Compassion in Action

Nine survivors of shark attacks are now campaigning to save the species that terrify most people. But the truth is that humans are a greater danger to sharks than they are to us – we kill 100 million of them a year, while the Florida Museum of Natural History estimates that fewer than a dozen people a year are killed by sharks (see statistics here). Many shark species are threatened with extinction, partly due to human beings’ appetite for them.  Asians, for instance, consider shark fin soup a delicacy. To get the main ingredient, 73 million sharks a year are killed for this dish. After their fins are cut off, they are dumped back into the ocean to drown or bleed to death.

This is unacceptable to many people – including these nine survivors. Twenty-nine-year-old Achmat Hassiem was attacked during practice for his lifeguard duties – but even though he lost his foot, he hopes to save sharks. Australian navy diver Paul de Gelder, who lost his right hand and lower leg to a shark, agrees. “Regardless of what an animal does according to its basic instincts of survival, it has its place in our world.” (See news story here)

Peter Benchley, the author of the novel Jaws,belatedly realized this and later in life became a protector of sharks, campaigning to educate people about them. An annual award is given in his name by the Shark Research Institute to the person or group that makes outstanding contributions to shark conservation.

What can you do to help? Don’t order shark fin soup.

*This story is also found on the


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Howard Fisher on June 8, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    As a HPI/Saybrook graduate (’77) my Way took me to hospitality as well. I recently ‘retired’ from NECI (New England Culinary Institute) which I helped found in ’79-’80. My Saybrook study/dissertation centered on alternative education (Illich/Friere) and NECI fit right in with low student-instructor ratio, hands on, operating food services, focus on creative thinking/problem solving, and extended internships. I’m glad to see there are others and encourage your efforts. Food is as basic as you get and sustainability and locality are key to a quantitative as well as qualitative future.


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