Sample Argumentative Essay
The standpoint is “shark soup should be banned”.
Write an argumentative essay that includes research that supports your thesis. You also must show include ethos, pathos, and logos (This is very very important). Your essay must include the following:
1. An introduction to the topic. Your introduction could be twofold: a paragraph that grabs your reader’s attention, followed by an explanation of the topic and your argument.
2. A clear thesis, open or complete (Your thesis should respond to your question at issue).
3. Clear premises that are thoughtful and helpful to persuade your reader.
4. Outside information from valid sources. Proper use of quotes.
5. Avoidance of logical fallacies
6. Proper MLA formatting throughout
7. Evidence of ethos, pathos, and logos. Your aim is to make the reader care about the subject and your viewpoint.
8. A thoughtful solution to the issue. It’s fine if you use an outside source for your solution, just make sure to give credit where credit is due. If you have no solution, consider a thoughtful response as to why not.
While concessions and counterarguments never weaken an essay, this is not considered a dialectical argument; therefore, you are not required to list numerous amounts of concessions and counterarguments to prove your point. It can be helpful, however, to list at least one counter-argument or concession and refutation. Most of all, you are trying to persuade your reader by keeping her interested and informed. You are, however, trying to back your argument with research and strong premises.
Should Shark Soup be Banned?
Sharks are faced with a real threat of extinction today. The threat comes from the increase in the consumption of shark soup in recent years. Shark fin has been an integral part of the traditional diet in Asia. Well, to-do hosts have traditionally served it in important ceremonies such as weddings as a way of saving face and preserving their self-respect. The number of such wealthy people has risen sharply with the current economic boom in China, and this has led to a corresponding increase in the number of sharks being killed for soup. Consequently, sharks, which take as many as 20 years to reach maturity, have become extremely vulnerable.
The practice of drinking shark soup is unsustainable because of the current demand, not only in East Asia but other parts of the world as well, by far outstrips supply. Humans must take drastic actions in order to save sharks from extinction. If they become extinct, the marine ecosystem as we know it will be destabilized. Moreover, the method being used to bait sharks is both cruel and wasteful. For this reason, the thesis of this argumentative paper is that shark soup should be banned. The aim of this paper is to investigate the problem with shark soup, the impact in terms of dying populations of sharks, and the need to ban it.
In countries where shark soup is in high demand, sharks are persistently being hunted down, their fins sliced off for later use in preparing the soup, and their bodies dumped into the ocean waters like a waste. This is the sad fate that is about to befall the remaining population of sharks unless drastic corrective measures are taken. In fact, this finning of sharks for soup has become such a big problem that shark species face a real threat of becoming extinct in the foreseeable future. Given a long time it takes sharks to reach maturity, it is impossible for their rate of production to keep up with the rate of consumption. More importantly, it is unrealistic for anyone to expect that the previous levels of shark populations can be restored. For instance, since the early 1970s, the populations of three shark species – Tiger, Blacktip, and Dusky – have decreased by over 90 percent (Kaitlin 53).
The irony of this whole problem is that the soup tastes awful; in fact, it is tasteless. People like it because that is the tradition. Because of tradition, they continue to promote the illusion that the soup is an ideal thickening agent in other delicacies. The fact that the soup is part of the oriental culture does not justify the blatant act of driving sharks into extinction. Those wealthy Chinese who want to save face today using shark fin soup will have nothing to resort to once the sharks become extinct. Thus, it makes much more sense to stop finning today as a way of promoting the survival of the tradition of serving shark soup to guests.
The onset of the Chinese economic boom in the mid-1980s coincided with the start of a sharp decline in shark populations. The rich people of today are able to enjoy a bowl of soup simply because of the kind of respect that their ancestors had for the marine environment. It is time for these rich people to show the same level of respect for the environment as well as love for future generations by stopping the wanton killing of sharks!
Marine environmentalists all over the world agree that falling populations of sharks have a destabilizing effect on marine ecosystems (Neville 390). A decrease in shark populations leads to alterations in ecological dynamics within the ocean. Sharks play the role of stabilizing the marine ecology by virtue of acting as predators that nature has conveniently placed at the apex of the marine food chain. For example, when shark populations in the US east coast declined, it was followed by a corresponding decrease in shellfish populations. Since shellfish play an important role in filtering ocean water, the quality of water on the east coast of the United States decreased considerably.
A different ecological change may occur due to declining shark populations, in this case through an increase in octopus populations. This, in turn, may lead to a decrease in the population of lobsters. Such changes would trigger the collapse of a marine ecosystem that has been undergoing evolution for millions of years. Thus, marine environmentalists are justified in their rallying call for an end to the mad rush for shark soup. The most sensible thing for shark soup consumers to do is to stop ordering another cup of shark fin soup until such a day when optimal shark populations will have been restored.
