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Shark Fin Soup to be Taken off the Menu in the U.S., Legislation Passed Senate and Headed to Biden's Desk

December 16, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 15, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Congress passed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act tonight as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, sending the measure to President Biden for his signature in a matter of days. Last week, the Congress sent a captive wildlife protection measure – the Big Cat Public Safety Act – to the President to be signed into law as well.  “Congress has taken shark fins off the menu,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, in celebrating Senate passage Thursday night of the shark protection measure. The Senate passed the defense bill 83 – 11, following a similarly lopsided vote in the House a few days ago.  The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act will halt the domestic trade in fins, used primarily as the centerpiece ingredient in shark-fin soup. The legislation, introduced by Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.V., in the U.S. Senate and Gregorio Sablan, D-CNMI, and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, in the U.S. House of Representatives, was been included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The underlying bills has nearly 300 cosponsors between them. The anti-finning legislation was preceded by two laws in this century on the same topic: 1) the Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000 that amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to prohibit shark finning in U.S. waters, and 2) the Shark Conservation Act of 2010, which amends the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act and the MSA to require that all sharks be brought to American shores with their fins intact. “Shark finning conjures up cruelty and wanton destruction of the medieval era,” added Mr. Pacelle. “But it’s more of a modern evil, and the United States has determined this trade is no longer legal in our nation.” Nobody really knows the global toll on sharks killed for their fins, but it has been estimated at an eye-popping 70 million a year.  The nonprofit group Oceana — which has played a crucial role in this legislation — calculated that shark-encounter scuba diving accounted for $221 million in economic activity in the state of Florida last year and was responsible for 3,797 jobs. Scuba divers and dive operations have become important allies in fighting shark finning. We know it’s wrong to kill elephants for ivory, rhinos for their horns, and bears for their gall bladders. Commercial operators, in each case, are killing for just a small part of the animal and discarding the rest of the carcass as commercially unusable trash. The same is true for sharks and the slaughter of them for their fins. Special credit goes to the four lead bill authors, to House Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva and his staff, and to Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Brian Schatz, R-Hawaii, for helping to lead this fight.  Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies, and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all. The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all. The Center for a Humane Economy is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.
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