Reply To: Shark fin soup in Hong Kong updates


more from Brian Darvell:

It is gratifying to see that the ripples of the Disney episode are still spreading, with reference being made to the climb-down or capitulation being made in many media items.

Meanwhile, you will recall that we put the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas in the Hall of Fame for positive statements regarding Shark Fin Soup. With some shock we found that a webpage for one of their restaurants advertised it. I attempted to secure an explanation, but for a variety of reasons, that have now been explained, a response was very slow in getting back to me and I feared the worst. This led to a some ‘change of status’ announcements.

Now that contact has again be made, we have ascertained what went wrong, and I have been assured that double standards have not been operating. Accordingly, I am relieved to be able to make the following announcement.


I have been informed by Gordon M. Absher, of MGM MIRAGE Public Affairs, in respect of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, that the discrepancy between their public statement, that they do not and will not serve shark fin soup, and the Shanghai Lilly restaurant webpage menu that I reported on last time, was due to the fact that that page had not been updated in the five years since the item was withdrawn from the menu. That unfortunate oversight has now been corrected, as I indicated.

I offer my apologies to Mr Absher and his colleagues for any misrepresentation arising from that website error, withdraw earlier remarks doubting their honesty, and I have reinstated the establishment in the Hall of Fame. I am happy to accept that the original announcement was sincere. I trust the AZA will take note.


At a corporate event at the Island Shangri-La (HK) recently, bowls of shark’s fin soup were being hawked by waitresses in a way that gave the dish prominence over the rest of the food on offer. A gentle protest from several present was met with deaf ears and looks of derision.

Is it reasonable to suppose that hotels are being cynical in that they are happy to trumpet their supposed environmental credentials when it comes to things they cannot make money from – such as not washing towels needlessly – but not those from which they can make a profit.

Negotiations are in hand, and the first indications are positive.


You might like to see:

In contrast, in , Philip Bowring exercises some of the standard sceptical arguments, and it is not worth going through them point by point yet again. It is amazing how repetitious this gets. However, he finishes by saying:
“Perhaps the rest of us can learn to live with each others’ cultural and religious flesh eating habits and prejudices.”

But that is just where he is wrong. Totally, absolutely, irrefutably. We will not live if the devastation continues by destructive fishing of this kind. We all lose.

Were these behaviours in isolation, with no effect on the rest of us, I doubt that many would care, so long as no cruelty were involved. However, it is a common heritage that is being plundered, it is our common life-support system that is being damaged, it is the rest of the world’s fisheries that are being exploited (home grounds being now empty). Eating endangered species for someone’s dubious gastronomic pleasure or economic pride is abhorrent. Everybody’s future is affected.

Tolerance under these circumstances is out of place, if not complicit. It is not a case of “learning to live”, but of “learning to die”. I cannot see that as reasonable when it is the immediate profit of the traders and hotels and restaurants that is being defended. Mr Bowring plays into their hands by implying that we can ignore other’s idiosyncrasies with impunity. Not so; as someone once said, nicely redundantly: extinction is for ever.

This update is going to go quiet for a while as I am taking some leave. However, we have in train a variety of possibilities, and we hope to report on those in due course.