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Sharks

When the media compared a curious shark to a 1970s horror film

When the media compared a curious shark to a 1970s horror film

Posted 21 July 2015   by Amy         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: sharks, Mick Fanning

Unless you've been living in the depths of the South Atlantic Ocean, you'll have noticed that the media is having a field day with surfer Mick Fanning's encounter with a shark on the weekend.

This morning as I was getting my coffee, I caught a glimpse of the Herald Sun and the front page headline read "I BEAT JAWS".

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Legit newspaper cover.

Firstly, let me just say that I'm very glad Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson are safe. Secondly, -- this headline, and much of the media's portrayal of this incident, is shark poo. Here's how the story should have been written up based on the surfer's retelling of what happened:

Shark gets tangled in surfer's leg rope. Surfer pulled out of water unharmed.

Experts who have studied Great White's stalking seals say that when these sharks attack they move at speeds of up to 40 km p/h, coming up quickly and precisely from depths of 8-14 metres below their prey. The shark in this footage with Mick Fanning is seen swimming around on the surface before bumping into the surfer. See for yourself:

There's no doubt that had this shark wanted to he could've seriously hurt Fanning. But sharks are very curious animals and -- surprise, surprise -- they live in the ocean. Surfers are not blind to the fact that they're paddling around in the natural habitat of a wide variety of marine animals, including sharks.

George Burgess of the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) said: "By all appearances, it was a situation where a White shark was coming up for an investigation of the situation. The fact that there was no bite suggests that the animal was simply there to check it out, to see what was going on."

Sadly, however this will still go on record as an incidence of a shark attack as by the ISAF definition a shark attack is any instance where contact between a human and shark was made. Does this seem weird to you? Yesterday a dog touched my hand with his nose. Was that a dog attack?

And on top of that, many media outlets have decided that they'd rather tell this story:

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The problem is that sensationalised stories like this put sharks at risk. Already there are those who want Great White sharks to have their protected status revoked and for more "diligent management" (also known as shark culls) to happen. Only last year, caring Aussies spoke up to protect sharks, resulting in a cull in WA being scrapped, saving the lives of countless sharks. Why? Because sharks are a crucial part of the ocean ecosystem. What's more, there's no evidence to suggest that bloody culls make beaches any safer. In fact, there are many surfers who are amongst the most vocal in their support of protecting sharks.

But while the media goes on a joy ride to demonise sharks, it cheers me up no end to see that at least the internet is thinking about things from the other side of the story:

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If you love sharks, and don't want them to be portrayed as the flesh-hungry beasts of horror movies, you might like to write a letter to the editor of your local paper and share your thoughts. We've got some great tips to get you started.

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Culture minus cruelty = awesome

Culture minus cruelty = awesome

Posted 14 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 2 Comments

Tags: Running of the bulls, bulls, sharks, shark finning, The Dorsal Effect, Oktoberfest, vegan, Vegan Oktoberfest, horse racing, horses, Hat Day

What happens when you take a cultural tradition and take out the animal cruelty? ... You make it waaaaay more awesome, obvs. Check out these 4 cool examples and see if you agree with me :)

Running of the balls

One small Spanish town has said balls to cruelty by recreating an old tradition minus the animal abuse. Many people are shocked to learn that the bulls who are forced to take part in the Running of the Bulls festival will in fact suffer a slow and painful death when they reach the bull ring at the end of the run. But never again in the town of Mataelpino. Check out how they're keeping the tradition alive without harming any animals :)

[Help put a stop to the Running of the Bulls.]

Vegan Oktoberfest

Zomg this year the first ever Vegan Oktoberfest took place in Santa Monica, Calilfornia. I am so going next year.

Vegan Oktoberfest has all the best bits of Oktoberfest -- beer, German culture and quirky outfits -- and none of the worst. In 2012, half a million chickens, 116 whole oxen and 115,000 pork sausages were served up in Munich's beer tents in just 3 weeks. That's a lot of animals lives :(

Thankfully, as Vegan Oktoberfest has shown, it's possible to have all the traditional fun with none of the cruelty! Yay :) Check out the highlights on the Vegan Oktoberfest facebook page and keep an eye out for me at the next one ;)

[Have a cruelty-free feast of your own tonight with one of these yum recipes.]

The Dorsal Effect

Ok this is really cool. The Dorsal Effect encourages more tourists to come to Lombok -- an island in Indonesia -- to give fishermen a way to make money without the cruelty of killing sharks for their fins. Check this out:

WARNING: The first 30 seconds of this is pretty graphic so skip past if you find it upsetting.

