Governor Brown Makes Shark Finning Illegal in CA

I never had Shark Fin Soup even though I’ve seen it on the menu at every Chinese restaurant. It just never had an appealing “sound bite” to it - pun intended.

Why would I want to eat such a weird sounding dish when there are so many other dishes that are so tasty? The same goes for, tripe, chicken feet, pâté, or Foie Grás, “Sweet” Bread, etc… Gah~

To justify my reasons for not eating this expensive soup even more, it turns out that the practice of obtaining such shark fins (shark finning) is illegal in many countries. I never knew how inhumane and cruel the practice was until recently, when I wrote about it on Green Living Ideas.

Just in case you didn’t see it, here is a video of Chef Gordon Ramsay, a colorful Chef from “Hell’s Kitchen”, trying shark fin soup for the first time.  The video is graphic; his words are graphic.

I didn’t finish watching the video because it got me so upset but I don’t think I needed to see it entirely to be convinced that this practice should be banned.  Recently, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, and Yao Ming, the Chinese basketball star, were advocating banning this cruel practice and urging restaurants in China NOT to serve Shark Fin Soup.

So it wasn’t surprising that Branson called California’s governor Jerry Brown to ban shark finning in CA yesterday when it was up to the Governor to sign the bill into law in CA.

And he did. He signed the bill making shark finning illegal in CA. Whoo HOot! 

But Brown also signed Assembly Bill 853, a measure (a compromise) that will allow the restaurants to finish using up any stock they have and also to exempt legally caught sharks. Sharks are still being killed but at least this bill will stop the cruel practice of just cutting off the fins from live sharks and throwing the bleeding fish overboard to sink and drown.

So while it’s not perfect, it’s a step in the right direction.

Now only if we can get Branson to call Obama to ban GMO salmon and label GMO foods. Maybe then, our foods will be safer. Because, you know, money talks, bulls*** walks…

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Have a Great Weekend!

[CC Image by StormyDog via Flickr]

Comments

  1. says

    First of all, I am totally with you, Ramsay and Brown regarding shark fin. But I am a bit dismayed about the “weird” sounding dishes.

    You try them because they may be better than the “safe” dishes that you’ve eaten time and time again. You try them because they have been subsistence fare for generations around the planet. You try them because you are curious about life. You try them because you are open-minded. You try them because you want to surprise your taste buds.

    Squeamishness is so passé!

    You try things, and then you may like them or not, but to diss them on the basis that they are out of your comfort zone is wrong. So please be brave, and have some tripe (delicious no matter how it is prepared), chicken feet (delicious as well), paté (nothing like a glass of champagne to go along with it), snails (i could eat buckets of them), octopus (no, the suction cups on the tentacles don’t stick to the inside of your mouth), oysters (the true flavor of the ocean)…

    (I’m leaving sweet breads out because to me there is no difference between eating them or eating a sponge. It’s a textural thing)

    • says

      Gloria,
      Oh, I do eat some weird stuff (and my kids too) that no one would touch, like, spicy Octopus (Korean style), Raw Oysters and Raw Clams, even raw beef (another Korean style dish), and Ox Tail soup…when I used to eat meat. I still eat seafood occasionally so I indulge in sweet Blue Point Oysters, Sashimi, fresh Little Necks and Squid Salad. One of my favorite Spanish dish is Pulpo, Puerto Rican style Octopus dish. Oh, when I ate meat, Sancocho – Oxtail Stew, Colombian style was delish too! And Pernil, another Puerto Rican dish, roast pork ham with crispy skin? Yum…

      But I do feel squeamish about eating organ meats like Pate and Sweet Breads (liver and brain), Tripe (stomach lining), products from ethically ill-treated animal like Foie Gras (forced fed ducks), and chicken feet (that’s just a visual thing for me.)

  2. Ron says

    I totaly understand the ban on shark finning, I think the practice is deplorable. What I don’t understand is the statement “Why would I want to eat such a weird sounding dish when there are so many other dishes that are so tasty? The same goes for, tripe, chicken feet, pâté, or Foie Grás, “Sweet” Bread, etc… Gah~” While shark fins might not be eco friendly, some of the other things mentioned, however weird they may sound to Americans, taste great. On top of that what could be more “Eco”, for a meat eater, than eating as much of the animal as possible? Waste not, want not!

    • says

      Hi Ron,
      I just posted my response to Gloria above regarding ‘weird sounding foods.’ You are right, I agree that people should try a variety of foods, even if they sound weird. But I do have my list of what I consider ‘weird’ but my reasons for not eating them are either health related (no organ meats for me) or ethically ill treated animal products (Foie Gras or Shark Fin Shop). I know many people think Foie Gras tastes heavenly but I don’t feel it taste good enough for me to overlook how it’s made, the same way as Shark Fin Soup.

      Meat is not known to be eco-friendly. But you are right, – if you are going to eat meat, eating nose-to-tail is the eco-friendly way to consume since there is no waste. But I just can’t eat brains and livers. Especially with the way our food safety industry is right now? Mad Cow Disease and brain just don’t sound appetizing. And liver can contribute to health problems in human that I just rather stay away from.

      So, since last year, I decided to stick with seafood and veggies and stay away from meats for many reasons. I’ll take raw Blue Points and Little Necks from my fish monger over Foie Gras or Sweet Breads.

  3. Brenda says

    I’ll never eat shark fin anything out of principle. That being poaching, severe animal cruelty, waste and a total disregard for the gifts God has given us. I have seen several documentaries, reports and now this from Gordon Ramsay and it all spells out the same….reprehensible!

    • says

      Brenda,
      I agree with you wholeheartedly! This news is an awesome news! Hope you spread the great news and let’s pray that whole world can follow suit. Thanks for sharing!