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US environmental group backs anti-shark finning in Taiwan

TAIPEI--A U.S.-based environmental group said yesterday that it hopes to bring greater awareness and education to Taiwan about shark finning, the reprehensible practice in which fishermen cut the fins off sharks and then throw the animals back into the sea to die.

The week-long campaign includes an online petition that asks animal lovers to take a pledge to not eat shark fin soup and to demand that the government enact a ban on finning, of which Taiwan is a major proponent.

“It would be great if more than 30 percent of Taiwan's population would heed our campaign,” said Sue Chen, director of Shark Savers Inc.

Having promoted related campaigns in the U.S. over the past six years, Taiwan-born Chen said she wants to spread the message to her homeland since she feels that local sentiment is changing.

More and more Taiwanese people are aware of the importance of ecological diversity and devoted to wildlife conservation, according to Chen.

She said her organization, along with local grassroots sponsors, might present the results of the petition to the legislature.

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Artist Alice Newstead hangs by a fishhook pierced into her back at an anti-shark fining event at Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei, yesterday. The artist said that the back-piercing was to resemble the pain that sharks feel when their fins are cut off before they are thrown back into the ocean.

(CNA)

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