Target: Cesar Chavez, Chairman of Kern County Fair
Goal: Cancel upcoming shark encounter exhibit that subjects sharks to a chaotic, unnatural environment.
The Haai Shark Encounter is causing serious stress to sharks by letting people get up close and personal with them. A diver interacts with a shark, pulling on their fins and tails, while narrating information to the audience. Audience members are invited to get up close to the tank and tap on the glass to elicit the sharks’ reactions. This is a stressful and unnatural experience for these private creatures, who are accustomed to swimming for miles undisturbed.
Misconceptions about sharks fuel our ongoing fascination with them. We are in awe of their strength and power, yet fearful of their capacity to kill. These misconceptions paint sharks as ruthless killers who seek to maim and devour any living creature that crosses their path. Sadly, the way we perceive sharks is what allows them to be used as exhibits for our amusement.
Haai Inc. appears to have good intentions in displaying sharks in this matter. Its goal is to raise awareness about the plight of this misunderstood predator, which may soon be under threat of extinction due to hunting and over-fishing. Haai only uses sharks that are already on display in aquariums around the country and eventually retires them to a suitable exhibit.
While that may certainly be better than using wild-caught sharks, it is still cruel to subject any shark to the stress of being transported and poked and prodded. It is important that the public be educated about the dangers to which humans have subjected sharks, but Haai’s execution leaves much to be desired.
The shark encounter will be appearing at a number of county fairs this summer. Tell the Kern County Fair board of directors that they should cancel their scheduled Haai exhibit until this organization’s methods of education have improved for the sharks’ sake.
Dear Mr. Chavez,
I must strongly urge you and your board of directors to cancel the upcoming Haai Shark Encounter exhibit at the Kern County Fair. Despite its educational intentions, Haai Inc. subjects its sharks to completely unnatural and stressful environments. After being transported from an aquarium–an already stressful ordeal–the sharks must then endure the noise and clamor of an excited audience, plus the pulling and poking of the diver. This treatment is possibly detrimental to the sharks’ health and should not be encouraged.
It is true that sharks are in great danger, and Haai Inc.’s dedication to preserving this noble hunter is admirable. However, the way in which this organization chooses to educate audiences does not seem to have the sharks’ best interests in mind. Until their methods have improved, please do not support Haai Inc. by hosting its exhibit at the Kern County Fair.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Roderick Eime