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Shark species hanging by a thread

AFP

Conservation

Alice Newstead hangs from the ceiling by hooks.

British performance artist Alice Newstead hangs from shark fishing hooks in the window of a soap shop in campaign to end shark finning, in central London, on September 3, 2008.

Credit: AFP/Shaun Curry

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LONDON: A British woman was suspended from the ceiling of a London shop by hooks put through her skin, in protest on Wednesday against the practice of slicing fins from sharks and throwing them back into the ocean alive.

Spectators gasped as blood trickled down the back of 26-year-old performance artist Alice Newstead, but she insisted it did not hurt.

"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 in the Lush cosmetics store in the capital's upmarket Regent Street.

"I have had my torso, legs, arms, stomach and knees pierced before so that I could hang from them, so this is no big deal.

"Being hung from the chest is more painful than the back because it restricts your breathing, but as long as the piercer knows what they are doing then it is completely safe."

The stunt, which lasted for 15 minutes and attracted a crowd of shoppers, was organised by Lush and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in protest at the practice of finning, where sharks are impaled on hooks before their fins are hacked off.