How's that for turning cruelty on it's head for a celebration of natural beauty and culture? What's more, locals can see that sharks are worth more to them alive than they are dead. Who's up for a trip to Lombok?

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[You can do your bit to end shark finning by making the pledge to never eat shark fin soup.]

Hat Day

November 4 from now on and forever more will be known as Hat Day. Because hats are awesome! And cruelty is not. Find out how you can take part in Hat Day (formerly known as Melbourne Cup Day) and help protect horses from cruelty simply by having an awesome time :)

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Laws couldn't stop this ... so it's up to you!

Laws couldn't stop this ... so it's up to you!

Posted 7 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 2 Comments

Tags: fishing, sharks, shark fin soup, hunting, action, pledge

First, he's hooked and brought to the surface, unable to breathe. Then, his fins are brutally sliced off. Finally, he's tossed back into the ocean like rubbish -- where he'll sink to the bottom, and drown :( It’s a horrific way to die, and the animal who washed up on a Queensland beach on Monday probably suffered this cruel fate.

shark finning

Finning a shark at sea is illegal in Australia but laws are difficult to police. Sharks like this hammerhead are in danger of cruelty because of demand for their fins. These fins are used in shark fin soup, a popular Asian dish that is now available in restaurants throughout Australia.

While shark fins are still allowed to be sold in Australia, more sharks are at risk of suffering this same cruel death. It’s time to BAN the sale of shark fins -- and you can help do it!

Here's three things you can do to help protect sharks from finning:

  1. Sign the pledge to never buy shark fin soup.
  2. Contact your MP and let them know that the only way to protect sharks from finning is by banning the sale of shark fins in Australia.
  3. If you see shark fin soup being sold, take a moment to politely get in touch with the restaurant -- in person, or by sending an e-mail or message via social media -- to ask them to take shark fin off the menu and help protect sharks.

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VICTORY: WA shark slaughter scrapped!

VICTORY: WA shark slaughter scrapped!

Posted 12 September 2014   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: sharks, victory, good news, Western Australia

Have you ever seen a shark do a happy dance? No? Me neither. But the internet tells me it looks like this:

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(Thanks photobucket)

Today is a great day for sharks as the Western Australian Government's plan to catch and kill sharks has been knocked back! That means no animals will suffer on cruel drum-line hooks off WA's coast!

And the best part is that it was caring people just like you speaking up for sharks that helped make this win for sharks possible!

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) said that there was too much uncertainty about how the killing program would impact on the south-western population of great white shark and so they were against it. They also said that they'd heard the voices of THOUSANDS of concerned people speaking up for sharks and opposing the drum lines.

Yay for people power! Thanks to the EPA's decision and people standing up for these amazing animals, there will be no more cruel drum-lines in WA waters this summer :)

If you spoke out against the WA's shark cull plans, then thank you!

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Unfortunately sharks are not safe from cruelty altogether. To help protect sharks today sign the pledge to never buy shark fin soup and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Later!

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5 reasons animals don't belong in tanks

5 reasons animals don't belong in tanks

Posted 27 June 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 2 Comments

Tags: marine parks, SeaWorld, dolphins, orcas, seals, sharks, entertainment

I'll admit, sometimes it's hard to tell if a shark is happy or sad. (Well, except for Bruce.) But I can tell you, that a tank is not nearly as much fun as the ocean for any marine animal. Here's 5 reasons to avoid marine parks and aquariums:

1. Because sad seals sucks.

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2. Because if we love them we should leave them alone.

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[Read enough? Make the pledge to never attend a marine park or aquarium now.]

3. Because it's just not natural.

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4. Because orcas don't deserve to have their babies taken away from them.

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5. Because by simply not attending a marine park or aquarium you can help end this cruelty!

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These places only exist to "entertain" us. So if we don't go, they can't continue to exist. What's more, it's way cooler to interact with marine animals in their natural habitat. Check out these lucky tourists hanging out with a mother and baby whale :)

Do you know another reason not to attend a marine park or aquarium? Pop it in the comments below.

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10 things you should know are going on under the sea.

10 things you should know are going on under the sea.

Posted 1 April 2014   by Jesse         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: fish, oceans, veg, sharks

Did you know that the oceans are home to 97% of all life on Earth? But most of us rarely get a glimpse at what's going on under the sea. So here are 10 things you should know are going on deep below.

