New Year, New Tradition

By on February 7, 2008 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

For the largest percentage of people on the planet, it’s New Year’s Day. More specifically, it’s Chinese New Year, and it’s the Year of the Rat.

Table tents in English and Chinese explain the decision to not
serve shark fin. Consumer cards and brochures are also available.

Many Chinese celebrate the New Year with a hot bowl of shark fin soup. It’s a tradition, but like other antiquated traditions centered on the exploitation of animals, it should be relegated to the history books. By now we know that sharks play an essential role in the oceans, and few oceanic creatures are in greater distress than dozens of species of sharks.

We have found that most consumers of shark fin soup—and the businesses that offer it—are simply not aware of the harm associated with the dish. Sharks are caught, the fin cut off, and then the debilitated shark dumped back into the water, unable to swim without a fin. The animal dies a lingering death. This happens to tens of millions of sharks every year in the world’s oceans.

That’s why Humane Society International is reaching out to Chinese Americans—at Chinese New Year celebrations, Chinese community centers, online, and elsewhere—asking them to never consume or serve dishes containing shark fin. We’re receiving a positive response and have generated supportive articles in widely read Chinese language newspapers, convinced businesses to stop offering shark fin, and urged thousands of people to sign our No Shark Fin pledge.

If you patronize Chinese restaurants, ask the manager this New Year to find a new tradition. Let sharks keep their fins, and leave the animals be.

Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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