Update (Sept 13): Livestrong.com has removed the vast majority of offending pages from their website, but they have not communicated with me or Change.org regarding a no-shark-products policy for Livestrong.com and other Demand Media-owned web properties. We have decided to make it even easier for them, by drafting a policy for them. Let's keep spreading the word about the petition, and urge them to institute this policy!
SUGGESTED POLICY FOR LIVESTRONG.COM:
As a policy, Demand Media and the subsidiary Livestrong.com do not publish or endorse recipes or supplements that involve sharks or shark products. With many species of sharks at endangered, threatened or near threatened levels, and overfishing threatening even more sharks, it is unsustainable to do so. Livestrong.com strives to change lives and empower people to make healthy and sustainable decisions; this involves leaving sharks out of our diets. We understand that sharks are a globally threatened species and we make efforts to stay informed and conscientious about what information we pass to our audience.
Livestrong.com offers recipes for several species of shark that are considered threatened or endangered, including the scalloped hammerhead and tiger shark. Livestrong acknowledges this, but still encourages eating these overfished species:
From Tiger Shark recipe (removed from their website on Sept 11): Due to over-fishing and finning, a fishing practice in which sharks are killed only for their fins, tiger sharks are classified as near endangered.
From Scalloped Hammerhead recipe (removed from their website on Sept 11): In many areas it is overfished and has "protected" status, so be sure you catch or purchase your shark legally.
Sharks have been swimming the world’s oceans for more than 400 million years. But today, shark populations are in trouble globally. People kill over 70 million sharks per year.
As many as one-third of all shark species are threatened or endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Evidence shows that actual global catch of sharks may be three to four times higher than the official statistics reported to FAO.
Furthermore, the WHO and the FDA discourage people from eating sharks, as they have one of the highest levels of mercury of fish in the sea. Mercury has been linked with neurological and heart problems, and is also not recommended for pregnant women or children.
Livestrong.com should not encourage eating ANY type of shark.
For a website dedicated to, as Lance Armstrong put it, “changing lives and empowering people to make healthy decisions,” the shark recipe content is unconscionable. There’s nothing healthy, empowering or sustainable about grilling endangered species.
Livestrong.com is managed by Demand Media. While it shares its name with and is partners with the Livestrong Foundation (livestrong.org), the entities are separate.
Over a year ago, the Food Network removed all shark meat recipes from their website because of sharks’ conservation status. As the number 2 health site in the U.S. with more than 21 million users, Livestrong.com should follow suit.
Food Network changed their ways in response to a Change.org petition by Jessica Belsky, who wrote: Because shark populations are in such dire straits, there’s no reason for people to be eating these threatened swimmers.
We know a petition can work!
Tell Livestrong.com that you want all shark meat recipes removed from their site, and a policy stating that shark will not be featured as an ingredient on any of their web properties in the future.
I'm concerned about the rapidly decreasing number of sharks, and I think that Livestrong.com has a responsibility to stop recommending shark in recipes.
Sharks are apex predators. As such, they keep entire oceanic ecosystems in check. By feeding on other species, they are vital to our oceans.
Sadly, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, as many as one-third of all shark species are threatened with extinction or are close to becoming threatened. Because shark populations are in such dire straits, we have no business eating these threatened swimmers.
I would like to see a policy in which Livestrong.com removes recipes featuring shark as an ingredient from Livestrong.com and other Demand Media-owned Web sites and vows to not publish any shark recipes online again.
Please become a leader in shark conservation. Put a firm "no-shark" policy in place at Demand Media.