Shark soup is popular not just in East Asia but in the US as well. For example, soup is a very popular dish in California. Fortunately, the state government of California has already identified shark finning as a major problem and has even started legislating against the practice. In 2000, California passed a law prohibiting fishermen from possessing fins if they cannot account for corresponding shark carcasses within the US waters (Manning 13). The main drawback of this law is that it does not prohibit Californian traders from importing and distributing fins. Consequently, many fins continue to be packaged as legal imports yet they have been obtained illegally from the US waters.
In October 2011, California governor signed into law Assembly Bill 376, making it illegal for Californian citizens to possess, sell, distribute, or trade-in shark fins (Manning 12). The signing of this Bill came against the backdrop of intense lobbying by animal-rights groups and environmentalists, who lamented that failure to impose such stringent measures would drive sharks into extinction in the cruelest possible manner, thereby setting a negative precedent for other animal species. Other states that are considering enacting similar laws include Guam, Oregon, Hawaii, and Washington. At last, the lawmakers of these states are beginning to realize that our ancestors did their part in preserving sharks for the sake of the present generation; now is the turn of the present generation to do the same thing for the sake of future generations. In fact, this is precisely what Jerry Brown, California governor, said immediately after signing Assembly Bill 376 into law. While noting that shark populations had fallen by over 90 percent, Governor Brown said that the law would enable the state to conserve the marine environment for the sake of future generations.
The growing demand for shark soup has encouraged the overfishing of sharks in recent times, and this is why shark species face an immediate threat of extinction. What is even more saddening is the amount of wanton wastage and destruction of the marine environment that accompanies the practice of shark finning. Shark fishermen only cut off the fin, leaving the entire shark corpse to go to waste in the ocean. Since it makes little economic sense to preserve the corpse and to deliver it to the consumer’s table for consumption, fishermen simply toss it into the ocean. They concentrate on the fins, which may fetch hundreds of dollars per pound. At the same time, the long-lining process catches more than just sharks; it leaves a trail of destruction and death, catching different types of marine animals that happen to take the bait, including seabirds and turtles.
When fins are cut off, sharks are left to die a slow, extremely painful death in the deep recesses of the ocean. This seems like a simple statement, one that even sounds like a cliché. However, one may not help but “feel” the weight of the problem at the thought of the reality of the devastating industry that has been established through the disgusting act of cruelty against sharks. Even if the argument on the issue of cruelty does not sound compelling enough to many people, at least every right-thinking global citizen should take action based on the need to avoid a precedent where humans drive animals into extinction simply to satisfy their selfish fetishist desires.
Despite efforts by various governments to enact laws that ban shark finning, more sharks continue to die in the hands of fishermen in search of the traditional Asian delicacy, the shark soup. Incidentally, all the ban have tended to focus on the supply side of the whole trade. For example, laws that require fishermen to bring the whole shark carcass to the shore are meant to make the practice of shark finning less lucrative and economically unviable. If the world does not switch over to bans that target the demand side, it will be a matter of time before sharks become extinct just like dinosaurs and mammoths.
The best demand-side measure that can avert the impending environmental catastrophe is the banning of shark soup. All countries should ban shark soup through the enactment of stringent laws. The ban should be introduced even in China where the delicacy is part of the country’s cultural heritage. There comes a time when humans have to choose between cultural heritage and survival of present and future generations. Once policymakers around the world must support and successfully implement the ban, shark fin merchants will no longer have a market for their products.
This paper has demonstrated that shark soup has led to the wanton killing of sharks and hence it should be banned. The current demand for shark soup outstrips supply, meaning that drinking shark soup is an unsustainable practice. If such a ban is not effected, sharks will soon become extinct. It is as simple as that. After all shark soup is tasteless, lacks nutritional value, fuels cruelty against sharks, leads to massive wastage and threatens oceanic ecological systems. Thus, this paper concludes that a global ban on shark soup is the best solution for reversing the trend of dying population of sharks, thereby saving sharks from extinction.
Kaitlin, Solimine. “One Shark at a Time.” The World of Chinese, 3.1 (2013): 52-55.
Manning, Cullen. “A fight between cultural traditions, the supremacy clause, and environmental concerns: California’s ban on shark fins.” The Sandbar, 2.4 (2014): 12-13.
Neville, Elizabeth. “Note and Comment: Shark Finning: A Ban to Change the Tide of Extinction.” Colorado Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law Review, 25.2 (2014): 387-392.
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