“The ocean is our domain and sharks have no place destroying lives and livelihoods; these predators are lurking out there ready to cull humans and we as a community must find a permanent solution.”
Our domain? Really? What kind of self-entitled bullshit is that? This was just one of the cringe-worthy statements made by Laura Banks of the DailyTelegraph in her latest brilliant article entitled, “When sharks are eating people, it’s time to cull.”
At first glance, we thought it was a satirical piece made to provide a few cheap laughs and ridicule the absurd opinions of those who actually accept the culling of sharks as a viable solution to this taxing debate. To The Inertia, her words were like nails on a chalkboard. And ones that certainly demand a response.
We could go on for days about why Laura’s opinion is a terrible idea, but not many have summed it up quite as well as The Inertia’s very own Alex Haro in his article “Why Culling Sharks is a Dumb Idea.”
“I’m not going to say that anyone that agrees with it [culling] is wrong, or dumb, or cruel, but I will say that they’re misinformed. Culling sharks does NOT work. It only serves to make the people that assume that killing large, terrifying predators decreases attack rates feel better.” Alex goes on his piece using data and opinions of experts in order to support his claim—both of which Laura Banks fails to do.
We do realize that there is a disproportionately high number of fatal shark attacks in Australia compared to other countries. But before overreacting, consider the risk. According to Shark Angels, in the last 215 years in Australia, only 18 shark-related fatalities have occurred. That’s an average of one death every 12 years. In the U.S, where you are 5 times more likely to be bitten, your odds of drowning are 1 in 3.5 million. Your odds of dying from a shark bite are less than 1 in 264 million. And, in 2008, in Australia, one person died from a shark bite, 315 died from drowning, and 694 died in car accidents. When you stack up Laura’s suggestion with the number of elephants, bears, hippos, lions, and even dogs that are responsible for human fatalities, I suppose she would encourage the killing of all those animals, too, right? Because it’s “our domain,” right?
In addition to the load of statistics available, Laura’s argument is rather baseless for the simple fact that the ocean isn’t our domain. Neither is the rainforests, mountains, rivers, and deserts. And to think humans are more entitled to those resources than all other living things is precisely the mentality that fuels things such as animal extinction and environmental degradation, among many other adverse consequences. We’ve seen the statistics. We’ve seen that the culling of sharks was a terrible idea. Now, how about we hear the opinions of people who actually contribute to a healthy discussion on the debate. After all, we put a man on the moon, we certainly can determine a method to ensure sharks and humans can peacefully coexist.