I am shit–scared of spiders. Too many legs, too many eyes, too much ability to crawl into my mouth while I’m sleeping. But no matter how scared I am, I take it upon myself to never, ever, EVER knowingly kill them or cause them pain (mainly because I fear that their families will hunt me down and all crawl into my mouth at once).
Same thing goes for sharks. Sharks are pretty scary. Heaps of teeth, realllllllly small eyes, a freaky two-note theme song. Can’t say I’d want to snuggle up to one in the ocean. However, just like I don’t believe in spider-killing, I think that this shark-culling business in Western Australia is absolute bullshit.
It is heartbreakingly sad that families have lost loved ones to shark attacks. It is an unfathomable experience, beyond my imagination. I hope it can be prevented from ever happening again.
However, I don’t think killing the sharks off one by one is the answer. Firstly, because of my spider theory – if the sharks ever gang up to get revenge, we are all fucked. We can kiss a relaxing dip in the sea goodbye.
A shiver* of sharks will await in the shallows, ready to snip the toes off any human who dares set foot in the water, settling the score for their brother-in-law Bob who was culled a few months back. Okay, my imagination may be running away a little. Secondly, it won’t necessarily make a difference.
Hawaii tried it in the 1960’s and 1970’s. These programs were expensive, culled 4,668 sharks and yet failed to produce measurable decreases in shark bite incidents. (Cheers, SBS. Interesting article that will give you the facts from both sides.) Thirdly, it’s just not fair. We are killing the sharks for being sharks.
Now, I would like to be a better human by being a vegan, but I’m not. I eat meat, despite the fact I like animals. But I still don’t like the nonsensical culling. Sharks who mung on humans are just being sharks. It sucks for the humans involved, but the shark was hanging out in it’s home waters and following it’s instincts. Occasionally, dogs follow their animal instincts and hurt kids. Magpies follow their instincts and peck your fucking eyes out. Spiders follow their instincts and crawl into my mouth**.
If we kill animals for being animals, it’s going to be a pretty miserable planet. So I think this should be the rule: We can kill sharks when they start acting like shitty humans.
5 circumstances in which it is okay to kill a shark:
(Illustrations by the fabulous Philippa Spicer)
1. If a shark is following you late at night, in a dark alley.
2. If a shark climbs in through your window in the middle of the night.
3. If a shark is a pyromaniac and starts a bushfire that destroys thousands of homes and lives.
4. If a shark cuts you off in traffic.
5. If a shark steals your husband/wife/job/lunch.
Circumstances in which it is not okay to kill a shark:
1. When he is in the shark ocean, being a shark and doing sharky things.
I think we should just leave them the fu*k alone.
Especially you, WA Premier Colin Barnett. I’d be careful if I were you. They say the intelligence of sharks is evolving. When they figure out how to walk on land, it’s not my window they’re going to be climbing through.
Just sayin’. You better listen out for that two-tone theme song. Good fucking luck.
*How gangster is that collective noun?
**This doesn’t happen as often as I am making it sound… I hope.
Lucy Gransbury is an actor and cabaret artist based in Melbourne. In between visits to the Nutella aisle of the supermarket, she can be found performing her original comedy cabarets, ‘Dorothy Parker’s Sweet Release of Death’ and ‘Tell Me About Yourself’. Follow her on Twitter (@LucyGransbury), read her blog here, or just meet her in the Nutella aisle.
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