For Immediate Release:
June 16, 2022
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Marathon, Fla. – PETA has just learned that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has filed a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals and two misdemeanor possession charges against fisher Michael Bossert in response to the group’s complaint and video showing him slamming a shark against the side of a boat and apparently carving out chunks of the animal’s flesh to use as bait. Recently, another fisher, Charles Mora, was charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals for ripping the mantle—which houses the hearts and other organs—off a live octopus.
“Sharks feel agonizing pain when they’re slammed and hacked at, and Florida law prohibits such abuse, just as it prohibits mutilating a dog or cat,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. “Sensitive animals endure hideous deaths in the fishing industry every day, and PETA urges diners to go vegan and leave all sea life off the table.”
Sharks work together to find food, show curiosity about their environment, and solve puzzles. In the fishing industry, hundreds of thousands of sharks, octopuses, and other “nontarget” species are caught or become entangled in fishing nets—like those targeting tuna or shrimp—and are then discarded and left to die.
PETA’s footage was recorded on a vessel that supplied Keys Fisheries—the largest seller of stone crabs in Florida—and showed workers tearing the claws off live crabs and tossing the mutilated animals back into the ocean to suffer and die. PETA argues that this practice also violates Florida’s cruelty-to-animals law.
Broadcast-quality video footage is available for download here.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.