Outrage Erupts Over Oxford Event Showcasing Shark Entertainment
Oxford students from the Jesus and Somerville colleges are planning a black-tie event on May 4 that promises an evening of “decadence, debauchery, and indulgence” for £110 per ticket. As part of the “decadence” aspect of the event, the students have hired a live nursing shark. It should be noted that nursing sharks generally do not attack humans unless provoked usually by divers who pull the shark by its tail.
However, graduates of Oxford are outraged over the event which they say is a wanton expression of opulence and hubris.
History grad Matthew Hawkins noiced hir concerns, saying the event risked shaming the university and should be boycotted by students.
He said: ‘It’s worrying that a leading educational institution such as an Oxford college would allow that view of nature to be perpetuated, of animals as an extravagant, gaudy show.
‘If the organisers won’t cancel the shark then we won’t attend and we will ask others to boycott the event as well.’
They have petitioned the university’s president Dr. Alice Prochaska to prevent the use of any live animal in the event. It is not clear if the graduates have any problem with the “debauchery & indulgence” aspects of the event. In fact, the protesters are clear that their concern is mainly for the shark enduring any type of stress as a result of the fundraiser.
The protesters expressed outrage over the event highlighting that organizers have money in such abundance that they can flaunt before the world. However, the money is not the problem as the protesters are likely animal lovers who oppose the exploitation of animals under any circumstance.
Clare Phipps, who graduated in 2011 and is studying for a PhD in London has written, with 10 others, to the college principal, Dr Alice Prochaska, asking her to “please use your authority to prevent any live animals from being used at the ball”, which is jointly run by the Somerville and Jesus colleges and is held in the former’s dining hall.
“We’re primarily concerned about the shark,” Phipps said. “We don’t know where it came from in the first place, whether it was bred in captivity or captured in the wild, and we can’t find out as the committee won’t give us the details of the company they hired it from. I am worried about the unnecessary stress for the animal of being transported and lots of people gawping at it.
“There is a difference from a shark in an aquarium because that has an educational purpose, informing people about conservation, and often zoos are involved in breeding programmes and so on. This is about nothing more than showing off. We’ve got so much money sloshing around we can hire a shark.”
Couldn’t they just get a live band? Oxford students cause outrage with plan to hire SHARK as entertainment at summer ball
Oxford college under attack over plans to display live shark at ball