Friday, November 23, 2007

what to do, what to do??? about sharks.

Recently I watched a riveting movie about sharks.

An IMDB user comment said, "I had to retreat to the hall of the theatre to regain my composure."

The start of the film showed the filmmaker underwater, hugging a shark and caressing it. I kept cracking up because it was so funny to see this man embracing a shark into his bosom.

Anyhow, later it revealed how sharks are endangered but are being hunted for their fins! Because shark fin soup is a delicacy for Chinese people.

So I'm going to Wei-chao's wedding in an hour, and there will definitely be shark fin soup served. This is the one guaranteed dish at a Chinese wedding, similar to turkey at Thanksgiving.

Should I drink the soup? I am very touched by the film and do not condone shark killing! But the fin has already been cut off the shark and cooked into a soup, and if I don't drink it, my bowl of soup will just be thrown out, and then the shark would've died for nothing!

What to do, what to do?


Daniel said...

Don't drink it. If more guests act this way the people realize that people don't want to drink the soup anymore and buy less or none at all next time. :)

Anonymous said...

dont drink it....
your contribution in saving sharks may be like a drop in the ocean(bcoz there will be a fu*king billion chinese people drinking the same soup at some point) but it will definitely help save some shark ,a creature which did not do you any harm

Anonymous said...

please dont drink it

Librarian1968 said...

From reading this blog, I think everyone's first questions should be 1) Does it taste good? 2) Does it look good in a high resolution photograph? (insert smiley here)

I guess if you care, you should try to politely turn it down before it is put on your plate. Say your veg or something. That way it won't go to waste (staff will probably have it, since you didn't touch it).

Hope that helps.

Niniane said...

> buy less or none at all next time

Hopefully these particular friends will not be getting married another time.

Sathya Prakash Dhanabal said...

Life is simple, but we are making it complex. :) Ecology is greatly disturbed by Human race.

"Friend from India"

ArC said...

I think everyone's first questions should be 1) Does it taste good?

Shark's fin soup does taste good, however, the flavour does not come from the fin, which is pretty flavourless in its own right.

Anonymous said...

The world is ours to exploit. Ask for seconds.

Carnivore said...

That is life at the top of the food chain...

Eat it..

Save all of the poor helpless fish that the shark would predate on.

Anonymous said...

For every animal you don't eat, I'll eat 3.

I think that if they're going to use the shark's fins, they might as well use the entire animal.

It's only condemning because they just cut off the fins and throw the rest of the shark back into the water to drown.

John K. Lin said...

Don't drink the soup, but in the short-term, this won't matter since the shark is already dead.

And certainly don't order shark fin soup for you future wedding banquet!

Dan said...

The "it's already been killed and prepared, so shouldn't I eat it anyway?" question is commonly faced by anyone who makes food choices based on ethics. I think it's a bogus argument, and vegetarian types are also apt to reject it (see this discussion, for example).

Refusing the soup will both give the people around you pause for thought, and also reduce the demand. Caterers certainly do pay attention to how many people eat a dish -- spoilage is money off their bottom line. If reports are correct, people in places like Hong Kong are already starting to refuse shark fin soup, so they may even have anticipated some refusal.

But the real question isn't some bogus ethical argument, it's the practical issue that for many people, refusing tasty food placed in front of them is psychologically very hard and feels very wrong (even if logically you believe it to be right). It may also be socially awkward. It's not always easy to do what's right!

Another major question is the actual importance of shark finning and overfishing to the world. Documentary films use compelling emotional imagery to make a point, but the subject of the documentary is chosen by someone else. Real data about the impact of shark's fin soup on marine ecosystems is hard to come by.

Personally, I object to selective moral stands created by powerful media images; I feel it's better to have a more systematic and educated but less strict set of guidelines. For seafood in general, for example, the Monterey Bay Aquarium puts out a set of guidelines (they definitely recommend against shark fin soup, by the way). Otherwise you can end up avoiding the shark fin soup but scarfing down the Chilean sea bass.

Anonymous said...

According to this site, "Shark skin is made of a matrix of tiny, hard, tooth-like structures called dermal denticles or placoid scales. These structures are shaped like curved, grooved teeth and make the skin a very tough armor with a texture like sandpaper. [...] the shark's skin is so rough that contact with it can injure prey."

I'd stick to your plan of hugging pigs if I were you.

And, as for eating sharks' fins, I'd go right ahead! They'd have no qualms about eating your toes.

Indeed, sharks don't actually like eating humans, and generally vomit up their unfortunate victims' remains. Such decadence should not go unpunished!

clefairy said...

"a creature which did not do you any harm"

what? you'll just wait until the sharks do you harm. lets kill them all!

Anonymous said...

For seafood in general, for example, the Monterey Bay Aquarium puts out a set of guidelines (they definitely recommend against shark fin soup, by the way). Otherwise you can end up avoiding the shark fin soup but scarfing down the Chilean sea bass.

What a cool resource, I can't believe you didn't link to it.

Here's the guide.

metal said...

Waste is an inevitable part of the American lifestyle. I think you mention in previous posts you walked by the google cafeteria watching them throw away trays of salmon and other foods.

In this case however, by not eatting the soup you are showing those around you that you're trying to accomplish something.

If you have to waste the bowl of soup to get your point across then do it. Others may or may not agree that the shark is endangered, but at least you brought it to their attention.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could have ordered some puppy instead?