Witness Reports: Sharks Harpooned, Dragged to Death; PETA Seeks Investigation

For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Jupiter, Fla. – After concerned citizens alerted PETA that animals were tormented, tortured, and killed at a local shark-fishing tournament in what appear to be violations of the state’s cruelty-to-animals statute and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulations, the group has just sent a letter to FWC Director Col. Roger Young urging the agency to investigate and file appropriate charges against those responsible. As the letter points out, timely intervention and action are particularly important, as the company that organized the tournament is reportedly planning another one.

PETA’s letter points to reports revealing numerous apparent violations of law that occurred during the first tournament in July, including that fishing crews used harpoons to stab a bull shark to death and dragged another shark to death over several hours. It appears that participants may also have illegally used guns, bangsticks, and unapproved hooks to catch and kill sharks. PETA also received unconfirmed reports that participants killed a protected lemon shark. Additional information about this shark-fishing tournament and other deadly shark torture in Florida is available here.

“Sharks simply minding their own business were hunted down and killed in prolonged, agonizing, and seemingly illegal ways by participants in this bloodbath,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. “PETA is calling on the FWC to investigate these sickening allegations and enforce the law, and we’re appealing to the public to leave aquatic animals in peace by enjoying surfing, kayaking, ‘trash fishing,’ and other nonviolent activities.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that 70 million sharks are killed every year by humans, even though robust shark populations are imperative for healthy oceans.

For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind