Alice Newstead took the drastic action in protest at the practice of finning – where sharks are impaled on hooks, before their fins are sliced off to harvest meat for shark fin soup. The sharks are then thrown back into the ocean still alive.
A crowd gathered outside the Lush cosmetics shop in London’s Regent’s Street to see the 26-year-old impaled by hooks in her back and gasped as blood trickled down her back.
Miss Newstead said: “I am doing this because the demand for shark fin soup and other shark products is wiping out the shark population.
“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,” she said.
Shark finning has been blamed for pushing many species of the fish to the brink of extinction and since 1970, several species have been reduced by more than 90 per cent.
Miss Newstead, who was born in Northampton and lives in Watford, left her job as a Lush sales assistant in June, so she could work full-time as an artist. She performs with a group called Constant Elevation, whose members specialise in hanging from hooks pierced through their skin.”