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Payback Is Hell!

Written by PETA | July 28, 2008

Move over, National Garden Week! Out of the way, Waffle Week (OK, maybe you can stay). And get off my lawn, all you prevention and awareness weeks. This is the coolest week ever … Shark Week! Catch this (geddit?): The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is back for its 21st year, and I am pumped. When else do you get a whole week of programming dedicated to these pointy-toothed wonders?

Shark Week has another purpose, though, besides just being scary (which it totally is). Shark Week’s programs teach viewers that shark populations on the coast of the Eastern U.S. declined by 80 percent in the ’70s and ’80s because of shark fishing for “sport” and steak.

Sharks are hunted not only because of the high price fetched by their teeth, jaws, and fins but also because of their reputation as human-killers.

True, an average of 10 humans die each year because of shark attacks. However, this is nothing compared to the 100 million sharks (and billions of other sea animals) killed by humans every year—so that humans can eat them.

When you think about the painful way that all fish are slaughtered for fun and food—suffocated, crushed to death, and cut open alive—shark attacks really don’t seem all that unprovoked, do they?

On that note, check out our new billboard. It’s going up in the cities that see the most shark attacks:

Payback is Hell

For more information on sharks and fishing, please visit—and watch Shark Week! I will!

Posted by Amanda Schinke

Commenting is closed.
  • Shelley says:

    Very disappointed in Peta today. We work so hard to end terrible attitudes such as this and here is Peta doing it. We should be setting a better example of love and compassion! And Peta’s automatic response that they sometimes have to use rude tactics is unacceptable. Please, do not sink to their level, rise above it. Yes, I love animals and work with Peta to end animal cruelty but also believe this is the wrong approach in reaching people. We worked so hard to end the “Jaws” attitude towards sharks and here you are putting that back out there. Very disappointed!

  • Jildo says:

    This ad is not very good, people already know or think sharks are mindless killers how is this going to help??? If your going to do it, I think it could be fixed with a little change, just changed it from a shark eating a person to a person killing a shark, because people don’t realize what is happening to them and that 100 million sharks die every year and after being finned it may takes days or weeks for them to die, but they are scared of being killed by a shark, this is only going to make the problem WORSE!

  • 6000 says:

    While I don’t agree with the practice of shark-finning, coming from a city where there was a near fatal shark attack just yesterday (, I fail to see what this ad is meant to achieve. Firstly, it does shark PR (already in a bit of a dip for obvious aforementioned reasons) no favours whatsoever: there’s nothing like a severed human leg to reinforce negative imagery around these animals. Secondly, it suggests that the shark population is out for some bizarre type of revenge. Well, perhaps the odd one that rears up on the deck of a fishing vessel and fights back, but shark populations generally? No. That’s a ridiculous suggestion. Thirdly, who is this aimed at? Shark fishermen? Who knows, maybe they’ll think twice next time they’re about to set sail, but like it or not, that’s their livelihood right there. Or beach goers? While I’m aware that there may be some small degree of crossover between these groups, I can’t help but feel that you’re barking up the wrong tree if you’re somehow suggesting that people must go vegan to lessen their chances of being attacked when swimming? Nope – when you look at this ad, I think it’s pretty clear that this is utterly stupid – start to finish.

  • Traecy says:

    I have always admired and supported the groups that stand up for the rights of animals. However, after seeing the ad with a HUMAN leg in a sharks mouth, I am embarrassed to be associated with such groups. You went beyond the line of reason and empathy with this ad and instead of a positive affect to motivate others to join your cause, the opposite is more likely to have happened.

  • MarMar says:

    I love sharks.

  • Krystina says:

    ah, PETA, you let me down on this one. While usually i’m right there with you fighting the good fight, this one went wrong. This is just reinforcing the negative stereotype people already associate with sharks. This will only do more harm then good. EPIC FAIL PETA.

  • Holly says:

    Teach our children kindness so they are effected by suffering and not numb to it.Go Vegan…

  • Maya, CVT says:

    And by the way, I agree that PETA is a revolutionary organization, and I thank the Earth for them every day. There is no way in hell I would bother posting about them all the time if I were not a huge supporter of their organization overall.It’s just that PETA does not seem to see how they are driving people right back to that plate of steak, because that is what they are doing with these tactics. They may never see why unless they hire a psychologist.

