Shark attacks evoke really conflicting responses in me. It’s gruesome. It’s terrifying. It’s sad. Of course, I feel badly for the people who die.
But I feel equally sorry for the animals killed in retribution for the attacks, like the proposed slaughter of 90 sharks in Reunion.
Sharks are predators. Sharks live in the ocean. Sharks are one of the few animals that remind us that we too have a place in the food chain. Sharks don’t care that we work in offices, that we love our children, or that we tend to view life with a keen sense of irony. When they attack out of error, curiosity, or perhaps genuine hunger, they take from us not just skin and bone, but our particularity, our human special-ness. Sharks reduce us to meat.
And it is not very often in this world of factory farms, fur farms, palm oil plantations, industrial fishing fleets, sport hunting, circuses, zoos, aquariums, clear cutting, mining, landfills, floating garbage islands, melting ice caps and rising seas that human beings remember their limits.
This is not at all to suggest that random, innocent people be sacrificed to sharks to atone for the sins of humankind in some primitive rite. It is simply an observation that a shark attack is one of those rare events that reminds humans of their vulnerability, their corporeality, their animal nature.
Today’s action: Finding stores in my neighborhood that sell shark products. So far found one set of jaws (sad) and various bottles of shark cartilage. Forgot to check the energy drinks. Letters to follow.