Thursday, June 16, 2011

Getting Hooked to Protest Shark-finning

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British performance artist Alice Newstead has taken her protest against shark fishing to Hong Kong, again backed by Lush, the British cosmetics company. She explained that because Hong Kong serves as a key trend setting city among Asian communities, it’s only the people of Hong Kong who can lead the way to stopping this brutal luxury consumer practice of using shark fin soup as a display of wealth.

On June 14, 2011, Newstead allowed herself to be suspended by fish hooks pierced through the skin on her back. In fact, she performed this same stunt at the Lush cosmetics shop in London's Regent's Street in 2008. She took the drastic action in protest at the inhumane practice of finning – where sharks are impaled on hooks, before their fins are sliced off to harvest meat for shark fin soup. The sharks are then thrown back into the ocean still alive but unable to swim and sentenced to certain death. She had declared her opposition to the killing of 73 million sharks a year, threatening their extinction.

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According to UK’s The Telegraph (September 03, 2008), Newstead, once worked as a Lush sales assistant, but now works full-time as an artist, performing with a group called Constant Elevation, whose members specialize in hanging from hooks pierced through their skin. Newstead explained this extreme form of art: "I have had my torso, legs, arms, stomach and knees pierced before so that I could hang from them, so this is no big deal".

She added: "Being hung from the chest is more painful than the back because it restricts your breathing, but as long as the piercer knows what they are doing then it is completely safe".

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