Shark season may be coming to an end, but as beach lovers throughout North America breathe a collective sigh of relief, one mermaid clad, silver-skinned lass remains hopelessly devoted to the pointy-toothed beasts.
Performance artist Alice Newstead, a member of a group called Constant Elevation, is so distraught over the dwindling shark population and barbaric practice of finning - a procedure to harvest shark fin while the creature is disabled on hooks then kicked back into the ocean to slowly die - she staged a 15-minute protest in the window of Central London's Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics shop. Not with painted signs or artistic abstractions, but in a way one would expect performance art to come right to the point.
By hanging suspended from the ceiling with shark hooks piercing her flesh.
Regent Street patrons were aghast as blood trickled down Newstead's back. The 26-year old previously had her torso, legs, arms, stomach and knees pierced so that she could hang from them and claimed the protest was not painful.
"I am doing this because the demand for shark fin soup and other shark products is wiping out the shark population," said Newstead who used to work at Lush. The shocking midday stunt, coordinated with Lush and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, aims to slow the genocide of sharks. Restaurants and retailers are being asked to remove shark fin soup from their menus as well as products made with shark cartilage from their shelves.
Lush will continue to mount the protest from its 550 shops worldwide. Its store windows will run footage of shark harvests from around the globe. Sales from its new product, Shark Fin Soap, will also help fund the campaign.
Andrew Butler, Global Campaigns Director, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics added "Lush are a campaigning company, and we have already tackled issues such as animal testing and over packaging. But with 100 million sharks being killed every year and time fast running out for the remaining 10% of the global shark population, the campaign against shark finning and longlining is perhaps our biggest challenge yet."