BEING VEGAN – If I Were A Shark
By Paul Graham
Las Vegas Informer
“All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?” Buddha
If I were a shark, I would want others to know that I am not what so many have portrayed me to be. I am not the threat that so much of the world makes me out to be. I am more intelligent than you think, not a mindless killer. I am very social and I love to move and migrate with my kind in sophisticated ways that even birds would envy. I have highly-developed senses. I love to swim and move about the ocean and can swim up to thousands of miles each year. I am slow-growing and slow to reproduce. I am related to the beautiful rays of the ocean.
If I were a shark, I would want people to realize that we are quickly disappearing from the oceans. 90 percent of the world’s large shark population has already been exterminated. Over 100 million of us are caught each year, and that is only the reported amount. The real number may be two to three times that. A handful of our species already is at or close to extinction. People are made to be afraid of us, but it us who should be afraid of people. There were only 12 reported shark-related human deaths in the world in 2011, while we are dying at the rate of over 11,000 an hour. I ask again, who should be afraid of who?
If I were a shark, I would swim in fear knowing that I could run into one of the long wide nets filled with hooks and cast by large ships moving through the oceans, only to be scooped up aboard ship, very possibly injured severely in the process. I may be killed there and kept for a variety of purposes. Or they might just want my fins and run a hot blade through my highly-sensitive fins…separating them from my body. Then they would be done with me. They would discard me back overboard, where unable to swim or move the way I know to do, I would sink slowly to the bottom of the ocean and die an agonizing death.
If I were a shark, I would like to live my life in peace and keep things as they should be in our ocean population.
I don’t want my fins used for a tasteless bowl of soup. I don’t want my teeth made into jewelry. I don’t want my jaws hung up in the marketplace as a souvenir for tourists. I don’t want my skin used for wallets, belts and boots. I don’t want my cartilage used for phony medicinal cures. I could certainly do without oil being extracted from my liver for cosmetics and skin care products. It is it any wonder that we may strike back when we or our families are threatened?
If I were a shark, I surely would not want to live in captivity in some aquarium or exhibit where people can come and stare and point at us. Mothers would tell their children to be afraid of the sharks because we are so dangerous and could hurt them if we were too near them. The mothers should be pointing at all of the people all around and telling the children to be careful of so many of them. They might be the real ones to be afraid of…the real killers. We are slowly dying as a species and cannot reproduce fast enough to stem that tide. People continue to exploit us and put forth the wrong image of us. Shark Week? I don’t think so. It is never a good week to be a shark nowadays.