Tokyo protest against shark fin soup at Muji shop – video

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A group of demonstrators gather at a Muji shop in Tokyo to protest the company's stocking of shark fin soup. Animal rights groups say finning is cruel as sharks are often still alive when fins are removed so drown when thrown back into water. A surge in demand for shark fins, used for Asian medicine as well as food, means they can fetch up to £850 each





Written By: The Guardian
continue to source article at guardian.co.uk

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  1. Truly a disgusting practice. To do this to one of our fellow animals …. remove a part of it’s body and return it to the sea for a slow, confusing death … is surely the height of cruelty and disrespect. What’s wrong with the Japanese government to allow this?

    • In reply to #1 by squeegee:

      is surely the height of cruelty and disrespect.

      Its bad I agree but if you familiarize yourself with how factory farms work (not an easy thing to do if you have any empathy for animals) its not the height of cruelty by a long shot.

    • In reply to #2 by hellosnackbar:

      Shark’s fin ,rhino horn,bear bile,and tiger’s bones are nonsense within Chinese medecine.
      Chinese medicine deserves some strident criticism as a lot of it is based on fairy tales.

      This is one area where the Chinese government should really step in and throw some science at it. While use of animals parts in TCM is no more than exploitation of the placebo effect, herbal medicine can be very effective, even more so than “Western” treatment in some cases. It would be good if there could be more interdisciplinary cooperation on this front to educate the public about what works and what doesn’t.

  2. I’m glad to see this protest. It seems to be a feature of some cultures to show almost no empathy for non-humans (and little enough for humans, for that matter), so it’s always encouraging to see the empathetic gaining support.

    Almost the saddest thing about the profane cruelty of shark finning for use in food is that it is virtually flavourless as an ingredient (or so I hear); it’s included in recipes for its texture alone (which is somewhat gelatinous).

    As for traditional “medicine”, well, the adjective gives it away. If it worked, it would just be medicine – a sentiment expressed by Tim Minchin, if I recall correctly.

    • In reply to #3 by Jabarkis:

      I’m glad to see this protest. It seems to be a feature of some cultures to show almost no empathy for non-humans (and little enough for humans, for that matter), so it’s always encouraging to see the empathetic gaining support.

      Almost the saddest thing about the profane cruelty of shark finning for…

      Yes, i hope humanity will treat animals better. By the way, your name makes me want to play one of the most magical games ever made.

  3. The journal Marine Policy estimates that 100 million sharks are killed every year, but that the number can be anywhere between 63 million and 273 million. Disgusting. And what makes this even more disgusting is that there is a broad consensus (even if it’s a question of taste) that shark fin soup doesn’t actually taste that good, or more specifically, it doesn’t taste much at all. The reason why people buy it is not because of the taste, but because it’s a sign of prosperity. Back in the days, Chinese and Japanese emperors and rich people started eating shark fin soup because it was a rarity and thus cost a lot to make. It was basically a way to show off. Common people of course wanted to feel wealthy too, and started imitating the eating habits of the rich. This mentality has remained until today. Shark fins are still expensive, but people want to spend their hard earned money on soup because it makes them look rich despite not actually being rich. And the sharks are suffering because of this vanity.

    I cannot for the life of me understand the attitude. Why would any person callously catch sharks and cut of their fins (or catch any other animal only for a limb) and let them go only to get money, without thinking about how it affects the population of sharks and the survival of the species?

  4. Asian culture. I’ve witnessed a man having his head cut off with a big sword and that experience is way down the list of “worst things I’ve seen in my life”. The top of that list is populated by things I’ve seen in Asia, specifically related to their treatment of animals.

  5. There is just no getting away from horrible humans for the poor animals.We overpopulate the world,leaving them with precious little space.We poison their environment.We kill them for body parts.We shoot them and stuff them and hang them on our walls.We should know better.

    • In reply to #9 by old-toy-boy:

      Does not Japan have a huge whaling fleet?

      Yes. They’re allowed to capture a certain amount of whales for “scientific research”, yet it’s shown no signs of being removed from menus across the country.

      And funnily enough, they’re only allowed that quota because of international support in summits…… from countries such as Laos, which I don’t have to remind you is a land-locked country. Wonder why they’ve decided to support Japan all of a sudden?…. casts eyes across the list of recent aid donors

    • In reply to #13 by ganggan:

      WTF!!

      What’s wrong with eating shark fin soup?

      First of all it kills a whole shark for the fins. Second the shark often has its fins cut off and is dumped live into the sea to die. Third shark fins have next to no nutritional value. Fourth sharks are a top predator so their removal destabilises whole ocean ecosystems. Fifth, it is just an exercise in snobbish posturing at posh restaurants – a bit like the ignorant bimbos who wear tiger-skin clothes.

