Should Shark Fin Soup Be Removed From the Menu at Marriott?
A plea to Marriott International, Incorporated to ban shark fin soup from the menus of its restaurants has been posted by FlyerTalk member Allvest, who threatens to do business with competing lodging chains which officially proclaim their ban against having shark fin soup served in their restaurants.
This is not the first time there has been criticism about a company in the travel industry pertaining to shark fin soup. In April of 2008, FlyerTalk member FlyingUnderTheRadar chastised Delta Air Lines for serving shark fin soup as part of a celebration of the first flight to China for the airline.
The controversy behind shark fin soup is that the shark population is supposedly being significantly decimated due to the fins being harvested inhumanely by removing them. The sharks are then dumped back into the ocean alive but unable to swim without their fins.
The fin of the shark supposedly adds texture to this delicacy of Chinese origin, as the Chinese people believe that shark fin soup is a health food, an aphrodisiac for men, and the secret to a beautiful complexion for women, according to FlyerTalk member AndyTLe. The flavor contributed to the soup from the shark fin is insignificant at best, potentially meaning that the shark fin could easily be substituted without any noticeable difference in taste.
Given that realization, I would not be surprised if unscrupulous proprietors of restaurants are serving shark fin soup to clueless patrons where not even a scintilla of evidence of a shark has been within 100 miles of the soup.
To be clear, the consumption of shark fin soup is not the only controversial topic related to dining amongst FlyerTalk members. For example, there was a contentious debate about foie gras being served in the premium class cabin on flights operated by British Airways.
I have eaten shark once or twice before — although I cannot recall if it was in the form of shark fin soup — and I sampled a foie gras appetizer on a flight operated by Air France on its Concorde aircraft from New York to Paris. If I never had to eat shark or foie gras ever again, I would not be sad in the least — so I have no strong opinion either way in this debate.
Should food whose main ingredients consist of endangered species 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 do you think?