In response to an appeal from Humane Society International (HSI) and Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) , Taiwan’s world-class National Palace Museum announced that it will remove shark fin soup or any other items containing shark fin entirely from its restaurant menus.
EAST and HSI welcome the National Palace Museum’s momentous decision.
“The National Palace Museum already made news around the world when it announced that it would no longer serve shark fin soup at its most prestigious banquets,” said HSI Campaign Manager Shu Jen Chen. “Its decision to completely remove shark fin soup from all of its menus is wonderful news for sharks and the marine ecosystems that depend on them to remain in balance. HSI commends EAST for helping the museum reach this important achievement.”
“EAST praises the National Palace Museum for promoting marine ecology conservation, rather than the culture of seafood,” said Yu-Min Chen, the office manager of EAST. “The government once said that Taiwan only catches big sharks, and utilizes the whole body, so there isn’t any infringement on conservation or animal welfare, however people can easily see baby shark “fins” on the market near fishing ports. Even fishermen have complained that their catches are becoming smaller and smaller. Nevertheless, Taiwan has imported some 1720 tons of shark fins in the past 3 years (05~07); the impact of Taiwan’s culture of shark fins on marine conservation is so huge that it seems beyond the comprehension of these officials,” she continues.
It is estimated that tens of millions of sharks are finned every year to meet the demand created by shark fin soup. Because shark fins are far more valuable than any other part of a shark’s body, and because there is limited space in freezers on commercial fishing boats, millions of sharks have their fins cut off while still alive and are then thrown back into the water, enduring a painful death from suffocation, blood loss or predation by other species. This cruel and wasteful practice has contributed greatly to the decline of most large shark species during the past half-century.
A growing number of Asian establishments, such as the University of Hong Kong, Disneyland Hong Kong, the government of Malaysia, and The Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Hong Kong’s oldest and largest charitable organization, no longer serve shark fin soup. EAST and HSI commend the National Palace Museum for joining this list by fully removing shark fin from all of its menus.
Humane Society International (HSI) is the international arm of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the world’s largest animal protection organization. HSI strives to create meaningful social change for animals through advocacy, education, and outreach.
Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan (EAST) works on animal welfare issues, and actively promotes public participation, social innovation, and environmental protection, to improve harmony among human-animal-environment interactions.