Critiques on social and education issues
The Vancouver Sun published an article, titled quite eloquently as “Tory Alice Wong shows opposition to proposed ban while slurping shark fin soup“. I’m not even going to begin commenting on the title and use of “slurping” because I don’t want to digress so much that I veer away from what I want to say.
This is one of the most stupid municipal laws I have ever heard, and the reason proves it to be even more stupid. They want to ban shark fin soup to prevent people finning (a gorey method shown on Youtube where they saw the fin off the shark and dump it back into the ocean) and to “stabilize the economy”, whatever that means.
The problem should not be about what type of meat appears on your plate. Even if we ban selling shark fin, that doesn’t make the problem go away. This is not Peekaboo: out of sight, out of mind.
I’m going to debunk some of the common arguments in favour of banning shark fin.
SHARKS ARE ENDANGERED
Of course they are. So would chickens, pigs, cows, lamb/sheep,, turkey and fish. The reason why the above animals are not considered endangered is because they are bred through large-scale farms. Chickens are bred in machine warehouses by the thousands to keep up with our demand for tender chicken breasts, juicy chicken legs, and crispy chicken wings.
If sharks were farmed, they would not face the issue of extinction.
“FINNING” IS INHUMANE
Yes it is. Many people have seen that video where they rip the fin bloodily from the shark before throwing it back into the ocean.
First off, that’s a stupid move. Shark meat goes for a hefty price; it’s hard to catch sharks, and be alive while catching them. There’s a demand for shark meat (and shark steaks) outside the Chinese community. Because the shark as a whole is so valuable, why would anyone dump the entire fin-less shark back in the ocean? That’s a good couple thousand dollars.
If we are truly targeting the inhumanity of finning sharks, why are we not targeting unethical animal-killing practices in general? Slamming a shark fin ban law does not progress our society. That’s just the mindset of “out of sight, out of mind”. That doesn’t solve the problem.
Chickens have machines that pull and stretch their breasts so that we may have juicy, tender chicken breasts. Chicken legs are so big because machines force them to “walk” by clutching their legs to force exercise upon them. Free range is no longer outdoors: it’s done behind stone walls and by machines.
Inhumanity over the poor, defenseless sharks? Let’s focus on the bigger picture instead.
SELLING SHARK FIN DESTABILIZES THE ECONOMY
I may not have a doctorate degree in economics, but this can be easily explained.
The government does not recognize shark fin as an industry in itself. No financial support is provided, and no revenue is made off from this industry that profits for the government.
As a result, there is this black hole in the economy where money is being drained out for importing and buying shark fin, and another hole in the economy where revenue is gushing in. The government does not know where this money came from because they do not acknowledge shark fin as an industry.
If the government provides support for this industry, such as finance, and ethics (in killing animals, treating them, etc.), the shark fin industry can almost be as normalized as the meat industries of other animals. However, the first step is to acknowledge the shark fin industry.
IT IS CULTURALLY INSENSITIVE TO ALLOW SHARK FIN
Who defines the norms of culture? Western civilizations may not be so fervent if a law is passed that bans chicken breasts. Yes, only chicken breasts. Not the whole chicken, just chicken breasts.
“But you’re being culturally insensitive to us!”
The type of meat that is deemed “normal” is very arbitrarily chosen. In Western civilization, we may consider beef and pork as common staple foods. In India, the cow is seen as a sacred symbol. In Korea, pork is seen as dirty. Eating beef in India would certainly have you excommunicated at best, and eating pork in Korea can result in stigmatization.
The ban should not be about “if I don’t see it in stores, it doesn’t exist”. This is a serious issue. The shark fin ban is not a peekaboo game: out of sight, out of mind.
We need to look beyond the distortion of the media, no matter how close they are to our hearts. Yes, the gore videos do pull at our heartstrings, but is that all there is to killing sharks for fins?
The meat industry in the West (for chickens, beef, and other staple meats) is very hidden away because nobody likes to look at the dirty work that goes in slaughtering and preparing the meats, yet everyone wants to have their meat. That’s understandable.
But now is the time for society to mature and to grow. Think about why we are not being shown this. Why is the media not exposing this underbelly of the meat industry? What is the shark fin ban really about?
It should never be about a certain type of meat appearing on a plate. That’s what 5 year-old children do when they don’t like how a meatloaf is prepared.