5 amazing facts:

FACT 1
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No joke. Many fish have taste buds on their fins, face and tails. Some fish use their sense of smell to find a safe place to lay their eggs. And migrating salmon can even tell the taste of their home stream.

FACT 2
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I was blown away when I saw this video of octopuses using coconut shells as mobile shelter. Then there's stingrays who use jets of water to get food out of tubes, and turk fish who use rocks to break open shells.

FACT 3
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Sea creatures communicate with each other in many weird and wonderful ways (I dare you not to be dazzled by how cuttlefish communicate), but herring might just take the cake. They are believed to use farting to make noises to communicate with one another.

FACT 4
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And these Australian crimson spotted rainbow fish can still remember how to escape nets 11 months later! Plus, they're not the only fish with good memories.

FACT 5
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They call it bioluminescence and it probably goes without saying it's so amazing I can't even.

5 alarming facts:

  1. FACT: By 2048 all the fish species who are fished for food could be wiped out. You can help: Make the choice to take fish off your fork to help combat overfishing. The fish will thank you for it ;)

  2. FACT: Sharks kill 12 humans per year. But humans kill 11,417 sharks per hour. You can help: Don't let sharks die for a bowl of soup!

  3. FACT: Oceans have 'dead zones'. If that didn't sound bad enough, they are getting bigger. You can help: Find out more about dead zones and how you can help here.

  4. FACT: There's an island of floating rubbish in the Pacific Ocean, and it's bigger than the Northern Territory. You can help: Say NO to plastic bags.

  5. FACT: We've turned cows, chickens and pigs into the largest ocean predators on the planet. Factory farmed animals now eat more fish than all the humans on the planet. You can help: Eat for tomorrow! Reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet is the single most powerful thing you can do as a consumer to ease the stress on our oceans. By choosing not to eat farm animals (and fish), you can help ensure marine animals are protected from overfishing.

Did any of these facts shock you? Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to spread the word!

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Posted 10 February 2013   by Anthony         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: ducks, hunting, sharks, shark fin soup, cats, adoption

The Chinese New Year has arrived with a bang! It's now the Year of the Snake, and next year will be Year of the Horse. But what about all the animals who don't get their own "year"? Here's three suggestions for other animals who totally deserve to have their own "year" too. See if your fave made the grade!

Cats

Somehow, cats don't already have their own year! Try explaining THAT to this cat who acts as a guide to a blind dog in Wales!

Blind dog and guide cat

You can show some love for cats by taking the pledge to always adopt, rather than buy when you're looking to welcome a cat into your family. With tens of thousands of cats killed in Australia every year because there just aren't enough homes for them - your personal pledge is a promise to save a life.

Ducks

Duck Next week will see duck hunting season start in South Australia. The blood will also flow in this cruel "sport" in Tasmania and Victoria starting in March. (WA, Qld and NSW - you're cool, duck hunting is banned in your states.) You can stick up for ducks in two powerful ways. Firstly, you can send a message to state pollies letting them know you're against duck hunting. And secondly, if you're in Victoria, you can join other volunteers from the Coalition Against Duck Shooting on a duck rescue team. With your help, hopefully soon we'll have a Year of the Duck, and not a Year of Duck Hunting!

Sharks

I've heard of Shark Week - but when are we going to get a Shark Year?! These majestic sea animals have been around since dinosaurs were stomping about, but now some species are at risk of total extinction. One of the major reasons for this alarming fact is the practice of shark-finning. The photo here is of 18,000 (!!) shark fins drying on a roof top in Hong Kong.

Shark fins on roof

The need to do something about this has already been recognised in some countries. For example, Costa Rica has totally banned the mutilation in its waters. You can raise awareness of shark-finning amongst your buds by getting active on Facebook and Twitter. Sharks have been around for millions of years - don't let them die out on our watch!

Why not make 2013 the Year of Animals in general? Celebrate them every day by choosing not to eat them! Find out how easy it is here - and prepare to have the best year of your life!

Which animals do you think deserve their own year??

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YOU CHOOSE: Which shark vid do you prefer?

YOU CHOOSE: Which shark vid do you prefer?

Posted 13 November 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 5 Comments

Tags: sharks, hunting, video

I saw two videos to do with sharks yesterday. One of them depressed me immensely, while the other made me laugh...and think. Laughthink - what's the smiley look like for that? Anyway, check out both vids and make your own mind up.

