There's an estimate that frightens and disgusts me. Over 100 million sharks are killed every year, and most of that number is do to the demand for shark fin soup. It's a horrible industry, where sharks are caught, their fins hacked off with a white hot blade, and then the shark - still alive - is thrown back overboard. Their bodies twist and turn, mouths gaping, unable to swim, unable to move in order to get oxygen rich water flowing over their gills. They sink, asphyxiating, unable to breathe. The lucky ones are killed by other sharks - a small mercy, a quicker death than what the humans who disfigured it had knowingly granted it.
It's a barbaric practice brought about by something as innocent as soup. Shark fin soup used to be a status symbol - only the richest could afford it. These days, it's a popular delicacy, high in demand, and well paying for those willing to supply the main ingredient.
Because that's all sharks are to some people- an ingredient. Something to be put next to the salt on a rack. It's sickening, morally indecent, and unfortunately, far too common.
It's scary how humans have become so disconnected to the natural world that they can do things like this. Not just once, or twice, but over a 100 million times. Sharks are killed for everything from food, to fish & chips, even for their teeth. Even for something as petty as hatred.
And we don't limit that barbarism to just sharks. Rhinos, tigers, leopards, elephants, the list is endless and soul-shattering. Coats, soups, aphrodisiacs, jewelry, purses, boots - anything and everything seems to be a reason for wildlife to die for our selfish uses.
The frightening path that humanity is on warrants only one question. One that should be asked as both a warning, and an admonishment:
What will the world be like when there's nothing but people on it?