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house Bill H.R. 2951

Should Countries That Allow Shark Finning be Cut Off From U.S. Funding?

Argument in favor

Sharks play a vital role in the ecosystem of the Earth’s oceans, and currently there are many species being killed at a dangerous rate. Shark finning is a barbaric, wasteful practice that the U.S. should work to eradicate.

Alis's Opinion
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07/12/2015
It's time to draw the line! If we take a stand, others will follow. If we kill off every other creature we share with planet with, are we going to eat, drink & breathe money? Supporting the barbaric is what we do at home. At least internationally, the U.S. should be able to lead the way. Sharks after all weren't imported to North America as slaves so what excuse do we have for exterminating them?
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Loraki's Opinion
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06/24/2016
Like Countable member Jamison, I'm voting YEA, not because I care strongly about protecting sharks, but because I would like to see the US. cut WAY BACK on foreign aid and use that money for once to OUR BENEFIT! You know, "little" things like improving our infrastructure, securing our borders, and paying down our national DEBT!
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Adrian's Opinion
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07/12/2015
Just cut off aid for every foreign country. That's $40 billion per year we could be spending here.
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Argument opposed

Shark finning may sound harsh, but it would be intolerant for the U.S. to condemn other culture’s practices. Besides, cutting off funding based on how sharks are treated could undermine America’s diplomacy efforts over seas.

PacificCstar's Opinion
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08/14/2015
This is a horrible practice, but a small issue compared to the massive human rights issues worldwide. If we are going to draw a line and cut off funding let's start with issues like human trafficking and child soldiers.
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kveldheer's Opinion
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07/18/2015
If we are going to withhold money to change the behavior of another country we ought to focus on the countries who promote hatred against the U.S. (i.e. Pakistan) vs. focusing on countries whose activities are culturally unacceptable to us.
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Dustin's Opinion
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12/27/2016
When peta cares as much for human lives as it does animals then I'll agree to block funding. When abortion gets banded I'll stop eating shark fin soup, but until then...bring it on it's so good!!!!
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What is House Bill H.R. 2951?

This bill would prohibit the U.S. from financially assisting any country that does not prohibit:
  • Shark finning in its territorial waters, or
  • The importation, sale, or possession of shark fins obtained by shark finning.

Shark finning is the practice of taking a shark from the ocean, removing its fins and/or tail, then returning the remainder of the shark to the sea. While the shark is often alive while its fins are removed, it is unable to swim, and either suffocates or sinks to the ocean floor where it is eaten by other fish.

The U.S. banned all vessels operating within its (exclusive) economic zone from shark finning by passing the Shark Finning Prohibition Act in 2000. Shark finning poses a conservation challenge, as shark fin soup is a popular meal in other countries, and a 2009 estimate put the number of sharks killed as high as 73 million. According to another report, by 2013 the number of sharks killed annually had risen to about 100 million.

Impact

Sharks, people who care about shark conservation, shark fin soup lovers, U.S. agencies that fund countries that enable shark finning, foreign countries that haven’t banned shark finning.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2951

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: When introducing this bill’s predecessor in July 2014, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) noted that while shark finning has been banned by major European and Mediterranean countries, it's still permitted or unregulated in 93 nations.

In a statement released on Texas Insider, Rep. Farenthold said that he reintroduced this legislation because:

“it is an important step to show the international community where the United States stands on this issue and encourage other nations to follow suit.”


Of Note: A study by Dalhousie University on shark deaths found that between 6.4 and 7.9 percent of the populations of all shark species are killed annually — an alarming figure given that a death rate of 4.9 percent is required to maintain population stability.

There are 10 species of sharks listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and another 15 species — including two types of hammerheads — classified as endangered. Further, there are 48 shark species considered to be vulnerable, a list which includes the great white shark and the basking shark.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Giåm)

AKA

JAWS Act

Official Title

To prohibit foreign assistance to countries that do not prohibit shark finning in the territorial waters of the country or the importation, sale, or possession of shark fins obtained as a result of shark finning.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedJuly 7th, 2015
    It's time to draw the line! If we take a stand, others will follow. If we kill off every other creature we share with planet with, are we going to eat, drink & breathe money? Supporting the barbaric is what we do at home. At least internationally, the U.S. should be able to lead the way. Sharks after all weren't imported to North America as slaves so what excuse do we have for exterminating them?
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a horrible practice, but a small issue compared to the massive human rights issues worldwide. If we are going to draw a line and cut off funding let's start with issues like human trafficking and child soldiers.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    Like Countable member Jamison, I'm voting YEA, not because I care strongly about protecting sharks, but because I would like to see the US. cut WAY BACK on foreign aid and use that money for once to OUR BENEFIT! You know, "little" things like improving our infrastructure, securing our borders, and paying down our national DEBT!
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    Just cut off aid for every foreign country. That's $40 billion per year we could be spending here.
    Like (11)
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    I'm 100% in favor of condemning those who actively take part in barbaric practices like this, and the governments who defend these actions.
    Like (6)
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    I'm saying yea, not because I'm a bleeding heart over shark finning, but because I'm against the US funding any nation that isn't the US.
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    All countries need to be cut off from US funding. We're in debt up to our great grandchildren's ears. When we have our finances squared away, then we can "aid" others.
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    You can cross out the "that allow shark finning" portion - the US should not be providing funds to any other country as a general rule. Foreign aid takes money from poor people in one country and gives it to rich people in another. Make "not funding any foreign countries" the rule, not the exception.
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    If we are going to withhold money to change the behavior of another country we ought to focus on the countries who promote hatred against the U.S. (i.e. Pakistan) vs. focusing on countries whose activities are culturally unacceptable to us.
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    I don't care at all about sharks. I do care about my tax dollars going anywhere outside of the US. A lot of members have the same view and I agree. Stop funding other countries!
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    The act is barbaric. If you remove the fins, make use of the rest of the shark for food. Removing the fins and putting it back into the water is torture. If countries can't show common decency and compassion, they don't need our money. Besides, we have enough problems at home. We should cut off all foreign aid until we are out of debt.
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    We are 18 TRILLION IN DEBT. Any excuse to cut off foreign aid is a good excuse. STOP SPENDING!!
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    Overfishing is what causes sharks to venture closer to beaches- and to find new sources of food. Think on that for a bit.
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    When peta cares as much for human lives as it does animals then I'll agree to block funding. When abortion gets banded I'll stop eating shark fin soup, but until then...bring it on it's so good!!!!
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    USA shouldn't be funding ant country
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    Normally I am in favor of almost any law that protects animals. However, throwing diplomacy under the bus in such a manner is ludicrous. There are other ways we can combat this problem, without risks our ability to negotiate with these countries
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    Do we care about the wildlife or not? This is a solid way to out our feet down just like our European neighbors.
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    I personally don't like sharks. I don't like how they attack, maim or kill unsuspecting humans. I feel we should leave other countries alone on this issue.
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    We're tremendously in debt. We can't be finding any country. That's objective mathematics.
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    How ridiculous does this sound? Cut funding because of finning but five billions to a country that vowed death to America. This is totally absurd
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