      Is it wrong to eat shark meat?

      It is not particularly pleasant (Which is why the de-finned shark is dumped), eating top predators is very inefficient in harvesting food, and they also tend to concentrate poisons in the flesh.

      Do these people also protest against japanese whaling?

      I don’t know, but those with environmental concerns usually pursue more than one issue.

      Stupid people always bark up the wrong tree.

      Yep!

      • In reply to #15 by Alan4discussion:

        First of all it kills a whole shark for the fins. Second the shark often has its fins cut off and is dumped live into the sea to die.

        How do you know that shark fin soup has to be made in this way? People do eat shark meat. So the problem is not shark fin soup eating. By the way, do you know that tunas and other fishes are pulled out of water and let die slowly in the air before being cooked? Do you protest against eating tuna sandwiches (my favorite)?

        Third shark fins have next to no nutritional value. Fourth sharks are a top predator so their removal destabilises whole ocean ecosystems.

        Nonsensical arguments. You barked up the wrong tree, again.

        Fifth, it is just an exercise in snobbish posturing at posh restaurants – a bit like the ignorant bimbos who wear tiger-skin clothes.

        This argument is only valid if sharks are endangered species under protection.

        • In reply to #20 by ganggan:

          In reply to #15 by Alan4discussion:
          First of all it kills a whole shark for the fins. Second the shark often has its fins cut off and is dumped live into the sea to die.

          How do you know that shark fin soup has to be made in this way?

          I know that it is made this way I have seen video evidence of it being done and have seen reputable reports of thousands of fins being dried and sold.

          People do eat shark meat.

          Not much, and nothing like the proportion of sharks are killed to be eaten compared to those finned.

          So the problem is not shark fin soup eating.

          Rubbish! You are just making up this nonsense as you go along!

          By the way, do you know that tunas and other fishes are pulled out of water and let die slowly in the air before being cooked? Do you protest against eating tuna sandwiches (my favorite)?

          Tuna are also high level predators so other fish would be more efficient to harvest. Some are line caught and die in air, others suffocate in nets before being hauled aboard. Tuna stocks are also under threat and diminishing from over-fishing.

          Third shark fins have next to no nutritional value. Fourth sharks are a top predator so their removal destabilises whole ocean ecosystems.

          Nonsensical arguments.

          You obviously have no understanding of marine biology or management of fish stocks, and are just barking nonsense, while in denial!

          Calorie Information
          Amounts Per Selected Serving

          • %DV – Calories 99.3 (416 kJ) 5%

          • From Carbohydrate – 32.8 (137 kJ)

          • From Fat 38.9 (163 kJ)

          • From Protein 27.7 (116 kJ)

          http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/soups-sauces-and-gravies/1115/2

          • Amounts Per Selected Serving
          • %DV Protein 6.9grams 14%

          The nutrition in the soup as a percentage of the shark is minute! – 5% of daily nutritional requirements from a bowl!!!

          Fifth, it is just an exercise in snobbish posturing at posh restaurants – a bit like the ignorant bimbos who wear tiger-skin clothes.

          This argument is only valid if sharks are endangered species under protection.

          Rubbish! The problem is a lack of international protection (particularly in the Pacific) and opposition to proper management by fishing industries and political stooges!

          Six Endangered Sharks Now Protected Species

          A fisheries group decided on Saturday that half-a-dozen species of endangered sharks hunted on the high seas to satisfy a burgeoning Asian market for sharkfin soup are now protected in the Atlantic.

          ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

          **The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) ** said that scalloped, smooth and great hammerheads, along with oceanic white tip, cannot be targeted or kept if caught accidentally.

          Three other types of hammerhead sharks are also included in the ban, including smalleye, scoophead and whitefin.

          A proposal submitted by the European Union (EU) hopes to extend the same level of protection to the porbeagle shark, which is critically endangered in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean.

          “Canada was adamant that they were not going to let its porbeagle fishery go,” said Elizabeth Wilson, a marine scientist at Washington-based advocacy group Oceana.

          The decisions on sharks follow 10 days of closed-door haggling at the 48-member ICCAT, which is expected to announce quotas and other measures on bluefin tuna.

          ICCAT is in charge of ensuring that commercial fisheries are sustainable and it has the authority to set quotas and restrictions.

          According to a recent report, at least 1.3 million sharks were harvested from the Atlantic in 2008 by industrial-scale fisheries unhampered by catch or size limits.

          The actual number is expected to be higher because of under-reporting.

          The only other shark species subject to a fishing ban in the Atlantic is the big-eye thresher.

