Reply To: Hong Kong Disneyland shark fin soup controversy


more from Brian Darvell:

100,000,000 a Year x 1000 Words Fresh Fish Epcot has a "dine with the fishes" Coral Reef Restaurant ( ) with Brown Shark, Stingray, Grouper, Tarpon, and Green Turtle. Let’s hope they do not do this in Hong Kong with "pick your own" Napoleon Wrasse or grouper, while we are on the cultural sensitivity hook. After all, it is part of Hong Kong’s tradition to eat endangered species caught illegally …

Remember Selina Chow’s immortal line: "We must also take into account the need to preserve its traditions and a distinctive culinary legacy." (see letter of 2002/07/11: ) – presumably at any cost. Changed your mind yet, Selina? Can you really still believe you were (and still are!) justified in being part and parcel of this nasty trade? An apologist for immoral and criminal activity? Distinctive, alright.

Chinese culture? This culture thing hinges on some sense of it being special, local. Others beg to differ. David Lau, secretary-general of Bangkok’s Association of Shark Fin Restaurants, seethed: "Foreigners shouldn’t be allowed to come to Thailand and say anything they want. This is our culture, and you can’t change it.",13673,501040531-641219,00.html So much for free speech. However, Mr Lau cannot have it both ways. His association is of about 30 Chinese restaurants. It is disingenuous to suggest that a money-making operation in a foreign land is part of that country’s culture.

Notice that the whole basis of the claim against WildAid was loss of business. Say no more. Get-out I have heard of one recent Chinese wedding where the the bride and groom stood up and announced that they would not be serving shark fin soup at the banquet because it was not environmentally-friendly. This was cool. No-one was upset, no one lost face. This, I am told, is perfectly acceptable, perfectly respectful of guests, and a perfect solution to being thought a cheap-skate – the other possible reason for not spending vast sums of money. How hard is that?

Domino Speculation

Here’s a thought: Disney HK has the HKSAR government as a majority shareholder. Disney HK appear to be behaving as an autonomous organization (that is, taking not a blind bit of notice of the parent company – one would like to imagine to their distress and frustration). HKSAR government does not have the best of records when it comes to dealing with environmental issues – trade comes first, remember. Now, if Disney HK are seen to "capitulate" to the local green groups and gobal opinion on such an issue, it would leave the HKSAR government without a leg to stand on. Businesses all over the territory would have to follow suit and not serve shark fin for fear of the same outcry. The same goes for many other environmental concerns. The one goes, they all go. So, the HKSAR government, in its wisdom (and shareholder majority), whispers in the big black ears: Don’t you dare give way! Act dumb, act offended, act anonymously – but do not act responsibly. So Disney HK’s spokesmen are no more than mouthpieces, mere puppets, for a jobsworth in the HK civil service who has been given instructions by a big wheel. Does that not make sense? Does that not make Esther and Irene look good?

The fight, therefore, is not about shark fin, it is about the HKSAR government being made to act according to its own pronouncements in respect of conservation, sustainability and public education. It would have to take the lead, in fact, a lead that so far has seen lip-service only. So, they bully. They threaten (I wonder what?). They stay publically silent themselves! We have had not one word of response from a government officer addressing the main issues raised in these updates. It seems to me that not one shred of a balancing counter-argument has ever been produced. There is no ambiguous data that could be quibbled over. The world’s experts are unanimous.

Any investigative journalists out there with a Deep Throat of their own who can shed light on this, or prove me wrong? The easiest way, Mr. Murphy , is to exert your authority – if you have any (I am saddened to have received no communication from you, either). Hall of Fame – has been updated with the addition of Singapore Airlines and Thai Airlines. Old news, but valuable support. You see, guys, it can be done; nothing special to it, just conscience. Boycott Calls for a boycott are increasing.

To assist you should you decide to join this, visit to discover how wide the reach is. You may be suprised at some names. In summary, these include: Disney Studio Entertainment Walt Disney Pictures – including Walt Disney Feature Animation and DisneyToon Studios; Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Films and Dimension Films. Buena Vista International, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Entertainment International. Buena Vista Theatrical Productions does Broadway musicals. Buena Vista Music Group has four record labels: Walt Disney Records, Buena Vista Records, Hollywood Records and Lyric Street Records. Disney Parks and Resorts Disneyland in Anaheim, California; The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida; Disneyland Resort Paris; Tokyo Disney Resort; and another 6 theme parks (the 11th is Hong Kong). There are 35 resort hotels and two luxury cruise ships. Disney Cruise Line, DisneyVacation Club, Disney Regional Entertainment runs eight ESPN Zone sports dining and entertainment locations; Anaheim Sports, Inc., oversees Disney’s National Hockey League franchise, The Mighty Ducks.

Disney Consumer Products

These include: apparel, toys, home décor, books, interactive games, foods and beverages, electronics and fine art. Disney Consumer Products is divided into Disney Hardlines, Disney Softlines and Disney Toys. Disney Publishing includes Hyperion Books for Children, Disney Press and Disney Editions, and the children’s magazine in the USA, Disney Adventures. There are Buena Vista Games, The Baby Einstein Company, Disney Stores worldwide and Disney Direct Marketing, including and the Disney catalogue. Disney Media Networks "The Media Networks segment encompasses a vast array of properties on the television, cable, radio and Internet landscape." ABC Television Network includes ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime, ABC News, ABC Sports, ABC Kids, Touchstone Television. ABC Owned Television Stations operates 10 stations in the USA, ABC Radio owns 72 stations, including Radio Disney, ESPN Radio and ABC News Radio. Media Networks includes ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Toon Disney, SOAPnet, Walt Disney Television Animation, Fox Kids International, Lifetime Entertainment Services, A&E Television Networks and E! Networks. Buena Vista Television; Buena Vista Television International; Walt Disney Internet Group.

But worry not. Life will go on without any of this – read a book (from another publisher). Look for the logo – turn away. I have already heard of a mother who dropped a Mickey Mouse bib like it was poison and went somwhere else. Save your money, save a shark. Data For some more background reading, try:

Anybody have any friends (or friends of friends) in Orlando? Spread the word. Coverage But just in case you though this was going to go away, Mr Eisner, we continue to have increased coverage