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For Immediate Release: 07/24/14

Born Free USA Applauds Governor Patrick Signing Shark Fin Bill in Massachusetts

Bill will prohibit the trade of most shark fins

Washington, D.C. -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, commends Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick for signing H. 4088. Sponsored by state Representative Jason Lewis, this bill is an important step toward reducing the shark fin trade that devastates shark populations worldwide.

According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “Shark finning is a particularly cruel practice in which people cut the fins off live sharks and return their bodies to the water where the sharks inevitably die. The animals who are cast back into the ocean suffer slow, painful deaths by drowning or blood loss. This is not a fate that any animal should suffer.”

Shark fins are most often used in shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy that has made the fins the most lucrative part of the animal. Fins that are introduced through ports, such as those in Massachusetts, are shipped to markets across the nation, which contributes to the demand for this cruel product.

Roberts adds, “Conservation crises of this scale demand a widespread response. Shark finning does not threaten just a few sharks, but 73 million sharks every year worldwide. Many of these sharks are endangered species.” As keystone species and the apex predator at the top of ocean food chains, they are crucial to the survival of ecosystems.

As more states in the U.S. pass bans on shark fins, the global threat to shark populations is reduced. Born Free USA thanks Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts legislature for taking a stand against this horrific practice and ending the trade of most shark fins in the state.

Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, the organization leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.

Media contact: Rodi Rosensweig, publicrelations@bornfreeusa.org, (203) 270-8929.

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