The involvement of corporations in protecting animals remains key to the success of The Humane Society of the United States. The barbaric treatment of sharks underscores this fact.

Perhaps you don't know that tens of millions of sharks each year have their fins cut off to feed the demand for shark fin soup. At least 50 percent of the global trade in sharks takes place in Hong Kong. Sharks are thrown back into the ocean after their fins are cut off while they are still alive, only to drown, starve or die a slow death due to predation from other sea animals. Some species of shark are now on the brink of extinction due to the cruel and exploitative shark fin industry.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways recently announced that it would ban shipments of shark fins and products on its flights.

Iris Ho, wildlife campaigns manager for Human Society International, issued the following statement: "Humane Society International applauds Cathay Pacific Airways and its leadership position in recognizing that the global shark fin trades is unsustainable, cruel and causes peril to many shark species. The decision affirms Cathay Pacific's environmental and humane stewardship within the air cargo and shipping industry. With its company headquarters in Hong Kong, which is the hub for the global shark fin trade, the decision should encourage others in the industry to follow suit."

This is a major accomplishment. An estimated 20 to 50 percent of shark products that were imported into Hong Kong by air cargos were flown in on Cathay Pacific Cargo. This courageous decision by Cathay Pacific's management will save thousands of sharks. It also sends a message to the world that sharks need to be protected against such cruelty.

We are stewards of the earth and need to do everything we can to protect all living things. While we may not have sharks here in Connecticut, their survival affects all other marine species and the entire ocean ecosystems.

We can do without shark fin soup, but we cannot do without sharks. If your next business or family trip takes you to Asia, consider flying Cathay Pacific as a way of saying thank you to the company for protecting sharks.

Cathy Kangas is the founder and CEO of PRAI Beauty, a global luxury skincare line sold throughout the world on home shopping networks. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States and through Beauty With a Cause, supports animal welfare groups across the globe. Cathy lives in New Canaan with her husband and three rescued dogs, and can be reached at cathy@praibeauty.com.

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