vegansaurus!

02/24/2012

A bill proposes a shark fin ban in New York State! Also: Shark fins may have neurotoxins! Whaa?  »

Sharksavers.org has lots of great info in the fight against shark finning. 

Exciting news:

On Tuesday, legislators in New York State announced a bill that, following the example of Western states, would ban the sale, trading, possession and distribution of shark fins, possibly as of 2013. California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington are enacting similar bans that were passed last year, while Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Virginia have legislation pending.

The bill in New York is sponsored in the Assembly by Alan MaiselLinda B. Rosenthal and Grace Meng, who represents the heavily Asian district of Flushing, Queens, and is the only Asian-American in the Assembly. Identical bills are expected to be introduced in both houses of the Legislature.

Yay! Let’s keep this party going! Everybody ban shark fins! Except on sharks—those are cool. 

There might be even more reason to ban shark fins, a new study says:

Researchers from University of Miami sampled fin clips from seven different species of sharks collected in South Florida coastal waters and analyzed its contents. Upon examination, they detected cyanobacterial neurotoxin BMAA (β-N-methylamino-L-alanine) in the fins of all species with concentrations ranging from 144 to 1836 ng/mg wet weight.

Mind you, the neurotoxin BMAA has been linked to the development of neurodegenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

The report suggests that consumption of shark fins may increase the risk for human exposure to the cyanobacterial neurotoxin BMAA. Until more is known about the possible link of BMAA to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, it may be prudent to limit exposure of BMAA in the human diet, according to the researchers.

Shark-finning is all around grody! Go New York! Read more about the bill introduction and actions you can take on the Humane Society’s website. WildAid invites you to sign their "Say No" pledge to end shark finning. You could also spread around their super infographic—everyone loves and infographic!:

02/15/2012

NYC: Bill A 5449 vote is TODAY  »

Sorry I didn’t get this out earlier! I don’t know what time it’s happening, but here’s the info from Best Friends:

The New York State Assembly Agriculture Committee will be voting on Bill A 5449 on Wednesday, Feb 15. Last year,Best Friends expressed our concerns about this bill, and presented recommended changes to Assemblywoman Paulin that would address serious problems in this legislation. These suggestions were not incorporated into the current version of A 5449. We have resubmitted these recommended changes and need your help to insure that they are included. Without the suggested changes, A 5449 would:
  • Allow for the euthanizing of a frightened or panicked animal on the basis of “psychological pain,” which is too vague and subjective to be meaningful criteria for euthanasia.
  • Allow animals to be euthanized for unspecified and undiagnosed “deadly and contagious” diseases.
  • Not clearly define the requirements for a rescue organization to be maintained on a shelter’s registry of approved rescue organizations, which opens the door for arbitrary requirements subject to change without notice.
  • Allow shelters to remove rescues from their registry of approved groups if a group is publicly critical of the shelter or staff, regardless of the merit of such criticism.
  • Remove all protection for an animal that is surrendered to a shelter with an owner request that the animal be euthanized even if the animal is healthy and could be placed in a new adoptive home or with a rescue group.
  • Not require shelters to include rescue organizations located in adjoining counties in New York state on the shelter’s registry of qualified rescue organizations.

The recommended changes offered by Best Friends to Assemblywoman Paulin would close the holes in the safety net that this bill should be providing. Please urge Committee Chair Magee and fellow members of the Assembly Agriculture Committee to vote NO on Bill A 5449 unless these changes are all incorporated. The welfare of shelter animals in New York depends on your action.

That sounds pretty out of control. My timid Figaro would have definitely not made it to me with those rules in place. You can go to this link to enter your ZIP code and find out who to contact.

05/19/2011

New bill seeks to ban fish factory farms in U.S. oceans!  »

Eat Drink Better brings us word on a new bill to ban fish factory farms in U.S. oceans! Let’s support the crap out of this mother!

The main text reads:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the Secretary of the Interior nor the Secretary of Commerce may issue any permit or in any other way authorize any person to conduct commercial finfish aquaculture operations in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States (as established by Proclamation Numbered 5030, dated March 10, 1983), except in accordance with a law authorizing such action that is enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Of course, the rep. who proposed this is, Don Young, is from Alaska, who definitely has a vested interest in keeping competition out of the market. It’s not like it’s someone who gives a real shit about fish or our ocean’s waters.

You can read the complete thing here [.pdf].

Of course, the best thing you can do for fish and ocean health is to simply not eat fish. DERG. However, if you want to help slightly minimize the damage to both (and you do!), Eat Drink Better has the politicians to holler at about it.

02/22/2011

Guest Post: Help ban importation and distribution of shark fins in California!  »

As a volunteer and activist for Sea Stewards, I was thrilled to attend the official press release for AB 376 at the California Academy of Sciences. What’s AB 376 is and why do you care? It is the California Shark Protection Act, which would stop the importation and distribution of shark fins throughout the state. The time is now California! Hawaii already passed a similar ban and other states are starting to move towards a ban.

First I want to commend and thank Assemblymembers Paul Fong and Jared Huffman for backing this bill. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Senator (and mayoral candidate) Leland Yee of San Francisco came out swinging against it, calling the bill an attack on cultural heritage.

I call bullshit, Mr. Yee. I find it disgusting that we are even having this debate. This movement has the support of many Chinese people, including celebrity Yao Ming and Master Chef Martin Yan, and of the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance. These people and groups realize sustainability is more important than a bowl of soup. They want their heritage to be saving this species, not damning it to extinction.

Finning a shark alive is torture. Once the fins are removed the shark is thrown back into the ocean and sinks to the bottom, where it either bleeds to death or drowns because it can no longer swim. Because the entire body of the shark is not brought on board the fishing vessels can load their boat up with fins, which can fetch up to a $1,000 apiece (what I hear is the going rate for a whale shark fin).

Sharks play a vital role in the ocean. They are the tigers of the sea, and when you take the apex predator out the whole ecosystem collapses. They are being fished at an alarming rate. About 100 million are killed annually and about a third of the species are now threatened. In the last 15 years, species have declined by 50 percent. This has to stop. Either take it off the menus now or be forced to when there are no sharks left.
So what can you do to help? Please call or write your district representatives and ask for their support on AB 376. If you’re Asian American, you can also join the group Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance. Please check out Sea Stewards and Wild Aid for more info, and attend the Ocean Lovers Film Festival! [Ed.: And check out previous shark coverage on Vegansaurus! Because sharks are fucking rad and we love them.]

Caitlin Ryan is a supporter, volunteer, and activist for local conservation group Sea Stewards where her focus is on shark conservation as well as creating a healthy ocean. Photo from SeaPics.

12/21/2010

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