Fashionable home trend keeps sharks in cruel confinement
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Home Shark Tanks Are In. Just One Problem: Sharks Make Terrible Pets,” identified an alarming trend among luxury home owners.
We see this often: animals considered to be "exotic" or symbols of power are taken from their homes in the wild and forced into life as a domestic pet, or worse, poached for their fur, skin, or bones.
While the Wall Street Journal article addressed some of the horrific outcomes that occur when people attempt to maintain a pet shark, it did not go far enough in detailing the core reason this is a bad idea -- keeping a wild animal as nothing more than a design element to satisfy one’s own ego is cruel.
Sharks should never be kept as pets, no matter how ‘in’ they are or powerful they make a homeowner feel. Sharks flourish in their wild ocean homes – not in confined tanks. No manmade environment can replicate their natural conditions. Uneducated owners can cause an animal’s untimely death and be unprepared to care for the shark for its entire life, essentially treating them as disposable pets.
Sharks are endangered due to human activity including overfishing, shark-finning, and entanglements in abandoned fishing gear. To supply the exotic pet trade, sharks are cruelly poached from their habitats if not bred in captivity, further depleting endangered populations.
We must protect these wild animals that are important to their ocean ecosystems. As explained in the article, as pets, sharks will often eat their tank mates. In the wild, they sit at the top of the food chain and help preserve healthy oceans. Removing sharks from their habitats for power gratification is irresponsible and harms the entire ecosystem.
Like big cats and other wild animals cruelly prized as pets, sharks are dangerous predators, posing a risk to people and other animals. Many owners abandon their wild pets once they realize they can’t adequately care for them, further jeopardizing the animals’ well-being.
We urge all homeowners to remember that there is no humane way to keep wild animals like sharks as pets. They belong in the wild.