Shark Fin Soup Banned by Marriott; What’s Next?

I f you find shark fin soup served at a Marriott hotel property, you are asked to report it, as “Marriott announced a total ban on shark fin soup partnering with the Yao Ming Foundation to increase awareness on this issue”, according to Jay Hamilton, senior director of digital public relations of Marriott International who is also known as FlyerTalk member JHam.

I apologize for not reporting this to you sooner, as the announcement was posted on April 25, 2014 to be in effect as of July 1; but reading this article — asking us to think before we eat whale meat — by Ric Garrido of the Loyalty Traveler weblog earlier today reminded me of the article I originally wrote on June 12, 2013 asking you if shark fin soup should be banned from the menu at Marriott. The opinions posted in the comments section of that article were mixed; but the topic was controversial.

The controversy behind shark fin soup is that the shark population is supposedly being significantly decimated because the fins are usually harvested inhumanely by removing them before the sharks are then dumped back into the ocean alive — but unable to swim without their fins.

I asked before if food whose main ingredients consist of endangered species — such as shark fin soup, bluefin tuna and Chinook salmon — should be banned; or should the cultural and religious beliefs of people who regularly dine on the food in question prevail? Can a compromise between ethical and traditional values to both preserve endangered species while still allowing humans to continue enjoying delicacies be reached — as long as that consumption is limited within reason?

What about food obtained in a manner in which the treatment of the animal in question was inhumane? The first food which comes to my mind as an example is veal — where calves are supposedly raised in and confined to cramped crates for the entire 16 weeks of their lives before being slaughtered — according to this article from The Humane Society of the United States.

When I read Ric’s heartfelt plea and reasoning for not eating whale meat, I must admit that I at least wanted to try it before vowing not to eat it. Am I wrong for thinking that?

For what it is worth, I have no problem not eating delicacies from many of the endangered species on this list, which include giant salamanders, primates and manatees…

…and what the heck is a markhor and a pangolin, anyway?!?

4 thoughts on “Shark Fin Soup Banned by Marriott; What’s Next?”

  1. Andy says:

    Brian,

    A short time fan of your blog, intelligently written. You may be under qualified on this one.

    Let me quickly inform if I may. When you say sharks are unable to swim without their fins… Ummm… They are hacked off with a machete most of the time brutally causing massive trauma. And no they cannot swim without their fins. They are there for a reason. They die a horrible death

    Fins are tasteless… Only a thickening agent for a stupid “delicacy”

    Sharks are NOT dangerous. Yes I said that. About 20 deaths a year mainly from mistaken identity. You are more likely to die from a vending machine dropping on you, you are more likely to die from an icicle dropping on your head….in Russia alone!

    We kill more than 100 million sharks a year. We will finish them very soon, extinct, gone. They are amazing graceful creatures, in the oceans since the dinosaurs.

    It’s an absolute disgrace. Possibly the worst silent outrage that is going on on this planet. I say silent, because it happens year after year, and no-one cares.

    And you…an intelligent, I presume …successful educated guy, have highlighted the ignorance that people have, by basically saying “what the hell, someone’s telling me I can’t try shark fin soup in my Marriott?”

    You rushed to the aid of Jamaica the other day… Please Brian, try and research this. It is deeply deeply wrong on every level.

    One last thing, I eat meat, I’m not a “hippy tree hugged” but I have completed more than 100 scuba dives with most species of sharks, I will guarantee you they are more scared of us than we are of them.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Actually, Andy, there has been a lot of attention in the media about how sharks are indeed NOT dangerous. I do not remember where I found it; but there was a recent article with video about someone who swims with great white sharks and praises the beauty of these creatures. They supposedly do not deserve the reputation of being “killing machines.”

      This may be a poor analogy, but I have a similar attitude towards bees and wasps. I do not panic when they come near me. With most animals, I have the attitude of “if I leave them alone, they will leave me alone.” To this day, I have never been stung by a bee or a wasp; nor have I been mauled by an animal. The closest I came to anything remotely close was being scratched by a cat after that critical second where the cat had enough of being petted by me. I hate when that happens.

      I have no issue with consuming animal products as long as it is done in a manner which is reasonable in maintaining the existence of their respective species and that they are slaughtered in a humane manner. However, I stopped eating swordfish when it was reported that they were being overfished.

      I appreciate your input, Andy. Thank you. Please feel free to inform in the future!

  2. Levy Flight says:

    Looks like even Marriot is catching on. Eatting Shark fin is banned in many places and even becoming a habit of pariahs in China. A terrible practice.

  3. Sammie says:

    Soon they’ll ban human!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *