of the gangs he would be shot.

It remains unclear what exactly Gordon Ramsay’s motives were for investigating the shark-finning industry, but I believe it is safe to say that his concerns were not for the safety or well-being of the sharks themselves. 

Gordon Ramsay is hardly an animal rights activist and so hardly deserves the praise being heaped on him by some people animal activists and fans. It’s true that he risked his safety to expose an illegal animal trade, but if his previous antics are any indication this was much more about TV ratings than a moral campaign.

Ramsay came under fire two years ago for an episode of his show “The F Word,” which featured a hunter snapping a wild puffin’s neck on camera. Ramsay ate the puffin’s raw heart afterward. On some of his food shows, he raises animals for slaughter, naming them early on in a grotesque display of callousness.

The shark fin industry is horrifying–an illegal trade run by thugs who slaughter animals in a gruesome manner hard for us as land mammals to truly imagine. And while I agree that any amount of attention brought to the issue is beneficial in the right context, Gordon Ramsay isn’t a hero. He was just being another sensationalist TV star trying to get ratings. You can’t praise a man for trying to raise awareness with one hand while slaughtering and killing indiscriminately with the other.

Shark finning can’t be viewed in a vacuum as a singularly cruel practice, wholly disparate from other forms of animal slaughter. Why does shark-finning cause more outrage than other forms of fishing? Because we’ve arbitrarily decided which animals are worth our respect and compassion and which methods of killing animals are acceptable. The moral justification gets thinner the more you think about it. 

If you abhor shark finning, then you must abhor all forms of animal slaughter, and if you do, the only morally justifiable course of action is to cease supporting industries that torture and kill animals.

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HSUS Reviews the Past Year (VIDEO)


Photo: Jo-h


Victor C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thank you for the info I had no idea Gordon Ramsay was capable of such abhorrent behavior!!!I will never watch his shows again.

Ailsa Porter
Ailsa Porter6 years ago

I agree with Annie r. Even if he was after ratings, it helps spread the word about the cruel and despicable actions of many!

Mem H.
Mem T7 years ago

i was surprised to see ramsey's doco too. i hadn't pictured him as an animal activist but just because he uses a lot of swear words doesn't mean he doesn't have a heart to care about these issues. well done on bringing more spotlight on the issue of finning!

Tita B.
Tita B.8 years ago

it is good to be an activist, but it is not good or fair lying, nobody saw the attack, the polices hasn`t reports about this, but wait a minute, newspapers have all the story.... weird

Phil J.
Phil J.8 years ago

Why dont we insteaed of writing utter crap as you have above "as politically correct as it may be!" deal with these situations as they appear infront of our eyes and are brought to our attention. There is no way you can put shark finning against everyday fishing!! for god sake man they cut off what are basically there arms and legs and throw them back to die a painfull death.... how would you like to have your arms and legs cut off and then be burried to die....it's sick and fair play to ramsey for putting is safety and health in harms way, it's not like he needs media covereage is it...... it's high time the media got more positive and stopped trying to destroy people with stupid hidden agenda's they make up they seem to forget they have a responsibility to patray the facts not fiction!.

Rita De Ferrary
Rita De Ferrary8 years ago

If every American who is against shark finning took a video of any multitude of Chinese, Vietnamese, or other consumer countries manufactured goods, held it up in a store and then put it down and refused to buy it...taking the video and putting it up on YOUTUBE with the saying BOYCOTT CHINESE, VIETNAMESE, OR OTHER CONSUMER COUNTRIES OF SHARK FINNED SOUP UNTIL THESE COUNTRIES MAKE IT ILLEGAL. The practice would be decreased, if not all together eliminated.
I think that these countries would enjoy keeping their market of
American consumers rather than keeping this deplorable practice going.

Americans do not know the power that is in their hands. Billions of dollars of market loss can sway the most recalcitrant of country heads.

The consumer countries government's administrations know what their citizens and traditional shark fin soup addiction is causing in destrcution of the marine environment. They need to get a real incentive to stop immediately.

ilse D.
.8 years ago

Thanks for the article, it's hard to say if Gordon saves the animals.. after all he serves them on a platter. I believe as an animal activist .. one of the things you dont want to do is eat meat, fish or birdies. Let's say slice up an animal in order to cook it.

Valerie W.
Valerie W.8 years ago

This is a disgusting and deplorable practice. Thanks to Gordon for bringing it out in the open.

Philippa P.
Philippa P8 years ago

I'm glad that shark finning has been brought to the attention of the public.

irene davis
irene davis8 years ago

thanks for posting