Alyn Takes Local Petition Against Shark Finning To European Parliament

THOUSANDS of people have backed a campaign by Scottish MEP Alyn Smith to ban the barbaric and hideous practice of cutting the fins off sharks in order to serve them as soup.

Today (Tuesday) Alyn - a leading member of the EU’s influential Agriculture Committee - will deliver a petition containing the signatures from Deep Sea World at North Queensferry to the European Parliament in Strasbourg in advance of a crucial vote on the issue.  Alyn has also received a petition organised by the UK Shark Trust to end the practice.
 
Thousands of people have given their names in support of the ban in a campaign organised by SNP Euro politician Alyn in association with Deep Sea World in North Queenferry, Fife.
 
A passionate campaigner for animal rights, he overcame his fears and went diving with the sharks at the popular tourist attraction last month.  He has today circulated the photos of the dive to fellow MEPs in Strasbourg with his last minute plea to vote with him to close the loopholes in the EU ban on shark finning once and for all.
 
The dive, which attracted huge media attention, helped to raise awareness of the intensely cruel practice of shark finning. They are hauled aboard fishing boats and the fins are then removed with the remainder of the shark being discarded at sea. This leaves the creature to die a slow and painful death.
 
The practice - carried out in the EU almost exclusively by some Spanish and Portuguese fishermen - occurs as a result of continuing demand for shark fin soup which is primarily a Chinese delicacy.
 
The European Parliament will debate and vote on imposing a comprehensive ban at its plenary session this week. Long time campaigners including Alyn are confident that a clampdown throughout the European Union will be achieved.
 
Speaking from Strasbourg today, Alyn said:
 
“As Honorary Vice-President of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and as an Honorary Associate of the British Veterinary Association, animal welfare is a matter which is really close to my heart.
 
“We now have the chance to close the loopholes which were in the original legislation and put in place an unequivocal ban on shark finning throughout the EU. This is a position where I want us to be and my colleagues in the Greens/EFA group in Parliament have been fighting hard for this for a long time now.
 
“While this vote may seem like a no-brainer for many, especially since most European countries already have this ban in place, unfortunately this is certainly not the case.
 
“We have witnessed huge efforts and imaginative tactics to try and delay to this report from the Portuguese rapporteur and the Spanish Christian Democrat MEPs. This isn’t surprising since Spain and Portugal are the only two countries in the EU which still allow shark finning.
 
“As this hideous practice is now one of the biggest threats to sharks worldwide, I really hope that sense prevails during the vote this week and that we are able to do our bit to help preserve this wonderful species.”