Reply To: Hong Kong Disneyland shark fin soup controversy


HK Standard, which first helped land Disney in the soup, has further reports, including: Disney urged not to serve shark fin soup and: Disney ducks shark attacks Latter mentions:

Kym Murphy, senior vice president of corporate environmental policy for Disney, sits on the Board of Trustees for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, an American marine protection organization

– it would be interesting to learn what the foundation thinks of this issue. An email just in:

Dear Mr Eisner, Since Sylvia Hui’s editorial in The STANDARD on 18 May 2005 – "Disneyland weddings for the young and wealthy..The menus feature traditional Chinese banquet delicacies such as roast suckling pig, shark’s fin soup and sliced abalone", you would have received hundreds of pleas at a global level to remove the gruesome item from the menu. We are disappointed at the response or lack there of to the issue; it is apparent that shortsightedness or plain ignorance from your banquet and PR staff. By promoting and offering shark fins soup, DISNEYLAND is seen as supporting the culling of sharks, eventually causing their extinction in the world’s oceans. Imagine shark fins to be the hand and legs of Mickey Mouse; chop them off and throw the lame struggling body of Mickey on the side walk to die a slow painful death!. That is how sharks are harvested from the world’s oceans. Please consider the following: 1. In the minute it takes you to read this letter almost 200 sharks will have their fins removed while still alive and thrown back into the sea to die. Shark experts estimate that 100 million sharks are slaughtered each year for their fins. 2. Shark fin is tasteless and has no nutritional value – they are cartilage, just like your fingernails and hair. 3. It is Cruel to consume shark fin – it is akin to chopping legs off cow and throwing them back into the field and allowing them to bleed to death. 4. Because of the demand from Asia, fishermen from Galapagos are now pushing for wholesale revisions to the fishing statute by demanding a year-round fishing calendar, use of long-line fishing, a lifting of the prohibition on shark fishing. In this respect, the Asian culture are threatening to destroy one of the most unique and fragile eco-systems remaining on this planet. 5. Sharks reproduce very slowly and we are killing them faster than they can replace themselves. Sharks have slow growth rates and do not reach sexual maturity for years. It takes a whale shark 25 years to reproduce. For hammerheads and Tiger sharks it takes 15 years. Once sexually mature sharks have long gestation periods with the embryo developing in the mother for up to two years. 6. Sharks are vanishing from our world’s oceans very quickly – the demand for shark fin soup in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China is primarily responsible the peril of sharks globally – some 100 million animals are killed every year just for their fins. To conserve sharks and the preserve the species, we must address the issue at the heart of the problem; we must reduce the demand for shark fins in Asia. Since 2001, OceanNENvironment and Asian Geographic have launched the ‘Say No to Shark Fins" Campaign on an annual basis targeting at young couples and children. Instead of supporting conservation, DISNEYLAND HONG KONG is now contributing to the extinction of sharks, promoting cruelty and wastefulness to children and young adults. Since many shark species are protected, DISNEY is therefore seen as encouraging the sale and consumption of endangered species. In this aspect DISNEY is promoting to children and young people a message that cruelty and exploitation of animals is acceptable. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. We respectfully suggest the following actions: Admit the shortsightedness and instead support the conservation of sharks by removing shark fins soup from wedding banquet and replace with other more sustainable delicacies. Since 2002, OceanNEnvironment and Asian Geographic have produced a card/letter package " WHY WE ARE NOT SERVING SHARK FINS SOUP TONIGHT?" for couples to distribute at their wedding dinner – perhaps you may wish to consider this as an option – by doing this DISNEYLAND and prospective wedding couples will be seen as intelligent, eco savvy most importantly contributing to the preservation of our ocean environment. I trust that you will respond expediently. Imagine the next edition of Asian Geographic with Mickey Mouse struggling in agony without his arms and legs on the cover. Get the picture? Michael AW Chairman, OceanNEnvironment Australia Publisher, Asian Geographic : Scuba Diver Australasia: Underwater Channel Publisher Asian Geographic Magazine Scuba Diver Australasia