Are Live Dogs and Cats Used as Bait to Hunt Sharks in the Indian Ocean?Published May 4, 2010
The depths of cruelty to animals that humans can reach are truly appalling. This story is so disturbing that I was compelled to share it. Although the story was first released in 2005, it has since resurfaced and is once again widely circulated on the Internet. This chilling and alarming item is prominently posted by animal rights advocates on Facebook, and also includes a petition demanding the RSPCA to petition the French government to end the horrendous practice of using live dogs and cats as bait to hunt sharks on Reunion Island. Reunion Island is a French controlled territory off the coast of Southern Africa, located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar. Having carefully checked out the veracity of these claims, I found that Snopes.com rates the item as "multiple" and asserts that "many observers remain skeptical of such claims." In their lengthy article Snopes continued by stating, "However, positing theories that range from media and animal rights groups have been taken in by a hoax to a deliberate disinformation claim being waged by activists who seek to end the slaughter of sharks for their fins and cartilage by Indian Ocean fishermen. Arguments have flown back and forth over the practicality and plausibility (or lack thereof) of Reunion Islanders fishing for sharks in the manner described. Based on a Reunion newspaper article and the reported prosecution of a deliveryman (and amateur fisherman) on that Island over animal cruelty charges associated with the described activity, "that there is some truth to these claims." Reha Hutin, president of the Thirty Million Friends Foundation, an animal rights group, said in a 2005 article in the National Geographic that Reunion has a huge population of stray dogs, which reaches over 150,000. Ms. Hutin sent a film crew to Reunion to verify the facts that live animals were being used as bait to hunt sharks and if true to expose the practice on the animal rights' group weekly television show. This film crew found three separate cases of dogs with multiple hooks embedded in their snouts and paws. Ms. Hutin went on the say, "From then on everyone started to take the whole story seriously and realized it was true." Upon release of the story, the Brigette Bardot Foundation, a Paris-based animal welfare group's spokesperson, Stephanie Roche confirmed that live animals were being used as bait on Reunion. But shortly thereafter it became illegal for live or dead dogs or cats to be carried in fishing boats. A written statement was issued by the French Embassy in Washington D.C. condemning the use of dogs as shark bait, stressing that these acts are illegal and are not tolerated in the French territory. The Embassy stated that these are "very isolated cases and authorities on the island are closely monitoring the situation." And even though the practice of using live animals as shark bait apparently now has been banned, some people continue to argue that the practice continues in this area. Others who claim the story is bogus and a scam justify its use to discredit the shark- fishing industry, which is decimating the shark population with its own set of cruel practices. These amazing animals are also needlessly tortured to fill the coffers of greedy people. Read more about their plight by clicking here As far as I am concerned, where there is smoke there is fire. What do you think? Leave a comment and share your opinions.