If you're a fan of sharks — scratch that, if you're a fan of the ocean, in general — prepare to have your day ruined. You're looking at a video, shot by Oceanic Love's Gary Stokes, that reveals how shark fins are laid out to dry by the thousands along the sidewalks of Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.
This is the aftermath of what Gordon Ramsay — who, as a cook, is accustomed to seeing animals slaughtered for food — once described as "without a doubt the worst act of animal cruelty [he's] ever seen." (Fair warning: the clip below, which is taken from Ramsay's documentary on the practice of shark fin hunting, is not for the squeamish.)
These fins you see on the sidewalk will be used to make shark fin soup, a delicacy which — despite running upwards of 200 dollars per bowl — is becoming increasingly popular among China's rapidly expanding upper middle class. And, as Gizmodo reported last September:
...that means many species of sharks, some of them already endangered, are being not just overfished, but mutilated for their fins while still alive. And then thrown back into the ocean to bleed to death. Lately it's happening to 1.5 million sharks per week. Up to 70 million per year.
But these fishing practices aren't just overwhelming and cruel, they're also indiscriminate. Shark fin hunters are as likely to lop off the fins of an endangered scalloped hammerhead shark as they are any other species of shark that they bring on board. In fact, many of the animals pulled from the water aren't even sharks to begin with; it's not uncommon for fish or even sea turtles to get dragged aboard.