The first one actually made the news. It's from WA and was posted online in the last couple of days. I'm not going to say too much more about it, because I'm trying to cut down on the amount I swear. WARNING: This is NOT a nice video, so be ready to quickly press the stop button.

Awful, hey? If you couldn't watch it, the vid shows a whaler shark hung in the air, still alive, being clubbed on the head with an iron bar. The person who posted it to Facebook also bragged about shooting a tiger shark, adding the comment, "Let the blood run free I say."

Scare-mongering about sharks seems to have reached a new low in WA. The state government there has announced plans to shoot great whites who swim too close to Perth beaches. I'm not saying there's a direct link between the state government's plan and the video that was posted on Facebook. But if you've got our politicians saying it's ok to shoot protected great whites, it sends an awful message that sharks don't deserve compassion.

Which leads on to the second video I was talking about. This was posted yesterday to the forum by Unleashed member JordanBajc. Not only did he post it ... he made it!! Take a look - it's a humorous take on a serious issue.

A recent poll showed that 83% of the state opposed the government's shoot-to-kill plan; even footy star Nic Naitanui spoke out in support of the sharks.

If you think that sharks deserve protection, then take action. Send WA pollies an email urging them to adopt non-lethal alternatives to protect swimmers.

When you're done, tell me what you think of the two vids here. And feel free to throw compliments in about JordanBajc's clip. I think it's really good - how bout you? Post your comments below!

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Man rescued at sea by unlikely hero.

Man rescued at sea by unlikely hero.

Posted 15 October 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 9 Comments

Tags: sharks, shark fin soup, amazing, hunting

A man lost at sea for almost FOUR MONTHS has told of his amazing rescue story. And the hero of this story is one you may not expect! (SPOILER: it's not a mermaid.)

The drama unfolded off the tiny island nation of Kiribati (it's kind of in between Australia and Hawaii). Local policeman and vowel-hoarder Toakai Teitoi headed off on what was meant to be a two hour boat trip to a neighbouring island. Long story short - he didn't quite get where he wanted, and 2 hours in a boat became 106 days! I hope he had something to read.

On Day 106 though, Toakai's luck changed. Curled up at the bottom of the boat under some shade, he heard a scratching and bumping against the hull. Peering overboard he saw a six foot shark circling the boat. When the shark had his attention it swam off.

This is what happened next, in Toakai's own words:

"He was guiding me to a fishing boat. I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me. Of course I was able to wave frantically at them and they came and picked me up. If that shark hadn't nudged me awake the crew of the boat might have thought I wasn't in trouble and might have carried on sailing past me."

According to Toakai, that shark saved his life!!

In 2012, approximately 200,000 sharks are killed by humans ... every day! That would mean that while Toakai was adrift on his boat, 21 MILLION sharks were killed. And yet this shark rescued him. That's a pretty forgiving shark!

A major contributor to the death-toll is the slaughter of sharks for their fins as part of the shark-fin soup industry. This fact about shark-finning really shook me up: all 14 shark species most common in the shark fin trade are now at risk of extinction.

If that's not bad enough, the Western Australian government is planning to shoot endangered sharks that swim too close to the shore. Under their plan, instead of being rescued by a shark, Toakai may have tried to shoot it!

I guess the simple point to make here is this: A shark saved a man's life, you can return the favour. Send a pre-written letter to the WA premier letting him know what you think of his plan. Then help other sharks by raising awareness of shark-finning amongst your buds.

Because you never know when you might need some help from a shark yourself ;)

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Holy carp. A vegetarian shark!

Holy carp. A vegetarian shark!

Posted 24 May 2012   by Anthony         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: fish, sharks, shark fin soup, go veg, vegetarian shark

End of week pop test. (Don't stress, it's easy.) Which one of the following statements is false?

a) There's a vegetarian shark in the UK.
b) Great whites like AC/DC.
c) Fish don't feel pain like us.

The false statement is ... C! Fish definitely feel pain; great whites apparently like classic Aussie metal, and a shark called Florence is eating her veggies!

Florence, a nurse shark in England, has recently joined the growing movement toward eating cruelty free, and now chooses to chow down on only vegetables. Florence must have good taste as she particularly likes celery, cucumber and lettuce, which sounds suspiciously like what I'll be having for lunch today. Maybe we could organise a lunch date?