  • gerry says:

    This ad needs more clarification. For all the great things Peta has done(they are numerous)one should not forget that the chief administrator there will ocasionally make decisions based on marketing the Peta name-brand first and the animals second. This does not happen often but regularly when Peta is not in the news for some time. This is not necessarily a bad thing due to the importance of what advertizers have known for years. Peta will conduct fantastic traveling campaigns across the country but STRANGELY not notify their members that they are coming to their city to help out. Also, the protest will last only as long as it takes for the media to show up, translation: to hell with the locals.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Hi Susan ;)I share your concern for animals, and I agree with everything you said. However, I’ve worked professionally both with wildlife and domestic animals for many years now.I’m sorry to tell you that PETA’s in-your-face style has driven more people away from animal rights than it has enlightened people.PETA has only hurt the cause with their ads. Yes, people know the ad is just an eye-cathcer.But most of the general public are “guilty” of eating meat, ignorance of how to care for their pets, etc. People know this and they have guilt about it.PETA’s tactics only make the general public feel attacked, assaluted and angry. It is worse than worthless, it is harmful and not conducive to education. PETA needs to hire some PR people or psychologists if they want real change.Peace.Maya

  • Susan T says:

    This is to Maya. If the media were truly unbiased, it would be wonderful if people who are passionate about ending animal cruelty in all walks of life could be heard regularly. But the networks have no guts and the sponsors would pull out faster than you can say K F C. Maya, ask your neighbor if she’s willing to watch animals being tortured and killed so she understands what’s happening and may be moved to actually do something about it. Most of the time, media just rejects the ads because they are “not appropriate for the viewing public.” Of course animal cruelty is not appropriate but that’s precisely the point–people have to see and know what’s happening before action occurs to end these practices. Right now, as I write this, animal torture continues on a scale that should make people gasp in horror, and its done under the guise of agriculture, “sport”, medicine and entertainment.The problem with humans is that we’ve lost our connection to all life other than human life. And, its because of this missing link that we continue to wage wars and kill others without batting an eyelash.Isaac Bashevis Singer once said that..”as long as human beings go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace.”Anyone with a pea brain knows the shark is not out for revenge. It’s just clever wording of the ad….paybacks (what we do to innocent creatures) ARE A BITCH… AND THEY DAMN WELL SHOULD BE!!!

  • Katie says:

    I think that what you are doing is awesome. I think that billboard will be very effective because we have so many idiots that dont realize what they are doing and if they do, they dont stop anyways. I feel the same way you do, because i LOVE sharks with a passion, and will pursue a career in them. I have a feeling this will stick in their heads. your amazing peta!

  • paul says:

    Lets not advertise shark week …on the Dirty Jobs show on discovery channel during shark week. They baited a hook and caught a rare and seldom seen Greenland shark then killed one and cut it up for studying on TV..that is horrid.Discovery Channel lost my respect

  • Sarah says:

    This ad is very wrong. Sharks do not know the concept of revenge. It is a human emotion and while sharks feel pain it does not make them human.As a person who finds sharks beautiful and amazing animals I find this insulting to the shark.As well to the humans.Someone mentioned that a shark would not be offended if he saw this ad. That is lovely, but the shark will not see this ad. A shark cannot understand this ad. You forget that it is humans you are trying to reach out to with your messages and thus you need to dig down and find those human emotions, like revenge…but on a kinder level. If you release this ad I’m worried that it will be PETA killing the sharks, and not just fishermen. Shark Week is trying their best to help show people that sharks are only animals, programmed to hunt and survive. Yes, not everything on Shark Week is ‘PETA safe’ but that still doesn’t mean that they have a message that they are trying to get across.That message is ‘Sharks are NOT man-eaters.’And also, that picture is VERY wrong. When a shark attacks it is usually a test bite, thinking the person is a natural prey (seal, turtle, etc) it is very rare, almost never, that a shark completely eats a person. Human is not their natural diet. So please, think about the sharks that will be hated because of this ad. Think about how many people are going to laugh at you already (You were very close to having me support you, but sadly this crossed the line. I’m sorry I hope you can redeem yourself since it looks like you lost a lot of fan-base.)Please think about the HUMANS who you are advertising to. Humans, I know how much you dislike them, are your only chance at saving the shark. There may be many PETA, Vegans, etc, but there are a lot more meat eaters and a lot more people who don’t care about the welfare of animals. -Sarah

  • Chunks says:

    Although funny at first it could be a bit less scary,this ad does not scream “Hey!Lets help sharks stableize their populatoin!” to the general public.

