Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Flaws in Toronto's Shark Fin Ban

The banning of shark fin today in Toronto has been met with mixed reviews.  Toronto city council has voted to ban the sale of shark fin on a proposal that passed  by 38 to 4.

If some of you are unaware of the delicacy of shark fins, they are often used in a thick, gooey soup often served at Chinese weddings.   If you don't live in the Greater Toronto Area or was just unaware of the issue, the banning of shark fins have been an ongoing debate between Torontonians because while the soup is a traditional dish, supporters of the ban say sharks are killed inhumanely and often thrown into the ocean alive after their fins are cut off.
As a Chinese Canadian, I would first of all like to say that I am not a big fan of shark meat.  I've tried shark fin soup a couple of times at weddings and celebrations, but it is honestly nothing special to me.  In fact, I have choosen to refuse the soup at risk of supporting the way sharks are slaughtered in the process.

  While I do not support the inhumane killing of sharks, I see some flaws in this new ban. According to news sources such as CBCToronto Star and Globe & Mail, they all clearly state that shark fin is banned.

However, there is no word on shark meat being banned.  So does this mean eating shark is still allowed?

On another note, I'd like to make it clear that only Toronto's city council voted for a ban on shark fins.  What about other parts of the GTA?

 As a resident living on the border of Scarborough and Markham, it's no secret that that area is filled with Chinese immigrants.  If not Richmond Hill (which is also in the GTA), Markham probably has the biggest population of Chinese people in Ontario.

Considering this fact, it won't make a HUGE difference to Chinese people living in Toronto as they'll just flock to Markham and Richmond Hill for shark fin anyway.

So, what's the point now?

Now I know it may sound contradictory for saying that I am happy the ban is officially passed in my city, I still  feel there should be clearer guidelines with this law.

Here's the way I see it.  If such a ban is proposed, there should probably be a ban on shark meat as a whole to prevent people from killing sharks.

And in terms of accessibility, people are still going to find ways to eat shark fin soup.  If there's only a ban in Toronto and not other regions in the GTA, why not make this a provincial or national issue?

What do you think?  Are there flaws in this issue or not?  Discuss.

Images taken from: here, and here.  

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