World's Biggest Shark Slaughterhouse Exposed

China factory turns whale sharks into fish oil

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 28, 2014 1:41 AM CST
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(Newser) – Huge numbers of sharks from endangered species are being slaughtered and turned into products including health supplements at a giant slaughterhouse in China, a conservation group has discovered. Investigators from WildLifeRisk found that more than 600 whale sharks are slaughtered at the factory every year, along with large numbers of other sharks from threatened species including great whites, the South China Morning Post reports.

The sharks, caught as far away as Mexico, are used for fish oils sold in countries including the US and Canada. "We went there three times in the past three years and each time the scale of the slaughter was truly staggering," the conservation group's directors wrote in a report. "It's even more incredible that this carnage is all for the sake of non-essential lifestyle props, such as lipsticks, face creams, health supplements, and shark's fin soup." The group has called on Chinese authorities to close the factory and investigate the company behind it. (In more positive shark-related news, an extinct shark has been found—at a fishmarket.)

Hundreds of whale sharks like this one are slaughtered at the factory every year.
Hundreds of whale sharks like this one are slaughtered at the factory every year.   (AP Photo/University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Eric Hoffmayer)
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How these harmless creatures, these gentle giants of the deep, can be slaughtered on such an industrial scale is beyond belief. - Alex Hofford and Paul Hilton,
WildLifeRisk directors

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