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Shark Slaughter and Swine Flu

I am just… stunned.

Sharks Killed for Oil Used in Swine Flu Vaccine

Vaccines being made to protect people from swine flu may not be so healthy for threatened species of sharks.

That’s because millions of doses of the pandemic H1N1/09 vaccine contain a substance called squalene, which is extracted from shark livers. (Get more swine flu facts.)

Olive oil, wheat germ oil, and rice bran oil also naturally contain squalene, albeit in smaller amounts. But for now squalene is primarily harvested from sharks caught by commercial fishers, especially deepwater species. (Related: “Tomato, Tobacco Plants Produce SARS Vaccine.”)

“There are several very disturbing issues associated with use of shark-liver-oil squalene,” said Mary O’Malley, co-founder of the volunteer-run advocacy group Shark Safe Network.

“The deepwater sharks targeted have extremely low reproductive rates, and many are threatened species.”

That’s it, friends. The world is mad. As Ted Koren says on his blog,

Think about it: we are risking the total decimation of a species for a psychological pandemic flamed by organizations seeking wealth, rather than health.

Most disturbing is when one thinks that many of these vaccines, in fact millions of these vaccines, are being recalled almost weekly because of poor production. So not only are these sharks being slaughtered at an alarming rate, but they are being harvested for a largely ineffective product that needs to be regularly be trashed because of potency issues (see here and here).

I’m gonna go cry now.