Florence made the switch to vegetarian eating after surgery to remove a rusted hook from her jaw. Perhaps she's wised up to the dangers involved in eating meat? (ok... ok... the truth is that Florence will in fact need to start eating meat again to be healthy, but fortunately, you and I definitely don't!) After all, carp have been reported to change their behaviour after an experience with hooks, and trout can remember how to avoid fishing nets months after their first experience with one. And I thought Nemo was pretty smart because he could talk!

Fish experience a whole range of the same sensations that other animals do. A hook in the mouth hurts. Suffocating to death is as awful as it sounds for us. And when fish are brought to the surface too quickly, the change in pressure causes eyes and organs to explode. More and more people are realising the stress and pain caused to fish by recreational and commercial fishing.

The underwater world really is an amazing place. There's sharks who can bark like dogs; tiny creatures that light up whole waves; and fish using rocks to open clam shells. If you want to take a small step to protect some of our marine mates, you don't need to buy them tix to an AC/DC concert (good luck, they sell out in like 8 minutes flat). Just head here to join others in taking a stand against the sale of shark fins in Australia.

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Nemo Threatened By Extinction

Nemo Threatened By Extinction

Posted 19 January 2012   by Jesse         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: Nemo, fish, sharks, shark fin soup, Gordon Ramsey, fishing, bycatch

I should probably start this blog with a rant alert...

I don't know about you, but I always thought Finding Nemo was a pretty awesome movie. So I was really disappointed to hear that sales of clown fish as pets increased after the movie came out. I mean that just goes against the whole story of Nemo trying to escape captivity to get home to his family and friends

But I was even more disappointed recently to read that 1/6 of the species that featured in Finding Nemo are threatened with extinction.

I suppose it's not surprising. Aside from Nemo's clown fish buddies being sold as pets, overfishing is a big problem for all sorts of ocean animals ... and not just for the animals they're trying to catch: trawling nets often bring in huge amounts of bycatch (unwanted animals who are accidentally caught). Whales, dolphins, birds, turtles, fish and seals, can all get caught, injured and killed by nets never intended to catch them.

And then there's shark finning... Even celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay (not known for his animal-friendly attitude) doesn't seem to be able to understand the obsession with killing sharks for their fins:

(At least on the up side, one of Asia's fanciest hotel chains recently pledged to take shark fin soup off their menus.)

I just wish that we'd cut sea creatures some slack. I'm sure they'd much prefer to live in the ocean than wind up on people's plates, in tanks, or having their fins taken from them to make soup :(

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More Nations Stepping up to Save Sharks!
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More Nations Stepping up to Save Sharks!

Posted 14 July 2011   by         Permalink | 6 Comments

Tags: Sharks, shark fin soup, activism, fish, oceans

More good news for animals abroad! Hot on the heels of other nations stepping up to save the sharks of the world, this week Chile banned the finning of sharks. But wait, it gets better! Just last week the Bahamas banned the fishing of sharks completely!

Now before the Jaws theme pops into your head (oops! Too late!), some amazing divers are out to show sharks aren't the man eating monters of movies, but in fact are actually pretty shy. Like our canine companions, sharks also have an incredible sense of smell, and wait for it, the NZ Swell Shark even barks like a dog!

So what's the sad situation with sharks? Soup! Yep, you read that right - soup! The demand for an expensive dish known as Shark Fin Soup sees millions of sharks killed - all for their fins.

Considered so much of a delicacy in China that, in a fisherman's eyes, it renders every other part of a shark's body as worthless, one bowl of the bland broth can fetch up to $400!

So fishing boats head out and catch millions of sharks. In some cases, a shark is hauled up on deck, her fins are hacked off, before she is tossed back overboard, alive, in agony and slowly sinking to her death.

Not only is this insanely cruel, but the practice has seen some shark populations plummet by 90% - sharks are literally swimming on a knife's edge!

Thankfully more and more governments worldwide are recognising this cruelty too. Other island nations, like Honduras, Maldives and Palau have also declared their seas safe for sharks, and the US states, Hawaii and Washington, and the Canadian city, Brantford have banned the sale of shark fin.

But here in Australia, you can wander into any number of Chinese restaurants and order shark fin soup straight off the menu.

So here's how you can help! If you're out for dinner and see this cruel dish on the menu, you can send a strong message by politely explaining to the waiter or manager why you are leaving. Tell them if they stop selling shark fin soup you'll be back and you'll bring your friends!

If you know of any awesome Asian eateries that have already taken shark fin off the menu, let us know below!

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