a journal of my journey

The Shark Fin Soup Clash


I was shocked to read that California is banning and fining those that sell shark fins for soup. This has the impact of tripe not being available for menudo or tea for the english. They are cultural staples. The full article from the New York Times is here. While I do love a cup of Shark Fin Soup at a traditional chinese meal it has been years since I have had one. This is due to me seeing a Discovery Channel special on how they are harvested. This does raise an interesting question on when does the government have the right to impose on our cultural norms. Each culture has developed customs and foods that are traditional and have deep meaning in their culture. Our traditions are what we celebrate as being Chinese, French, Hispanic, Irish, or any other culture on our special days. Chinese New Year would not be the same without the tangerines, red envelopes, firecrackers, moon cakes, and more. This applies to each culture. What would your cultural holiday look like without some of its staples?

I do not believe that the government has the right to stop to impose its will on us. With that we lose some of our cultural uniqueness and develop a singular culture. While I don’t agree with the government actions we also need to understand that we are also to take care of our environment. Is there a way that we can protect the environment and culture? I am sure there are. Such as education, levying a special tax on shark fins, or the development of a private “shark farms”. With the technology and minds we have in there must be a satisfactory answer for everyone.

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