My teeth gnash when Shark Unionists try to challenge something that is patently true. These are the people who will tell you that sharks don't mean to kill people. That sharks are misunderstood because they were abused as kids (no doubt because their parents were bloody sharks). Or they are just curious. Or they are just defending themselves from deadly boogie boards. Or that sharks actually use their teeth as hands.
A state government in Australia even got in on the pro-shark PR, relaunching the grey nurse sharks as the "labradors of the ocean". Awwwww. Let's scratch the tummy of the cute grey nurse shark, now.
Let's take a closer look at these assertions.
1. The shark's intentions
We all know that the best intentions can go astray. The problem with a well-meaning white pointer is that one of your limbs is likely to go astray as well. I am making an assumption here that you are unlikely to care whether it was an accident or not when you're one leg short or a biped in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
2. The somewhat mystical contention that "sharks use their teeth as hands".
Clearly, in this instance, the sharks have hired their lawyer through Legal Aid. What sadistic, murderous animal uses its teeth as hands?
3. The shark is just curious.
There is the often raised argument that sharks do not seek to eat humans, because they don't really like how we taste. This only adds insult to injury. And, if it is true, bearing in mind that everything a shark eats is washed down with pints of salty sea water, surely anything would just taste like spam anyway?
4. "Labradors of the Ocean"
The worst risk I have ever faced with my past labradors has been chewed slippers. My limbs generally remained resolutely unchewed.
Sharks have happily, uncomplainingly, binged on surfboards, old boots, and helicopters (see the documentary Jaws 4: The Revenge). We are not referring to fussy eaters. You won't find a great white popping into The Fat Duck to ask Hester Blumenthal for a touch more wild thyme jus.
The shark is evilness itself. There is no love in the shark's eyes. Why is it necessary to excuse the violent behaviour of the shark? Perhaps the pain and shock of losing a beloved limb results in delusional statements from the recent amputee. Having never fed myself to a shark, I cannot relate. But this does not distract from the fact that their statements are irresponsible and not very helpful. The solution is to send the Shark Unionists into the sea first, thus ensuring the sharks are not hungry when we have to go for a swim later.