Sharks are the Adolf Hitlers of the ocean, not because they are deranged, but because discussion about them causes people to shout and threaten one another with bodily harm.
Or impale themselves on giant fish hooks.
That's what one LUSH cosmetics employee will do tomorrow in San Francisco. The grisly stunt is part of a global campaign to sell "shark fin soap," a campaign backers hope will save the pelagic species, including here in South Florida -- shark central.
LUSH has partnered with activist group Shark Savers to sell "shark fin soap" in stores across the nation this week (no shark fins included, see below for a picture).
The goal is to not only raise money to help protect the species -- an estimated 100 million of which are killed every year -- but also push for state-by-state bans on the shark fin trade, says LUSH campaign manager Brandi Halls.
"She will be hung through the skin on her back," Halls explains of LUSH employee Alice Newstead. "She's meant to represent the shark, and the hooks are the same ones used in longlining process."
"It's horrific," she says. "The sharks are hauled onboard, their fins are sliced off, and sometimes they're dumped back in the ocean to die."
Shark "finning," as the procedure is called, is illegal in Florida and the U.S., but state and national authorities say it still happens infrequently.
As we reported in a feature earlier this summer, just about the only thing that shark fishermen and shark scientists agree on is that without the fin industry, shark fishing wouldn't be an issue.
In fact, LUSH's shark campaign coincides with a push to pass AB 376, a bill to ban the possession or sale of shark fins that has stalled in the California Senate. The legislation has proved controversial, especially in San Francisco, because shark fin soup is considered a delicacy by many Chinese-Americans.
But similar bills have already passed in Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, Halls points out. Why not California? Or Florida, for that matter?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The Sunshine State might not be home to many Chinese-Americans, but it's the epicenter of America's shark fin industry. Thirty years after government encouragement and Steven Spielberg's Jaws combined to create a boom in shark killing, South Florida remains home to roughly two-thirds of shark fishermen on the Atlantic or Gulf coasts.
Halls says LUSH will circulate a petition to ban shark fins in Florida at its Dadeland and Aventura mall locations.
Thankfully, Newstead and her hooks will be across the coast in San Francisco. See below for another photo of what her performance will look like, but be aware: It's pretty gross.