My uncle alerted me to this yesterday, because it made his blood boil, and I've been struggling with whether or not to post about it, because it's just so upsetting. But then I figured, if I had no idea this was going on, maybe other people don't, either. And the RSPCA (UK) has organized a petition to the French government to appeal for a stop to this cruel practice. (Note--I have had trouble loading the RSPCA site today, though it worked fine yesterday, so it may be overloaded with traffic. If anyone comes up with an alternate site, please alert me.)
The news was first "broken" in the British tabloid, The Sun, so at first I was hoping I could search Snopes and find out it was a hoax. I didn't find anything originally, but now there is an entry about it, giving some reasons to doubt at least the most brutal parts of these stories. A warning about the link to The Sun article--it has a picture of a dog being hooked and prepared for use as bait--a beautiful golden-retriever or GR mix. Please don't click on the link unless you are prepared for this image (which I am really hoping was Photo-Shopped), and the story of a 6-month-old Lab puppy who washed up alive, with hooks still in his legs and face. This is happening in the waters of the French-governed Reunion Island, but it's apparently also common practice in other places, such as Vanuatu (this link has no pictures of dogs, but casually describes how a killer shark was caught using a dog as bait, like it's just nothing out of the ordinary).
There is a diver's blog, Divester, that has been keeping up with the story, and is publishing updates and links.
I understand that different cultures have different sensitivities as far as domestic animals are concerned...animals that are sacred in one country are hamburger here, and what would be our beloved pet puppies in this country are farmed for food in certain other places. I understand and respect cultural differences in this regard. But there is just something so cruel, so awful, about misusing an animal as intelligent and aware as a dog for a purpose like this--not to mention that dog is NOT a natural prey for a shark. Why not use a big fish? It doesn't make sense, which is another reason I'm hoping it will somehow turn out to be untrue. Or at least better in some way.
I'm just really depressed about this, and wish there were something I could do to make a difference. If anyone comes across a legal fund or anything like that for the protection of these abused animals, please let me know.
UPDATE: Anyone fluent in French? Here is a website with a video of the dog pictured in the Sun article, but I have no idea what they're saying about it or how he got the hook in him, or what happens to him in the end. If you can speak or read French, PLEASE check this out and let me know what's up.