Thursday, 23 February 2012

Shark Finning: Why we shouldn't lie.

My view on a screenshot from a misguided shark conversation film featured below.
By Ryan Pearson
Shark conservation is serious business. People are putting their lives on the line in defense of sharks, just like the Sea Shepherd crew do every year for the whales in the southern ocean. In fact, Sea Shepherd are also a huge driving force behind the shark conservation movement. Gordon Ramsay recently put his own life on the line in an effort to raise awareness for the plight of sharks and target the shark-finning industry. The thing is, there are also a lot of misguided efforts, and some activists are resorting to outright lying in order to get their point across. While in the short term, the public may have the desired response, the long term result is only going to drive popular opinion further and further from where it needs to be as more and more falsehoods are exposed.

Don't get me wrong, shark-conservation is a worthy cause to protect an incredibly misunderstood creature that films like Jaws turned the entire world against. It is worthwhile, not only for the benefit of the sharks themselves, but also for the state of our planet. No one really knows the impacts and feedbacks that could occur should sharks be sent extinct, and if we're honest, no one really wants to know. All we do know is that it won't be good. 

The image below was one such misguided effort, I realise it has two goals - one being to stop eating meat, but for an animal loving group they must realise that this is going to further hurt shark conservation.
A recent misguided campaign by PETA.
How is this going to turn people's minds away from the perception that sharks are mindless killers? They're not mindless killers, and the stats on shark attacks go a long way to prove this. But as mentioned earlier, films like Jaws have a much bigger effect on the public mindset than delving through statistics ever will. This billboard was a huge mistake, not only for the negative view it perpetuates, but also for the fact that it was so controversial that millions of people worldwide saw it and it renewed their unfounded fears.

The video below is the latest in a series of misguided, and downright detrimental attempts to raise awareness to the plight of sharks.

This is a powerful film, but it is terrible for the entire shark conservation movement.

The film-maker straight up lies to the viewers by claiming that it was shot by 'hiding the camera'. There's no way that it was done secretly... the film-maker clearly had it is his mind to get the shots he wanted and had them set up specifically to for him to do so. And it shows... It's not like it takes a video professional to realise that most of the shots would not be possible with a hidden camera.

The argument could be made that the shark was going to be harvested whether he was there or not, and that by allowing a single shark to be tortured horrifically, it is worth the greater impact the film "should" have... but I don't agree. There are plenty of ways this could have actually been filmed secretly, also exposing the faces of those who did it, and have as much if not more impact. Lying about it just serves to discredit the whole movement.

Wake up people, there is enough evidence, and shocking imagery out there that we don't need to go fabricating it. Please stick to the truths, and think about the greater good before sending out more misguided and untruthful campaigns.

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