  • Emily says:

    Humans ruin everything. 🙁 Everyone needs to go green and care about eachother and all creatures on this planet. Earth is ours to SHARE!

  • A Boy from Oz says:

    This is just plain wrong.I’m from Australia, specifically the south coast. That region’s ocean comes straight from Antarctica, and with it seals and, naturally, sharks. So, we tend to have a lot of Great Whites lurking about.Most of us Aussies know that the Great White is a savage killing machine, but, hey, he’s an apex predator, that’s what they do. Most of us know that anyone who gets attacked by a Great White is usually a victim of mistaken identity – from below, to the shark’s eyes, we look an awful lot like a seal, therefore lunch.We take sensible precautions to avoid shark attacks – in fact, in Adelaide during the summer, there is routinely helicopter overflights of the beaches on Shark Watch patrol. Should the chopper spot a shark getting too close to the beach, they’ll radio it in and the beach will be immediately closed off.But we also know that not all sharks are man-eaters. Many are actually harmless, like the Grey Nurse. These sharks are fish-eaters, so we don’t even vaguely resemble a meal to them. And they almost never attack people.And, in the west, we have those gentle giants, the whale sharks, which you can go swimming with – for a price.So, to those with a bit of knowledge, sharks are not man-eating monsters deliberately out for our blood.Your billboard screams otherwise, however. And not only does it fail to elicit sympathy for these ancient creatures, it paints them in a horrible light.

  • Kelly says:

    I usually am all for your ads and campaigns, but I think this ad is a little offensive.

  • Erin says:

    I have been watching Shark Week and I want to do more to save our oceans and marine wildlife overall. Please look into more action alerts for sharks and marine life! THank you so much!!

  • Tami Kannenberg says:

    Put a picture of a live shark being finned and dumped back into the ocean to drown, instead of the shark eating a human. And add the slogan, “why are we afraid of sharks? Sharks should be terrified of us!”The practice of shark finning is far worse than any slaughter house. After being finned alive, the sharks are dumped back in the water to drown.

  • Tony R. says:

    What goes around comes around. A never ending cycle of transformation. We are only as good as we treat other life forms, great and small. In truth all our life quest are probably not a question of whether a creature is good or bad but, that they are probably as sensitive to life as we ourselves are. Thank You.

  • Anon says:

    While this type of ad may catch some people’s attention, I really don’t think it sends out the right message. How would you feel seeing this if you or someone you are close to got attacked by a shark? It wouldn’t make you feel too good, would it? This particular ad makes it seem like sharks want revenge, which isn’t what PETA should be emphasizing. They should be trying to get people to realize that sharks, an important part of OUR ecosystem, will be gone soon if we don’t stop killing them (whether it be out of spite, sport, or for food). Yes, they’ve injured and even killed people. What animal hasn’t, in some way, injured a human. While some of these injuries have been provoked, sharks aren’t aware of the mass murder of their species due to humans. However, I do think certain animals in certain situations are capable of revenge-like behaviour. Such as the bull and matadors (as stated earlier in another comment). The bulls know what has been done to them because of the direct pain those people inflicted on them. Sharks, on the other hand don’t experience this so much and need to be given some slack. The few people they do unfortunately kill are MISTAKEN FOR food while the thousands that we kill are THOUGHT OF AS food. That’s my 2cents. Hope it was well recieved!

  • Allison says:

    I understand the need to grab people’s attention by shocking them, or showing very emotional images…however, I agree with some of the other comments, that this image only further demonizes sharks. That is ABSOLUTELY NOT what we want to do! We don’t want people to hate a creature out of fear, thus leave it alone…we want people to value it for it’s beauty and inherent value as a living thing.

  • Beth Benson says:

    PETA, c’mon! This ad is only reinforcing the shark’s negative image. I’m disappointed that they didn’t think of a better way to reach those who need to understand why sharks need protection. Not give them yet another excuse to hunt sharks and hate PETA. Shame on PETA marketing and shame on such a great organization.

  • Kristen says:

    If I was driving along and saw that, it would really get my attention, and that’s the whole point of a billboard. Although I do agree with some of the other would be a painful sight to see if you were a victim of a shark attack. I think the ad does little to help sharks because it’s looking at them in a negative way, and if that ad is posted, people will continue to see sharks in a negative way. They are beautiful creatures and deserve more than to be seen as destructive revenge seekers. I think if you really want people to understand the true beauty and essence of these animals, you need to show them something positive they don’t know about sharks.