          “These decisions increase the chances that these species will continue to swim in the Atlantic,” Matt Rand, a shark expert with the Pew Environment Group, told AFP.

          “But there’s a lot more work to be done. Fifty percent of open water sharks in the world are threatened with extinction,” he said, citing the classification of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

          The U.S. wants to require that all sharks be brought back to shore whole, but that push failed to muster up the needed majority.

          Another U.S. proposal to establish quotas for the shortfin mako shark also fell short.

          “Half the countries at the meeting were opposed,” said Wilson.
          She explained that while willing to ban catches of certain species that are already in sharp decline, these nations do not want to set a precedent of establishing quotas for sharks with relatively healthy populations.

          There are no multinational limits on shark fishing anywhere in the world

          However, ICCAT did call for data collection on the shortfin mako to help scientists measure population levels.

          The committee also voted a measure requiring commercial fishermen to remove hooks and netting from accidentally caught sea turtles.

          According to IUCN, North Atlantic populations of the oceanic white tip have dropped by 70 percent, and hammerheads by over 99 percent.

          • In reply to #21 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #20 by ganggan:

            In reply to #15 by Alan4discussion:

            Calm down. You keep barking up the wrong TREES.
            1. Whether or not shark fin is nutritious has nothing to do with argument.
            2. Whether or not top predators are important for the ecosystem has nothing to do with the argument.
            3. Whether or not shark populations are declining has nothing to do with the argument.

            According to IUCN, North Atlantic populations of the oceanic white tip have dropped by 70 percent, and hammerheads by over 99 percent.

            Do you think these sharks were killed for fin soup by Chinese on the other side of the planet?

          • In reply to #22 by ganggan:

            In reply to #21 by Alan4discussion: – In reply to #20 by ganggan: – In reply to #15 by Alan4discussion:

            Calm down. You keep barking up the wrong TREES. 1. Whether or not shark fin is nutritious has nothing to do with argument. 2. Whether or not top predators are important for the ecosystem has nothing to do with the argument.
            3. Whether or not shark populations are declining has nothing to do with the argument.

            You really do have absolutely no idea about marine biology, conservation of fish stocks, efficiency of food production, or ecological balance, – do you?
            On this site we use evidence and reasoned arguments. Repetitive barking ignorant assertions simply illustrates a failure to understand the subject. – especially when “barking” psychological projection is involved. {BTW:- Sharks do not live up trees!}

            According to IUCN, North Atlantic populations of the oceanic white tip have dropped by 70 percent, and hammerheads by over 99 percent.

            Do you think these sharks were killed for fin soup by Chinese on the other side of the planet?

            YES! – It said so clearly on my quote and link Perhaps you should remove your blinkers, come out of denial, and develop your basic reading skills:- !!!

            @Alan4discussion: comment 21 (and link) -

            Six Endangered Sharks Now Protected Species

            A fisheries group decided on Saturday that half-a-dozen species of endangered sharks hunted on the high seas to satisfy a burgeoning Asian market for sharkfin soup are now protected in the Atlantic.

            The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) said that scalloped, smooth and great hammerheads, along with oceanic white tip, cannot be targeted or kept if caught accidentally.

            Three other types of hammerhead sharks are also included in the ban, including smalleye, scoophead and whitefin.

            The information and figures from reputable scientific studies and an international regulatory body, has been set out for you. Your refusal to understand it is not going to impress anyone!

    • So is it bliss?

      In reply to #13 by ganggan:_

      WTF!!

      What’s wrong with eating shark fin soup? Is it wrong to eat shark meat? Do these people also protest against japanese whaling? Stupid people always bark up the wrong tree.

  6. Muji is an international company and I don’t know what it’s practices are in the West but you can help these protesters by emailing Muji and letting them know that you won’t be shopping at their stores until they stop selling Shark Fin soup anywhere in the world. BTW before anyone gets all anti Asian about this; Tesco’s, Sainsburry’s, ASDA (Wall Mart), Waitrose, Morrison’s and Holland & Barrat all sold shark products until Bite Back campaigned them into submission.

    • In reply to #17 by TanyaK:

      Shark Fin soup? Never seen it here. Sorry.

      “I also don’t worry about any other issue I don’t see with my own eyes: genital mutilation, child abuse, you name it. If I don’t see it, ‘Sorry.’ “

      NIce to know you care.

      Steve

  7. Ganggan……………………..you wouldn’t be Chinese by any chance? Please get informed! Sharks are vital to the health of our oceans and the process of finning is not only cruel but long line fishing destroys many species of marine wildlife. You may believe what you like but please don’t contribute if you have little knowledge of the subject.

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