Shark-fin controversy provokes vigorous debate

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Much has been made of the shark-fin soup issue, from the perspective of animal rights to the rights of consumers to eat specific foods, and now to cultural differences [“ Restaurant owner says ‘bananas’ don’t get importance of shark-fin soup”, web-only]. I don’t believe the controversy around this city decision [to ban shark-fin soup] has anything to do with the above; rather, it’s a matter of equality and discrimination.

As a locally born Canadian who is ethnic Chinese, I have long been a personal advocate of animal rights. I have saved birds and small animals that have been injured and donated to wildlife-rescue funds, and I abhor hunting, trapping, foie gras, seal clubbing, caged chicken coops, and the wearing of furs.

Yet I abhor even more the city’s decision. Why? Because in the face of all the above-mentioned animal abuses, only the practice specific to Vancouverites of Chinese ethnicity was targeted. So again, the ethnic Chinese of Vancouver and Canada are being used as a scapegoat, as if they are the only guilty party.

The city decision is racially discriminatory. And Coun. Kerry Jang has proven once again that he is using his ethnicity as a guise to target ethnic Chinese Vancouverites in an attempt to blend into his voter base.

So the real controversy is not about animal rights at all—or even “bananas” versus new immigrants—but simply about racial discrimination in Vancouver and how the city is promoting it.

> Edmond Wong / Vancouver

Comments (9) Add New Comment
Brian Stewart
I'm so sorry Mr Wong is ignorant of the facts.
Shark Fining and any ban related to fining is not about discrimination- it is about protecting the balance in our oceans, the very same oceans that Humanity needs to survive. The mass slaughter of sharks - primarily for shark fin soup- a Chinese delicacy that is tasteless and has more to do with image,prestige and the new found wealth in China than anything else is a senseless barbaric act that needs to stop - It is not a slight to the Chinese it is simply necessary to maintain the health of our ecosystems. With over 73 million sharks per year being killed simply to feed the Chinese demand, the ecological balance in our oceans is being destroyed. This is all about acting responsibly to protect the future of humanity - you cannot survive without oxygen nor can mankind survive if our oceans are depleted of the ability to create oxygen. Enough of the ignorance do the research b necessary - listen to the scientists and environmentalist before voicing opinions.
FYI- Mr Wong. the loss of any of the animals you mentioned would not create an imbalance in our ecosystems the way the loss of sharks would Your children's future would not be jeopardized by the loss of foie gras or chicken wings or fur coats please try to see the bigger picture !!!!
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jonnny
Edmond Wong is a hypocrite and a bigot. You think that because they are Chinese its ok for them to eat an item that is causing the extinction of sharks (not to mention the cruel way they are finned and left to drown), which are crucial to the ecosystem of the ocean. There are a number of cultures that are or used to be cannibals, so because its their culture we should allow it to happen?!? Get real. The ONLY peoples lives who will actually be affected by bans on eating shark fin are the people who sell it and make huge profits. No Chinese person's life would be "less" if they were unable to consume shark fin soup.

Selfish people like you are what makes this world a disgusting place. BE A BETTER PERSON.
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R U Kiddingme
This letter is deeply hilarious, and the definition of first world problems.
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Trapperjack
Are you serious? Pull your head out of your ass cause you're obviously suffering a serious oxygen deficiency. This is one of the most ignorant, pathetic pieces of drivel I've ever read! You should apply for a job as a "journalist" at Sun Media. You and Levant can wallow in your self pity. Get a life!
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Alex T
Poor fellow. Just because he wants to hunt sharks into extinction, people forget that he has occasionally done nice things to birds.

It's so easy to see this ban as something which will help preserve a species, but what is harder to see is how this impacts the cultural right of Chineese to kill whichever animals they want, in whatever quantities they want, without any oversight or regulation. It's discrimination I tell you!

I think we should let the market solve it. I predict that in ten years time, we'll be hearing a lot less about sharks. Ever again. Problem solved!
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iSheep
How can you logically abhor Seal Clubbing but be Ok with Shark Finning, ffs?

Are you a complete dunce Sir?
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prenup
Contrary to Edmond Wong's theory that this is about singling out the Chinese culture, its about eliminating the primitive, disgusting and unnecessary practice of shark finning. Its just a matter of fact that the Chinese are the only ones arrogant, narrow minded and selfish enough try and entitle themselves to destroy the worlds population of sharks. I assure you Edmond if it was Australians, Italians, or Mexicans which were dumb enough to fin sharks the public would be railing against them just as much.

Asians aren't the victims here...sharks are. Asians just happen to be the ones to blame.
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Peter Murray
I wonder if Mr. Wong has ever witnessed the Shark fining process and what his reaction is when he sees the living creature thrown back into the water writhing in pain as it slowly sinks to the ocean floor and suffocates. This is a cruel and barbaric injustice that cannot be ignored, yet we see that it is for the sole reason of status. Are your Rolex, Mercedes, Gold, Diamonds and mansions not enough? The above letter in which Mr. Wong cries discrimination is a pathetic attempt to keep this sick practice legal. As for Councillor Kerry Jang, my hat is off to you sir for having the clear vision and courage to try and put a stop to this despicable and self righteous practice.
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Rob Cardinal
Mr Edmund Wong is typical of the arrogant new breed of "Nouveau riche", who believe that the world's resources are simply meant to be used for their pleasure and to he'll with the future consequences...I am sure that thinking members of your family are embarrassed by your ignorance.
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